Sunday July 27 2014

ASK UNCLE JOE: Sex during pregnancy

My wife is pregnant and I miss sex. How do I go about it?

Dear Derrick, the answers to such may not always be straight forward. You may be concerned about hurting the baby or what are the safe positions or how often to have sex.

The truth is that it is okay to have sex during pregnancy. Pregnancy is not an illness it is a normal process of reproduction. Unless there are issues disturbing your wife like hormonal changes that affect her moods, or if her anxiety over the baby blocks her interest in sex. And if she is sick and categorised as at risk by the doctor due to certain medical conditions, then sex could be left out.

But, it is normal to have sex during pregnancy. Some people worry about the positions but these also depend on how comfortable you will both feel. Note that earlier in the pregnancy many women are disturbed by nausea and may be sex will be the last thing they want. Othersmay be the opposite.

If you are worried about hurting the baby, this is not so in normal pregnancies. The baby is protected in its amniotic sac, a bag full of fluid which protects it like a shock absorber, as well as by the strong muscular walls of the womb. And since a thick mucus plug seals the cervix so that neither bacteria nor semen can enter the uterus during sexual intercourse, there is no danger in making love as the baby grows. Otherwise sex during pregnancy is a great thing for you and the baby!

You might wonder why sex at this very special time is good for the baby. First, sex reinforces the bonds between the mother-to-be (i.e. your wife) and you the husband, ensuring that your relationship is strong, healthy and intimate. This produces a good environment for the baby after he or she is born. Secondly, when a woman has an orgasm, she produces large amounts of endorphins and bliss hormones which circulate in her bloodstream and inevitably produce the same sense of relaxation and contentment for the baby as they do for the mother.

Change is rampant during pregnancy, both in your wife’s body and her beliefs. Make sure that you discuss the feelings that you have about sex and sexuality. These discussions can lead to a more fulfilling sex life. If either of you do not feel like having sex, this can be particularly important. Explain to your partner what is going on and what they can do to help you be sexual.

Uncle Joe Musaalo is a counselling psychologist