Pregnancy is an interesting nine months where your body does some pretty wacky things. (Hello, nonstop gas and varicose veins!) But perhaps one of the best side effects of being knocked up is an increased desire to have sex.
Yep, you read that right – it isn’t uncommon for pregnant ladies to feel particularly randy, especially during the second trimester. Even so, some preggo women and their partners might be freaked out by the idea of pregnant sex.
“It takes like 10 months to cook a baby, which is a long time to not have sex,” says Pittsburgh-based OB-GYN Dr. Draion Burch (aka Dr. Drai).
Unless your experiencing pregnancy complications or your health care provider is concerned about you going into early labor, Dr. Drai says that sex during a regular, low-risk pregnancy is perfectly safe. In fact, he encourages it.
You’ll have better orgasms
During pregnancy, blood flow naturally increases throughout the body – including the nether regions.
“There’s a lot of blood flow to the pelvis, which actually makes it easier to reach orgasm when you’re pregnant,” says Dr. Drai, who adds that this contributes to heightened sensitivity to sexual stimulation. “Because of this, a lot of my patients say sex is great while pregnant.”
Some women may also experience multiple orgasms, thanks to all that additional blood flow.
It’s a chance to emotionally connect with your partner
Excessive weight gain paired with the classic physical changes that go hand in hand with pregnancy might leave some women feeling self-conscious when it comes to having sex. However, Dr. Drai says that physical intimacy is a crucial part of any relationship.
“Sex during pregnancy helps maintain that emotional connection with each other,” he says. “And sometimes men can get kind of weird with pregnancy because they feel like the woman is all about the baby, instead of being all about them.”
Dr. Drai adds that making time for physical intimacy – whether through intercourse, foreplay or just cuddling – should be a priority. Plus, once you’re recovering from childbirth and caring for a newborn, sex will likely be the last thing on your mind. Try taking advantage of this calm-before-the-storm time to actually have sex with each other.
You’ll feel less stressed
Let’s face it – parenthood is a big deal. For many expectant parents, especially first-timers, the anxiety that comes with preparing for a little one can be overwhelming. Add pregnancy hormones and emotional mood swings to the mix, and you’ve got a potent cocktail for stress.
“Sex, in general, improves things like anxiety, sleep and depression,” says Dr. Drai. “It’s also been found to boost your immune system, help fight heart disease, make your skin look great, and even make you live longer.”
In other words, getting busy might just help you relax and de-stress.
It might make for an easier labor
Will regular sexual activity throughout your pregnancy help you have a smoother delivery? Drawing on his own experience, Dr. Drai seems to think so.
“I think that for women who have sex throughout their pregnancy, their labors are easier for a vaginal delivery,” he says.
When it comes to jumpstarting labor when you’re past your due date, sex might also be a natural way to get things going. Semen actually has something in it called prostaglandins, which is the same substance doctors use during labor induction.
“That’s why doctors say to have sex to induce labor,” says Dr. Drai, adding that the prostaglandins serve to prep the cervix for labor and delivery. “You just have to leave the semen in the vagina and let it baste around in the cervix for a bit in order to soften it.”
Even still, he says that the research on this topic has yielded mixed results.