IndiaParenting addresses the oft-asked questions about sexual intercourse and moderate exercise during the crucial nine months.
Both men and women have their own unique psychological reactions to a pregnancy. Thus it is impossible to anticipate post-pregnancy sexual relationship in a couple. However, it is unnecessary for a couple to abandon sexual activity merely due to pregnancy. The current medical view states that women can safely enjoy intercourse until the third trimester of their pregnancy, even when the cervix dilates during labour. Only those women, who have a history of reproductive problems or premature thinning and opening of the uterus, should abstain from sex during the last three months.
Talk to your doctor
Sex is perfectly normal during the nine months of pregnancy. In fact, this is the time when a couple can derive optimum pleasure from sexual intercourse without paying attention to contraception. However, expecting parents must discuss this issue with their gynaecologist. They should not feel shy to ask how and how long can they indulge in sex. The doctor may ask them to avoid intercourse if the pregnant woman has had an earlier premature labour.
Changed self-image of women
While some women tend to lose interest in sex, others feel inclined towards it. Different women have different sexual drives. Some cannot enjoy lovemaking due to the growing abdomen or increased sensitivity of the breasts. Therefore, a couple must attempt sex only if the pregnant woman gets pleasure out of it. Of course, pleasure will depend on other aspects like fatigue, morning sickness, diet and mental make up. So, the would-be parents can enjoy sex according to their comfort level.
No harm to the foetus
Many men avoid intercourse because they fear harm to the foetus. However, a water bag and the fluid around it protect the baby in the womb. This water acts as a shock absorber and protects the baby from accidental blows and jerks.
The uterus is housed in the bony framework of a woman's pelvis. Cervix, mouth of the womb, has a plug of mucus that seals the womb and prevents infection. Therefore, the insertion of the penis (and the semen ejaculated during intercourse) in the vaginal canal is no threat to the baby in the womb. Even if a woman sleeps on her stomach during the intercourse, the baby cannot be affected.
However, the contraction of the uterus, caused due to an orgasm during intercourse, might trigger off labour, especially if the pregnant woman is in the third trimester. This is why an expecting couple is advised to avoid intercourse in the last month of pregnancy.
Love need not mean making love
A couple unable to continue sex, either due to physical or other reasons, can attempt sex of a different kind. They can try out alternatives to vaginal intercourse, like oral sex or mutual masturbation or mere gentle massage or just caressing. After all, it is the thought/emotion that counts. These alternative strategies not only take care of the pregnant woman, but also keep the would-be father sexually satisfied. Otherwise, pregnant women are likely to keep their husbands sexually starved for over a year, first during the nine months, and then for an indefinite period of post-pregnancy blues.
Exercise is not to be ruled out
Moderate exercise, especially breathing exercises, can be helpful during pregnancy. If the pregnant woman believes in Yogasanas, it is advisable to take a medical opinion and choose some suitable asanas. Morning and evening walks are of course instrumental in keeping the mood upbeat in any circumstance.
It is unwise to start on a heavy exercise schedule, but never discontinue a physical fitness programme. For example, if a woman has pursued a sport/game for many years, there is no reason to leave it altogether. Ranking tennis players and swimmers have competed successfully in their sports during pregnancy. Recently, pregnant women took to the ramp and excelled in the world of fashion too. But these exceptions are not universally applicable. The point to be noted is that pregnancy is no obstruction in any physical fitness schedule.