Sex during pregnancy: 'Will I hurt the baby?' -
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Sex during pregnancy: 'Will I hurt the baby?'

Brier Jirka is a sex therapist with the Methodist Physicians Clinic Women's Center. She blogs every other Tuesday.Read more from Brier here.

Pregnancy is a time of physical and emotional changes. Trust me, being almost six months pregnant myself with my first child, this topic takes on new meaning to me.

Working at the Methodist Physicians Clinic Women's Center, I see a large number of patients that are currently pregnant or just recently had a baby. Questions about sex and pregnancy are quite common and difficult to ask at times.

Pregnancy can bring up changes in the way a couple views sex and sexuality. The best way to deal with these changes is to talk, listen and be open to each other's feelings and concerns.

It's important to note that all questions about sexual practices during pregnancy should be discussed with your doctor. Sex is generally safe during pregnancy, but everyone's pregnancy is different. The decision on intercourse and other sexual play is really your doctor's.

When I meet with couples in my practice, the most questions about sex during pregnancy usually come from the male partner. A common male question: “Am I going to hit the baby?”

I used to giggle when someone would say this, but then I realized men just don't have a good understanding of the female anatomy. Quite frankly, many women don't either until they experience body changes.

The only thing a male is in danger of “hitting” is the mucus plug or back of the vagina. Doing so can result in some spotting during intercourse. Certainly if the spotting becomes serious, you should contact your physician immediately.

Men also want to know about oral sex and if that's appropriate during pregnancy. This is usually a safe form of intimacy, but blowing air into the vagina may block a blood vessel (air embolism), which could result in a life-threatening situation for mom and baby.

I often tell couples that you may have to be creative when having intercourse during pregnancy. The comfort level of the female is important and as a couple you may need to explore new positions, which can result in a new level of intimacy in your relationship.

A good resource is Dr. Laura Berman's book, “Loving Sex: The Book of Joy and Passion.”

As always, if sex is the last thing on your mind during pregnancy – that's totally OK. You can use the pregnancy as a time to connect on an intimate level in other ways. Couples can kiss, cuddle, massage or do other non-intimate things to remain connected.

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