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Sex and Pregnancy: Overcoming Your Most Common Fears
by Colette Bouchez

In the not so distant past, the words "sex" and "pregnancy" were barely ever mentioned in the same sentence. But today, even the most conservative medical sources say that as long as a woman is feeling good, and her pregnancy is not in jeopardy, sex is fine--oftentimes right up until the day of delivery. Unfortunately, even with these encouraging words, old fears die hard and many couples continue to experience unnecessary concern.

To help set the record straight, what follows is a guide to the three most common fears about sex during pregnancy--and some reassuring advice.

Fear #1: Premature Labor
Although it's the most common pregnancy fear, studies on some 13,000 women revealed preterm labor was less common among women who had intercourse at least once a week during their pregnancy! Another study of 600 women found sex during pregnancy had a protective effect against early labor, as long as couples avoided the "male superior" position. If, however, you experience extreme cramping after sex, talk to your doctor before your next rendezvous.

Fear #2: Hurting the baby
Both women and men have this fear but it's really the least of your pregnancy worries. Because your baby floats in a pool of fluid inside your uterus, protected by your abdominal wall and your pelvis, they are fully cushioned and protected against all but the most severe blows to your tummy. Even deep penetration won't harm Baby Snooks! And in case you're wondering if Junior will know what Mom and Dad are up to - the answer is no. While your baby will likely feel the sensations of your body moving, they won't know if you're dancing the tango, hanging curtains, or having sex!

Fear #3: Orgasm/miscarriage
Because orgasm can generally result in some degree of cramping and sometimes spotting, many women are frightened that climaxing during pregnancy will cause either a miscarriage or bring on labor. For the most part, however, the fears are unfounded. The most common causes of miscarriage are genetic defects and infections - not sex. Plus studies show that orgasm, even when it occurs late in pregnancy, won't bring on labor. While it can cause your uterus to contract, an orgasm won't cause cervical dilation, so it won't initiate delivery. A nice bonus: When mom orgasms, baby experiences a euphoric-like hormonal rush that is very pleasurable to them.

While it's likely sex will be safe and exciting during your pregnancy, get your doctor's okay first if you are experiencing:

  • vaginal bleeding (as compared to spotting)
  • if you are diagnosed with an "incompetent cervix"
  • if you are at increased risk for premature labor
  • if you are diagnosed with "placenta previa"
  • if you are carrying twins or triplets.

About the author: Colette Bouchez is the author of Your Perfectly Pampered Pregnancy - Health, Beauty and Lifestyle Advice for the Modern Mother-To-Be (Broadway Books, NY) and creator of

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