Masturbation In Pregnancy: Safety, Benefits And Risk Factors

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Masturbation and lovemaking may be observed as taboos in pregnancy. If you are also not sure whether masturbation during pregnancy is safe or not, you should be reading this post.

Most women go through changes in libidoiXThe erotic urge or sex drive of an individual due to hormonal pregnancy changes. Moreover, your huge belly in the later pregnancy could make it uncomfortable when indulging in intercourse, and masturbation may be more convenient.

Read on as we discuss the benefits and contraindications of masturbation when pregnant.

In This Article

Is It Safe To Masturbate When Pregnant?

Consult your doctor regarding the safety of masturbation during pregnancy

Image: IStock

Yes, it is safe to masturbate or engage in mutual masturbation during pregnancy. However, in some high-risk pregnancies, the healthcare providers recommend abstinenceiXThe act of refraining from indulgent behavior, usually alcohol or sex from masturbation, orgasm, penetration, etc. (1). Therefore, it is best to consult your doctor regarding the safety of masturbation during pregnancy.

protip_icon Quick fact
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can heighten one’s sexual desires and masturbation is a good way to release this tension (12).

What Are The Benefits Of Masturbation During Pregnancy?

Masturbation during pregnancy can help women sleep better

Image: Shutterstock

The following are the benefits of masturbation during pregnancy (2).

  • It helps in relieving stress and sexual tension.
  • Some women have sleep problems during pregnancy. Masturbation can help one sleep better.
  • Increased blood flow to the genitals can make it easier for a woman to feel sexual pleasure or reach orgasm during pregnancy. In addition, orgasms release endorphinsiXHormones that the body releases when experiencing stress or pain , making one feel happy and relaxed.
  • Endorphins also help in relieving body pain. It can relieve different aches and pains of pregnancy.
  • More convenient than lovemaking, as once the belly grows in size, many positions might be uncomfortable.
  • Some males are skeptical about having intercourse during pregnancy as they are concerned about their wives and baby. In such cases, mutual masturbation can help a couple enjoy mutual pleasure and intimacy.
  • With several physical and emotional changes during pregnancy, masturbation can help a woman feel confident and improve her body image.
  • The physical pleasure from sexual stimulation can be a pleasant change from the usual discomforts of pregnancy, such as morning sickness, swollen ankles, sleep disturbances, food aversions, sciaticaiXA crippling ailment caused by pathology of the sciatic nerve or sciatic nerve root , and round ligament pain.
  • Pregnancy and associated stress and responsibilities can make a woman put her wants and desires on the back burner. Masturbation can help one remember self-worth and one’s identity.
  • A study done on a small group of people concluded that orgasms help in boosting immunity (3).

Are There Any Side Effects Of Masturbation?

While the act of masturbation is safe and normal, there are some moral and societal stigmas associated with it. Moreover, the myths surrounding sexual arousal, self-pleasure, and negative feelings can harm an individual’s mental health and well-being (4).

protip_icon Point to consider
Sometimes, excess masturbation may become addictive and negatively affect your work and responsibilities (4).

What Are The Risks Of Masturbation During Pregnancy?

Women may experience Braxton Hicks contractions after masturbation

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Most women who masturbate during pregnancy do not have any problems. However, some women may experience Braxton HicksiXUterine contractions that occurs from the second or third trimester of pregnancy contractions after having an orgasm. Braxton Hicks contractions may begin as early as the second trimester and are more common during the third trimester.

During a Braxton Hicks contraction, the uterine muscles tighten for around 30 to 60 seconds and last up to two minutes. They may feel uncomfortable but are painless. These contractions are more frequent and intense as one gets closer to the due date (5).

When Should You Avoid Masturbation During Pregnancy?

Abstain from masturbation if you have any underlying problem

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Your doctor may ask you to abstain from masturbation under the following conditions.

1. Placenta previa

It is a condition in which the placenta lies low in the uterus and covers the cervix of the uterus. This condition is seen in around one in 200 pregnancies. It is usually diagnosed in the second trimester. Placenta previa can cause bleeding and other complications later in the pregnancy (6).

2. Incompetent cervix

Cervical incompetency or cervical insufficiency is characterized by premature dilation of the cervix during pregnancy. It is usually not accompanied by pain or contractions. If you exhibit any symptoms of cervical insufficiency, your healthcare provider will perform transvaginal ultrasoundiXAn examination of a woman's uterus, ovaries, tubes, cervix, and pelvic region between 16 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. Cervical incompetency can cause premature birth and miscarriage (7).

3. History of preterm labor

Women with a history of preterm labor in previous pregnancies may be asked to avoid masturbation.

4. Water leakage

If the amniotic saciXThe womb's fluid-filled sac that houses and shields a fetus ruptures and the fluids break before labor before 37 weeks of pregnancy, it is known as the preterm prelabor rupture of membranes or PPROM. For some women, it can trigger labor. It can happen in around three percent of all pregnancies. You may be advised to take ample rest and avoid masturbation if you have had water leakage (8).

5. Vaginal bleeding

Bleeding during pregnancy is not uncommon. However, it does not always mean that there is a problem. While spotting in the first trimester is common, bleeding at any stage later in pregnancy might indicate underlying pathology. The doctor might suggest avoiding masturbation for some women if they experience bleeding (9).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can an orgasm cause a miscarriage?

For women with normal pregnancy without any complications, orgasms do not increase the risk of going into premature labor and miscarriage (10).

2. Is it safe to use vibrators, dildos, etc., during pregnancy?

Vibrators, dildos, and toys are safe during pregnancy if you do not have pregnancy-associated complications. However, it is necessary to keep them clean and sanitized. If you share these toys, use a male latex condom on them to help prevent any infection (11).

3. Can masturbation harm the baby?

The baby is well protected inside the womb, and sexual activity is unlikely to cause any harm. No scientific evidence suggests that masturbation during pregnancy can harm the baby.

4. Can masturbation help with pregnancy-related vaginal dryness?

Masturbation may help with pregnancy-related vaginal dryness by promoting vaginal lubrication. Self pleasure and sexual arousal may reduce vaginal dryness and alleviate sexual discomfort during intercourse as well (12).

5. Can masturbation help with pregnancy-related urinary incontinence?

Masturbation may help with pregnancy-related urinary incontinence. Regular orgasms can lead to stronger pelvic floor muscles and reduced urinary incontinence in women. (13).

Masturbation during pregnancy can be safe if you have an uncomplicated and low-risk pregnancy. If your healthcare provider advises you to abstain from sexual intimacy or insert anything inside the vagina, you should avoid it. Also, you may ask the doctor to know the safety based on individual factors. You may also take caution to maintain hygiene in the gentle area. Seek medical care if you notice symptoms such as cramping, discharge, or bleeding after masturbating during pregnancy.

Infographic: Can Masturbation Help You Prepare For Delivery?

Masturbation during pregnancy can be beneficial beyond sexual excitement and its psychological benefits. Some exercises and massages that arouse sensual feelings can also help you improve delivery outcomes. However, you may also try prenatal exercises and massages without exploring the sexual potential to ease delivery. Check out the infographic to learn how masturbation helps in delivery.

can masturbation help you prepare for delivery (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • Masturbation during pregnancy is considered safe except during high-risk pregnancies or if the doctor advises against it.
  • It relieves stress, boosts immunity, and makes you feel happy due to the release of endorphins.
  • In case of water leakage or vaginal bleeding, masturbation should be avoided.


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