Birthing Ayurveda: Week 17—Sex During Pregnancy
Welcome to Birthing Ayurveda, where we follow one woman's pregnancy experience week by week—from a positive home pregnancy test all the way to delivery.
I am now feeling much better, with more energy. Almost like my old self. With that, many women at this point are ready to tend to their sex life with their partner if they haven’t already started to do so. This is a topic that my clients almost always ask me about.
It is a topic that people can get very charged about, especially if they do not get the answer that they want (which varies quite a bit!). Sex is, after all, about intimacy, relationships, self-expression, and pleasure.
Rather than looking at this from the point of view of morality, right and wrong, and other views that are very subjective, let us explore it from the point of view of the doshas (vata, pitta, kapha).
For this reason, those who are vata dominant are advised to have sex much less frequently (perhaps twice a month or so) than those of a stronger, kapha constitution (who can have sex multiple times in a week without it affecting their doshas). Given that pregnancy and sex are in many ways opposite in nature, pregnancy is a time to at least be more conservative in frequency of sex, particularly if you have a vata constitution or imbalance.
Related to the above point, it is also important to keep in mind that sex inherently involves the release of some ojas (the essence of vitality and immunity). Ojas is critical for the establishment of pregnancy, as it feeds the vitality of the embryo and the growing fetus. During the last parts of the pregnancy, as we will discover during the later parts of my pregnancy, ojas is shared even to a greater degree with the growing baby. It is important, therefore, to not release too much ojas with overindulgence or too much sex, as ojas is a very precious substance (it is the final product of the digestion of food after it goes through all seven tissue layers, taking over a month to produce!). Again, those who have stronger vata in their constitution, or imbalance, tend to have less ojas, making it more important to be more cautious with intercourse.
There are many who will also point out that pregnancy is a very spiritual time. The baby, while seemingly dormant, is growing, processing its new body and environment, and (based on your belief system) it is processing past karmas or simply transitioning into this world. For the same reason that many deeply spiritual individuals practice celibacy (to conserve that vital energy for internal and spiritual insights), it can be very beneficial to the baby to preserve that environment and energy during this time.
That said, let us accept that this is a very subjective issue. And from that perspective, I will say that it is important to take all of the above into consideration, along with your own intuition and belief system. Listen keenly to what your body is telling you. If you are feeling it, go for it. Though, I will advise to still take it with some moderation for the above reasons. If you are not feeling it, listen to that as well. Your desires, the baby’s desires, your body’s needs, your body’s constitution and imbalance, all play a roll in this communication.
There are situations in which I would definitely consider holding off on sex:
- If you have had preterm labor during this pregnancy or you are at high risk of it
- If your placenta is positioned low, close to, or over your cervix
- If you are experiencing any vaginal bleeding
- If your water has broken
- If either you or your partner has a sexually transmitted disease
If you have any other complications of pregnancy, please always talk to your provider.
I will leave my personal decision out of this blog for the sake of not offering TMI (too much information). Plus, I am sure my husband would rather keep this part of our life private. But if you do choose to have sex during pregnancy, just remember the doshas and ojas.
- Replenish ojas with organic, raw whole milk (at this point in the pregnancy mix in some ghee and honey or raw sugar), add plenty of organic ghee to your food, and eat dates and other ojas-promoting foods.
- Regain balance of kapha with proper sleep, self-massage with oil (abhyanga), and not getting up and going for a run right after sex.
- Remember to avoid compression of the abdomen and choose your position accordingly.
For more vata-balancing recommendations, read this guide.