Sex Zone: Why sex when you're pregnant can be the best you've ever had.
They know their lives will never be the same again and there's so much to prepare and plan for.
The great news is that most couples can continue to enjoy a satisfying sex life throughout the pregnancy.
There's no reason why a woman shouldn't enjoy a full sexual relationship right up until she's in labour.
She may even discover that she finds sex better than ever while she's expecting.
SEX IN PREGNANCYDURING pregnancy, the frequency of intercourse may decline gradually but a fair number of couples have intercourse more often and enjoy sex more than ever before.
A woman's body can respond more dramatically to sexual arousal; all impulses and sensations become heightened due to the high levels of circulating sex hormones.
After the birth of a baby, sexual intercourse isn't disbarred as long as you feel like sex and it isn't uncomfortable, though it's quite normal for mothers and quite a number of fathers not to feel like sex for several weeks - no matter how close and loving the couple has been before.
SENSUAL PREGNANCYIF A woman's pregnancy is proceeding normally, there's absolutely no reason why she and her partner shouldn't enjoy a full sexual relationship right up until the time of labour.
Sometimes a woman will achieve orgasm or multiple orgasms for the first time when she's pregnant. This is due to the high level of circulating sex hormones that increase sex drive, making them and their sex organs more responsive to sex and their arousal more rapid and intense.
The breasts can be particularly sensitive and tender and a partner should be gentle and careful. As the baby grows and occupies more of the abdomen and pelvis, couples may find themselves spontaneously changing their techniques and their positions.
Old wives' tales state that sexual intercourse may cause an infection prior to labour that may affect the baby but the uterus is completely sealed off by a mucus plug in the cervix, so intercourse is safe as long as good sexual hygiene is practised by both partners.
However, a great deal of vigorous sexual activity might lead to abrasions and soreness.
So, with the caveat that you have sex only with your partner, and only when you feel like it, and as long as it isn't too athletic, sex is to be recommended throughout a normal pregnancy.
Some women are scared that sex will crush the baby. This isn't possible because the baby is suspended in the amniotic sac and surrounded by amniotic fluid which cushions it from any kind of bumping and bruising.
WHEN NOT TO HAVE SEXIF BLEEDING occurs, you should consult your doctor immediately. It may not turn out to be serious but your doctor has to rule out possible placenta praevia or a threatened miscarriage.
If you have a show, the appearance of blood-stained vaginal discharge which heralds the onset of labour, or the waters break.
If you have had a previous miscarriage, ask your doctor's or antenatal clinic's advice.
You may be advised to abstain during the early months while the pregnancy establishes itself.
BUILDING YOUR RELATIONSHIPAS PREGNANCY advances, you may find that you have to change your sexual habits, so see it as a chance to build on the physical side of your relationship.
For instance, it might prompt you to explore the pleasures of new love-making positions and of other forms of sexual activity such as mutual masturbation and oral sex.
Try to understand any changes in your own and your partner's sexual desires. Be open with each other when discussing your needs but never allow your sex life to become the dominant feature of your relationship.
Concentrate on loving rather than love-making, and if at any time you or your partner don't feel like sex, rediscover the intimacy and joy of simply being with the one you love.
EROTICISM DURING PREGNANCYBODY CHANGES
ONE of the effects of the rise in oestrogen levels during pregnancy is an increase in blood flow, especially in the pelvic area.
Because of this, the vagina and its folds, the labia, become slightly stretched and swollen.
This stretching and swelling, which normally occur only during sexual excitement, make the sensory nerve endings hypersensitive, resulting in rapid arousal.
THE breasts start to enlarge almost as soon as pregnancy occurs and one of the classic signs of pregnancy is sensitive, enlarged breasts with nipples that may tingle or even feel painful.
The increased sensitivity of the breasts makes them a focus of sensory arousal, and a woman can feel the most exquisite sensations when her nipples and breasts are caressed and kissed.
Sexual foreplay with the breasts results in the arousal of the clitoris and the vagina, which will swell very readily.
BECAUSE of the increased blood flow, the vaginal secretions are quite profuse, so a pregnant woman usually becomes ready for penetration much earlier than usual.
Penetration is particularly easy because of the plenitude of vaginal fluid, and a climax can be achieved quite quickly if the clitoris is stimulated simultaneously.
THE intensity of orgasm may reach new heights and the time taken to "come down" from an orgasm can be greatly extended.
This is evident in the labia minora and the lower end of the vagina, which can remain swollen from anything up to two hours after orgasm, particularly in the last trimester.
Remember your baby gets a charge from your orgasm too - and it's very good for it.
WHEN TO MAKE LOVEYOU CAN make love whenever you want to, given that it's not too athletic and that there are no medical reasons for you to forego it.
Good sex in pregnancy is very enjoyable. It helps to prepare you for childbirth by keeping your pelvic muscles strong and supple.
It also bonds you closer to your partner, which will help you cope much better with the stresses of parenthood.
POSITIONS FOR PREGNANCYDURING the first few months, you probably won't have to alter your love-making at all, though if there has been a previous miscarriage, you should avoid deep penetration.
In the middle months, when a woman's abdomen has enlarged, rear-entry, side-by-side and woman-on-top positions work well.SIDE-BY-SIDE
A VARIATION that is particularly suited to pregnancy, the woman can manoeuvre herself onto her partner's penis.
He can caress her freely, including her genital area. She keeps her legs close together in order to grasp his penis.
THESE positions, with the woman astride her partner, are most useful in the early and middle months.
While they don't allow a lot of movement, they are comfortable for both partners and alleviate pressure on the abdomen so there is no fear of "crushing" the baby.
Also, if deep penetration presents problems, here she can control the depth of penetration to a great extent.
She can adjust her position so she is comfortable and still able to caress him.
Though his movements are limited, it is a very intimate position.
She can rest some of her weight on her feet, taking the strain off her partner.
THE ALTERNATIVESIF YOU are feeling sexy, but you don't really want intercourse, you and your partner could explore other forms of sensual and sexual pleasuring. These may include erotically stroking and kissing each other, massage, mutual masturbation and oral sex.
OFORfurther reading: The Magic Of Sex published by Miriam Stoppard published by Dorling Kindersley. Price pounds 15.99. To order tel 01279 623936, quoting ref 180771.
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jul 6, 1999|
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