Generally, when you find out that you’re pregnancy may be at risk and requires prescribed bed rest, this question will come up between you and your partner, “Can we still have sex?”
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is most commonly, “No”, and it is a catalyst for a new set of questions, which commonly are:
- Why can’t I engage in sex with my partner while I’m on bed rest?
- When are there exceptions?
- Will it be possible to remain intimate with my partner during this time?
- I don’t even want to have sex! Is that normal?
- How do I maintain intimacy in my relationship without sex?
All of these questions are normal, common, and, yes, they have answers that make perfect sense. Below, I’ve compiled all of them in a no-fuss Q&A format to hopefully enlighten you on the fine art of maintaining intimacy on bed rest.
Why Can’t I Engage in Sex with My Partner While on Bed Rest?
Unfortunately, most cases of bed rest require a couple to abstain from sexual intercourse in order to limit the risks of possible pre-term labor. This is due to how a woman’s orgasm affects the pelvic organs with rhythmic contractions. These kinds of uterine contractions are what can induce pre-term labor and, for a woman at risk, even the slightest activity can spur them. Since a woman’s orgasm is so much stronger while pregnant, due to engorged sexual organs, sex is the worst kind of activity while on bed rest. Also, sperm has natural prostaglandins that soften and ripen the cervix. This is a good thing around your due date, but not if you’re at risk of preterm labor. I know; huge bummer, right?
When are there any exceptions?
A few, actually. There are a few bed rest situations that don’t place you at as high risk for pre-term labor, because the risks lie elsewhere. If your cause of bed rest is Gestational Diabetes, or Hypertension-not including pre-eclampsia-you may only be subjected to modified bed rest and therefore may be allowed to engage in very limited sexual activity. Always discuss the exact parameters of your diagnosis with your physician and let him/her decide what is and is not safe.
Will it Be Possible to Remain Intimate with My Partner During This Time? I’m worried.
Please, don’t worry momma! Yes; it’s very possible to keep intimacy alive in your relationship during this difficult time, because that’s all it is-difficult. It’s nothing that you and your partner can’t work your way through to find what works best for you both. In fact, it’s very important for you to maintain intimacy and some couples even find that they become more intimate with one another, because they’re forced to explore other avenues of their intimacy.
Keep in mind that the dictionary’s definition if intimacy is: “most private or personal; closely acquainted or associated; very familiar”. Sex is by no means the only way to achieve private, personal, familiar, or closely acquainted. Showing love, appreciation, and consideration for each other any way you can is important in all relationships.
Honestly? I’m Not All That Bummed. I Don’t Really Want Sex Right Now; Is that… Normal?
If it’s how you feel then it’s completely normal. Furthermore, every woman is different during pregnancy and there isn’t a soul on this earth who can predict what her libido will do throughout. Many women experience a complete lack-of-interest in sex due to hormonal fluctuations that have an adverse effect on the libido. Who can blame you? There are aches, pains, fatigue, nausea, and a whirlwind of body changes rippling through you, so don’t feel strange about not wanting to have sex. With that said, however, it is still very important to your relationship to maintain intimacy in other ways.
How Do I Maintain Intimacy in My Relationship Without Sex?
Keep your partner close to you emotionally, intellectually, and do so passionately. As passionately as you would engage in sex, engage in talking, touching, and show love and interest in one another. Communicate and find what works best for you, whether it be various forms of massages, intimate kissing, or just holding one another while talking. You can remain as intimate with your partner as you would like to be-it’s just going to take a few temporary modifications, is all!
Try complimenting each other. Thanking each other for the smallest things. While on bed rest, still take the time to put on makeup, wash and do the hair etc. Take pride in your appearance as hard as that will be. He will notice and appreciate it. You could even write little love notes and have someone mail them for you to his workplace or even to your own home, so he opens the mail when he arrives home. Small loving gestures go a long way. Get creative during this very challenging time. It will make your lives easier when you acknowledge each other and the sacrifices you’re making for your healthy baby.