Getting intimate during pregnancy can be a challenge for many couples, as the expectant mother will experience many physical and psychological changes. Lots of parents-to-be have loads of questions about sex in pregnancy that you may be embarrassed to ask your doctor: Is sex is even safe, whether your unborn baby can get hurt, and why you may be experiencing mismatched mood for love.

SKIN speaks to Dr Ben Choey, from SBCC Women’s Clinic, for a lowdown on what’s okay and what’s not for sex during pregnancy.

Can we have sex during pregnancy?

Sex is safe during pregnancy and will not harm the baby. Your baby is well protected by amniotic fluid which acts as a cushion. However, there are certain clinical conditions that may require you to refrain from sexual intercourse – if there are abnormalities with the placenta (low lying), preterm labor, or if you have bleeding in pregnancy.

Does my sexual desires change during pregnancy?

Do expect a roller coaster pattern of your sex life during your nine months of pregnancy as your hormone levels ride up and down. A woman may interestingly find herself more or less interested in sex. A couple may also have an imbalance between their desires for physical intimacy during pregnancy. There are some men who do not feel comfortable having intercourse during pregnancy.

During the first trimester, most women find their sex drives at rock bottom levels, as pregnancy hormones start to set in. Interest in sex may pick up during your second trimester when your testosterone levels hit the high. But in the third trimester, you may experience waning of your libido at an even greater level than first trimester. This may be contributed by your big tummy, your anxiety about delivery, increasing back pains, and hemorrhoids. Sex will probably be the last thing on your mind.

What sex positions are safe for my baby?

As far as positions go, having you at the bottom does not crush the baby. There is a lot of amniotic fluid which cushions your baby. But as you get more and more pregnant, it is more difficult to assume the bottom position. Start experimenting new positions with your partner, as long as both of you are comfortable.

Will my baby get infection after sex?

There is no risk of infection as long as your water bag membranes are intact, cervix is not dilated, and your partner is free from sexually transmitted diseases. The amniotic bag keeps your baby safe from microorganisms and semen.

Do I need to use protection during sex?

It depends on who you are having sex with. If it’s with your partner, or the man you trust, sexual intercourse during this point is safe. But it is not safe if you are particularly concerned about sexually transmitted diseases. You don’t want to just protect yourself. You want to protect your baby as well. So, if it’s a new relationship or a new man, make sure you use condoms.

I have a high-risk pregnancy. Is it safe to have intercourse?

It’s safe, but you need to talk to your obstetrician. You need to understand what the high-risk pregnancy is. But most likely sex is ok, unless you have ruptured membranes or low-lying placenta.

Is there a difference between women who had vaginal birth or Caesarean section when they want to have sex again?

Caesarean section is a surgery, and it will take you between 6-12 weeks for full recovery. By the same token, if you had a vaginal delivery, your vagina is not going to feel the same. Your husband may feel the vagina is looser, but to you it may feel like you are having sex the first time. So, the idea is to have a good relationship with your partner and to work together to create an environment to have sex and to be close to each other.

 – By Emily Wong