Some people are totally at ease about having sex while pregnant, while others have trouble with the idea (and physical logistics) of it. For that camp, knowing the facts about pregnancy sex can help ease any concerns — like, what does the baby feel during pregnancy sex? And can having sex negatively affect your pregnancy?
When you're pregnant, you become hyper aware that your body is not just your own. Everything — every bite of food or sip of a drink — that enters your body is shared with baby. But what about when something else enters your body? If your male partner is "afraid to hurt the baby,” it's important to understand that, even if your partner is absolutely #blessed in size, the baby is very well protected within your uterus.
How Babies Are Protected In The Womb
“Thank goodness, there are layers of tissue and fluid between the baby in your uterus and the penis in your vagina. The baby is in a sealed water balloon called your amniotic sac, and the amniotic fluid cushions the baby from impact during sex,” birth educator and doula Sara Lyon tells Romper. “The water balloon is housed in your uterus, a thick muscle that expands as your baby grows.”
Thankfully, your body is perfectly capable of protecting your baby from anything that enters your vagina — including your partner’s penis — so they aren’t actually feeling that while you’re having sex.
“At the bottom of the uterus, just at the top of your vagina/birth canal, is a sphincter muscle that holds your uterus tightly closed until the days and weeks before labor,” Lyon explains. “Think of this structure as an upside-down sleeping bag stuff-sack — the cervix is the drawstring holding the baby inside. A closed cervix is a thick muscle, about 1 to 1.5 inches long; there’s plenty of padding for some serious sex.”
Can Babies Feel You Orgasm?
Some women are nervous about what the baby might feel during the grand finale — the orgasm. After all, if it’s rocking your world, won’t the baby notice?
Lyon tells Romper that if the baby does feel impacts from orgasm, it’s likely to be “only minimally, and nothing worrisome.” She explains that “the baby is used to being rocked around by mom’s movement and used to the uterus doing all sorts of contracting throughout the course of pregnancy.”
If your uterus contracts due to orgasm, obstetrician Dr. Kim Langdon tells Romper that “the baby will not likely notice it.” However, she does explain that if your water has broken, “there is less amniotic fluid and so a contraction may be felt,” although having sex after your water has broken isn’t recommended.
At most, your baby may get just a sweet little hug when mama reaches the Big O. “It all depends on the gestational age of the baby,” Langdon says. “As the pregnancy advances and the baby gets larger, a contraction from an orgasm may be perceived by the baby.”
Will Baby Be More Active Or Kick During Pregnancy Sex?
One common concern that couples have is that the baby will be disturbed during pregnancy sex. Whether they’re kicking more or become active, it can be worrisome if you feel your baby more than usual after doing the deed.
“Any movement of the mom triggers the baby to move if the baby is awake,” Langdon says. “But it is easier to perceive the baby’s movements when the mother is resting.” She also notes that “this is highly individualized by the type of sex and each unique baby.”
So, while feeling your baby moving more or kicking after sex can happen if they’re awake, it’s more likely because you’ve slowed down and are feeling it more. During the actual act however, your baby is likely to be lulled to sleep.
“Most babies sleep during mom’s movement — it literally rocks them to sleep,” Lyon says. “So, you’ve got the high hormones of sex mixed with some extra rocking and you’ve probably got a sleeping fetus at that point. Most mothers complain of babies being extra active at night when mom is still.”
Pregnancy Sex Safety
When it comes to sex during pregnancy, your baby has no idea what’s going on, but your doctor may have recommendations for your safety depending on your specific situation. Typically though, Langdon says, “There are no restrictions except maternal pain. Doctors will advise against sex if you are having contractions, bleeding, or your water breaks.”
If you're in the mood for sex during your pregnancy, don't deprive yourself. Unless your doctor has specifically asked you to refrain from intercourse, sex is absolutely fine for baby. Sure, they might feel some extra bouncing and hear a few interesting new sounds, but don't be bashful. After all, they owe their existence to this act... and they're lucky to have parents who can't keep their hands off each other.
Sara Lyon, birthing expert, doula, author of The Birth Deck and You’ve Got This: Your Guide to Getting Comfortable with Labor
Dr. Kim Langdon, OB-GYN with Medzino
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