For some women, masturbation is a great stress buster and they find it a unique way to explore their changing body during pregnancy. The physical release of masturbation helps the mom-to-be to deal with the difficulties of morning sickness, aches and pains and more. For couples who fear that sex can be harmful and uncomfortable during pregnancy or have been asked to avoid sex, the alternative of mutual masturbation will help keep the intimacy in a relationship. In some cases, some women also use devices for masturbation. These devices are generally safe, but they need to be cleaned, used and maintained hygienically. During pregnancy however these devices may cause discomfort, pain or cramps in some women, when this happens devices should be avoided. Use of devices for masturbation is totally contraindicated when the waters have broken, there is vaginal bleeding, in cases of low-lying placenta and where there is a risk of preterm labor. Many couples, especially women may voluntarily opt for masturbation as sexual intercourse in various positions is comparatively difficult and uncomfortable due to the belly size.
Sex during pregnancy is a confusing matter for many but it is important to know that sex during pregnancy is allowed and it does not cause any harm to the baby provided you are carrying a healthy pregnancy. Pregnancy changes the body of a woman and can affect her self-image. Indulging in the sex / masturbation reinforces her confidence in her body and may help many accept the pregnancy changes better. The frequency of sex / masturbation, positions and timing depends on a woman’s comfort level and how the couple adapts to pregnancy-related body changes. Sex during pregnancy also has other benefits –
Improves Blood Circulation in the Body
Circulating blood flow is doubled in pregnancy to be able to provide nourishment to the pregnancy. Sex further increases the rate of flow thru the pelvic blood vessels and avoids sluggish blood flow to the pregnancy.
Orgasms are Better in Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a state of high hormones. The raised estrogens increase blood flow to the pelvic area and these increases both arousal and sensitivity. Most women say that orgasms were better during pregnancy and this helped renew the intimacy with their partners.
Improves Pelvic Floor Muscle Strength
Regular intercourse during pregnancy helps tone the pelvic floor muscles and to strengthen them. Labour is easier when pelvic floor muscles are strong.
Improves and Boosts Immunity
Pregnancy is a state of immune suppression. The baby is 50% mum and 50% dad. The body suppresses its own immunity so that the pregnancy is not rejected, but this makes a woman more prone to infections when pregnant. Sex improves IgA antibody levels, these protect from minor ailments like seasonal flu and minor fevers.
Improves Bond with the Partner and the Baby
Sex during pregnancy increases both endorphins – feel-good chemicals and oxytocin – the love hormone. Both these help better bonding between partners and also helps the maternal-child bond when the baby is born.
Protects from Pre-eclampsia
Some women may suffer from hypertensive disorders in pregnancy and pre-eclampsia. Sex exposes the woman to sperm which has the HLA-G protein. This protein has the action of regulating the immune system and blood pressure. Woman who get BP and pre-eclampsia issues must take doctor’s advice.
Improves Body Image and Sense of Self Worth
Pregnancy changes the body and some may not be able to cope with the changed body image. Sex during pregnancy reinforces that a woman is still desirable and helps boost confidence and self-esteem. It helps develop a positive attitude in the relationship and towards the baby and the partner.
Improves Bladder Control
As the uterus grows with the baby, it’s weight will press on the bladder and women often complain of needing to empty the bladder frequently. Sometimes one may experience a leak of urine when pregnant especially while laughing or coughing. Sex helps strengthen pelvic muscles, this offers better control of the bladder and avoids bladder accidents.
Quicker Post-Delivery Recovery
Better pelvic floor muscles, mean an easier birth and labor and hence quicker recovery. Sex makes pelvic floor muscles strong. You can also do regular Kegel exercises to help strengthen the pelvic floor further.
Helps You Go Into Labor Naturally
Sex helps start labor by two mechanisms. Pelvic muscle contractions during sex help open the cervix and the prostaglandins in the semen help soften the cervix making it easier for it to open. Labor hence becomes easier.
Helps Burn Calories
It is difficult to follow the routine workout regimen during pregnancy. Half an hour of sex will help burn upto 80 k calories. Though this will not replace the 30 mins in the gym, it will help keep the muscles toned.
Better Sleep at Night
The endorphins released during sex help to de-stress and relax. A relaxed mind and body will catch up with better sleep.
Reduced Pregnancy Aches and Pains
Oxytocin and endorphins released during sex increase pain tolerance and reduce the general ache, pains, cramps of pregnancy.