Life is full of irony. A runner trains for weeks to run a marathon, and what's the last thing he wants to do once he crosses the finish line? Run another step. Pregnant women are often the same way. Some spend years enjoying baby making "practice" until they're ready to ditch the birth control and really have one, while others time their sexual encounters to the minute to maximize fertility. But the one thing most women have in common is the minute one of those intimate encounters results in a pregnancy; the last thing they want to do is have more sex!
That's a generalization of course. For some feisty gals, pregnancy is a time of heady hormonal hijinks, free from the inconvenience of birth control and trouble of monthly periods. For other women, with conditions like placental previa, it's strictly forbidden, but there are legions of perfectly healthy pregnant women who just wish it were medically off limits because the very act that got them into their condition suddenly becomes the lowest item on their priority lists.
So why the sudden change of heart? Those first trimester waves of nausea and overwhelming exhaustion are often to blame. "I was too sick and nauseous. I just didn't feel like doing it very often," explains Melinda Troy, mother of a one-year-old son. Her friend Jamie Vasquez, mother of two preschoolers agrees, "I just felt so cruddy the first trimester, so all I wanted to do when I got home from work was lie on the couch."
In addition to feeling sick, many mothers-to-be harbor secret fears that intercourse will harm their fetus—but that couldn't be further from the truth. "Every time we'd have sex and I'd feel mild cramping or any kind of twinge down there, I'd be terrified something was going to happen to the baby!" remembers Holly McDonald, mother of a perfectly healthy toddler. The fact is that uterine cramping and a multitude of pinches, tweaks, and odd feelings below the belt are a normal part of pregnancy. Besides, the muscle contractions caused by orgasm or the effort of having intercourse are a great warm-up for actual labor. Some husbands fear that the fetus will get jostled or even poked during vigorous lovemaking; yet Dr. Bennett Spetalnick, MD, assistant professor at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center assures us that, "No, the baby is not going to get bruised—really!" He says that sex during pregnancy is safe for most people.