Pregnancy and Sexual Health

 Pregnancy and Sexual Health

Pregnancy and Sexual

A woman’s overall well-being is the most important thing in pregnancy. And, the overall well-being includes a woman’s sexual health too. So, its well-being during pregnancy is just as important. It is more important during pregnancy than at any other time as it affects the baby’s health.

Just the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity does not mean you are sexually healthy. Being sexually healthy means being physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially well in relation to sexuality. To be sexually healthy you need a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and your sexual relationships while practicing safe sex. And also having sexual experience free of coercion, discrimination and violence. Sexual health is of paramount check-ups and tests.

How is your sexual health?

Many sexually transmitted infections and diseases (STIs) go undetected for years as some diseases have no symptoms and are hard to detect. So, it is advisable to go for regular check-ups as some STDs like gonorrhoea, can cause infertility in women and others, like syphilis, can be transferred from mother to the baby during pregnancy.

Although many STDs do not pose any life threats and can be treated successfully, it is better for both the mother and the child to get treated before a woman becomes pregnant. 

How to protect your sexual health before pregnancy?

If you're planning on being pregnant, you're obviously going to using stop every form of contraception. When you stop using protection it means that if you already have an STI or your partner has an STI, you both could easily pass it to each other. It will result in you both being infected with a sexually transmitted disease.

So, for the reason of being safe and being sure, you both should get tested if you're thinking of starting a family with someone.

Protecting your unborn child

If a mother is infected with any type of STD, like HIV or syphilis, it can be passed to the baby when they are in the womb or at the time of birth. If your doctors are aware of your sexual health, they can take proper measurements to help protect the unborn child.

Some of the sexually transmitted diseases can be passed to the child during giving birth to them. If a woman knows about her infection, then you can take steps to prevent this from happening. Like you can opt for having delivery by a caesarean section. So, if you notice any signs and symptoms of an STI and think you may have an STI, it’s important to let your gynaecologist, nurse or midwife know.

Sex during pregnancy

Some women have the question of whether they can have sex during pregnancy? Most of them have inhibitions about having intercourse as they are worried it might harm the baby. But it is ok to have sex during pregnancy as long as you want to have it. For some women, pregnancy tends to increase their sex drive and it happens mostly in the second trimester of pregnancy.  And, for both men and women, pregnancy can be quite sexy.

However, it is advisable to speak to your midwife or doctor if you have a history of miscarriage or early labour. They will guide you properly as to when it might be safest to have sex and avoid sex.

Are there any benefits to having sex during pregnancy?

Having sex during pregnancy can be a good idea for partners to enjoy each other’s company sexually before the arrival of the baby. Having satisfactory sex can help keep your relationship strong. Also, after childbirth, having penetrative or vaginal sex is not possible for some time. Most new parents find that they have less energy and time for sex or even a date night. 

If the due date of delivery is close and if you are way past your due date then having sex can help get labour started. This can happen due to the substances present in semen called prostaglandins that soften the woman's cervix and hormones released by nipple stimulation encourage the womb to contract.

Existing STIs and pregnancy

If you are planning on getting pregnant and you suspect you have symptoms related to STD then tell your general practitioner or midwife. Having a healthy pregnancy depends on what kind of infection you have; you may still be able to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy child. But some infections like syphilis lessen your chances of becoming pregnant.

Most sexually transmitted diseases can be cured completely but there are infections that can't be cured completely, like herpes and HIV. For them, there are many steps that can be taken to lessen the chances of the virus passing from mother to child.

After birth both the parents and carers need to take extra care making sure they don't pass any STDs to the child. Your doctor or midwife will tell you about the precautions you might need to take. 

And, it is advisable for both partners to get tested before trying for a child.

What to do when you catch STI during pregnancy? 

If you have sex during pregnancy then it is possible you can catch an STI during pregnancy. It can cause problems for both mother and child. The infection can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, at delivery, or during their childhood.

If you are pregnant and think you may have caught a sexually transmitted disease, tell your midwife or doctor immediately. They will give you the required treatment and tell you all your options. Some infections can be cured completely like syphilis and gonorrhoea, but some infections like herpes and HIV are not curable but their effects can be lessened.

Tips for better, safer sex during pregnancy

Always use a condom while engaging in vaginal, oral or anal sexual activity, or practice safer sex alternatives even when you are pregnant.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

·        You can have sex during pregnancy as the baby will not be harmed as they have no clue what's happening. They are well protected in the womb by placenta and uterus walls.

·        Your preferences regarding sex may change as your hormones change during pregnancy. 

·        Have a good talk about what turns you on and off. This can be a good learning experience for both you and your partner. 

In the last stage of pregnancy:

·        The third trimester can be uncomfortable for women so be prepared to try different positions to get comfy.

·        Haemorrhoids are common during pregnancy so try to have anal sex.

·        Sex can help start labour if you are near your due date or is way past your due date.

If you are sexually active during your pregnancy then you might experience contractions during and after sex. But these are not strong enough to start labour if you're not nearing your due date.


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