A researcher with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, Lagos, Prof. Oliver Ezechi, has said that couples may not abstain from sex during the entire nine months of pregnancy if the physician has not counseled them to. In general, physicians note that not all couples are aware that they could continue to have sexual intercourse right from conception till delivery if there are no proven medical issues.
Doctors affirm that sex will not harm the foetus at any stage during a typical, uncomplicated pregnancy, because the baby is protected by strong uterus muscles, amniotic fluid, and a mucus plug that develops around the cervix.
Despite these assurances, many couples still believe that engaging in sexual activities or achieving orgasms while the wife is pregnant might harm the baby, particularly during the first trimester.
Some couples who avoid sex during pregnancy even when they have serious urge for it, do so as a result of lack of awareness and fear.
According to a PUNCH correspondent, Angela Onwuzoo who sought the opinion of , consultant ob-gyn, Ezechi, the physician said there was no harm with sex during pregnancy.
“Sex will not harm the baby during pregnancy,”
Ezechi declared, noting, however, that:
In certain condition during pregnancy such as bleeding in early, major placenta praevia, recurrent abortion or threatening miscarriage, we will advise mother to-be to withhold sex until later in pregnancy.
This is just precaution.
So, couples should not avoid sex during pregnancy, but they should adopt positions that the pregnant woman is comfortable with.
Another Gynaecologist/Obstetrician at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Modupe Adedeji, spoke in the same vein, asserting that:
Sex is generally permitted during pregnancy once it goes with the woman’s convenience in terms of position, frequency and timing.
It is not supposed to hurt the baby.
The baby is quietly growing in the uterine cavity (inside the womb) while the penal shaft is thrusting in and out in the vagina.
Adedeji said the vagina is located below the womb and it is therefore unlikely that sex would hurt the baby.
We, however, request couples to stay away from sex in order to prevent unforeseen circumstances such as pregnancy loss if there is such a threat.
We may also counsel couples against sex in cases of pregnancies conceived via assisted reproductive technique.
Circumstances where the placenta is lying in the lower part of the uterus (placenta previa) may also make us to counsel couples to abstain from sex in order to prevent antepartum haemorrhage (bleeding during pregnancy),
the physician said.
And, contrary to what many couples may think, Adedeji said:
We actually encourage sexual intercourse at the very end of a pregnancy period, because it could help to stimulate uterine contraction to help with labour.
This is as a result of a chemical known as prostaglandin present in the seminal fluid.
This chemical can initiate labour.
She also said different sex positions are allowed during the early stage of a pregnancy, urging couples to look for a more comfortable position when the pregnant woman’s stomach starts t protrude.
Another consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist and fertility specialist, Dr. Faye Iketubosin, said there was no evidence that the baby can be harmed during sexual intercourse.
Iketubosin, who is President of the Association for Fertility and Reproductive Health, told our Correspondent that couples could have sex during pregnancy for as long as it is comfortable for the woman.
“However, as pregnancy advances, sex may become uncomfortable for the woman.
“If sexual intercourse provokes bleeding, the couple should abstain until they have been checked out by a gynaecologist,”
Another health expert, Dr. Tunji Akintade, also confirmed the safety of sex during pregnancy.
Akintade, who is Chairman, Lagos State chapter of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, said sex should not be avoided during pregnancy except if it is uncomfortable for the woman.
“There are medical conditions when sex can be avoided; but it is largely safe. If anything, it has emotional benefit for the relationship,”