Sex During Pregnancy

Except in very particular circumstances, sex is completely safe during pregnancy. There is no evidence that sex itself or orgasm will harm your baby or cause labor. If you are having bleeding or preterm labor, we may recommend against having sex.

As your uterus gets bigger during pregnancy, different sexual positions may help both with comfort and satisfaction. If you are having trouble with comfort during sex, ask us about it.

Exercise During Pregnancy

Exercise is not only healthy during pregnancy, but improves pregnancy outcomes. Pregnant women who exercise have less backaches, bloating, constipation, swelling, and gestational diabetes. They have improved energy, mood, posture, and sleep. Some studies have even showed that exercise can prevent gestational diabetes and increase the chance of having a vaginal delivery.

Historically, it was falsely assumed that physical activity could increase the risk of miscarriage, preterm deliveries and contribute to growth restriction of the fetus. There have been drastic shifts in evidence pointing away from those concerns. There is no longer a restriction of maximum heart rate (no different from a non-pregnant woman anyway). According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, healthy women should get at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes, at least 10 minutes at a time) per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, during and after their pregnancy. Healthy women who already do vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, such as running, or large amounts of activity can continue doing so during and after their pregnancy provided they stay healthy and discuss with their health care provider how and when activity should be adjusted over time. For women that want to begin physical activity during pregnancy, the activity should be gradually increased over time, working up to the moderate-intensity recommendations as above.

Pilates and Yoga for pregnancy help with strength and flexibility. Walking, swimming, cycling, aerobics, and running are all safe and provide good cardiovascular exercise during pregnancy. Studies have shown that blood flow to the baby is actually improved during cardiovascular exercise. It makes sense to not over-exert yourself to the point of being short of breath, but vigorous cardiovascular exercise (and weightlifting!) is safe during pregnancy and you don’t need to worry about how fast your heart-rate is.

A long list of examples of moderate and vigorous intensity exercises can be found here.

Signs or symptoms that you should stop exercising include vaginal bleeding, feeling faint, chest pain, headache, calf pain or swelling, uterine contractions, fluid leaking from the vagina.

Obviously avoid contact sports during pregnancy, as well as other activities in which there is a high risk of falling (gymnastics, horseback riding, water  skiing, etc.). Also avoid downhill skiing and SCUBA diving.

In what medical conditions in a pregnant woman should exercise be avoided? Significant heart disease, restrictive lung disease, the location of the placenta in the third trimester, the length of a woman’s cervix, persistent second or third trimester vaginal bleeding, premature labor, ruptured membranes (aka broken water) or pre-eclampsia. If you are unsure if you have any of these conditions, talk to your healthcare provider about your medical history.

Unfortunately, as of 2011, 85% of pregnant women did not meet the recommended guidelines for exercise during pregnancy. Don’t be one of those 85%!

Dying/Coloring your Hair during Pregnancy

There is no scientific data that coloring or your hair has any negative effect on your pregnancy.

Travel in Pregnancy

Under normal circumstances, travel during pregnancy is safe until the last 5 weeks or so of pregnancy. This includes flight. Most cruise ships will not allow you on board if you are pregnant. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, walk, and stretch your legs on long trips.

You should take the normal precautions while traveling such as wearing seat belts. The lap belt should be below your belly so that it fits snugly across your hips and pelvic bone; the shoulder belt should be across your chest (between your breasts) and over the mid-portion of your collar bone (away from your neck). Never place the shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back; also ensure there is no slack in the belt and that your airbags are turned to “on.” Keep 10 inches between the steering wheel and your breastbone. You may need to angle the steering wheel toward your breasts, not your belly or head.