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 libido 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.

Is It Safe To Masturbate When Pregnant?

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

What Are The Benefits Of Masturbation During Pregnancy?

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

  • It helps in relieving stress.
  • Some women have sleep problems in pregnancy. Masturbation can help one sleep better.
  • Increased blood flow to the genitals can make it easier for a woman to orgasm during pregnancy. In addition, orgasms release endorphins, 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.
  • With several physical and emotional changes during pregnancy, masturbation can help a woman feel confident and improve her body image.
  • The physical pleasure from masturbation can be a pleasant change from the usual discomforts of pregnancy, such as morning sickness, swollen ankles, sleep disturbances, food aversions, sciatica, 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, with the myths surrounding masturbation, negative feelings can harm an individual’s mental health and well-being (4).

What Are The Risks Of Masturbation During Pregnancy?

Most women who masturbate during pregnancy do not have any problems. However, some women may experience Braxton Hicks 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?

Your doctor may ask you to abstain from masturbation in 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 ultrasounds 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 sac 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).

If you have a low-risk, uncomplicated, and healthy pregnancy, masturbation may be safe. If your doctor advises you against intimate activity, most likely, masturbation is also unsafe. It is still recommended to check with your doctor about the safety of masturbation as each pregnancy is different. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice any abnormal symptoms such as bleeding, discharge, cramping, or pain after masturbating.

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

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.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
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Dr. Ritika Shah

Dr. Ritika Shah is a certified lactation counsellor from iNational Health Care Academy, Singapore and a dental surgeon with more than seven years of clinical experience across various cities in India. She did her graduation in Dentistry from KM Shah Dental College. During her clinical practice, pediatric dentistry was her particular area of interest, and she constantly thrived to inculcate... more

Dr. Mona Hardas

(MD)
Dr. Mona Hardas is a practicing Ob/Gyn from Flint, Michigan, with over 20 years of experience in private practice. She is also actively involved in teaching medical students and residents as an associate clinical professor from MSU College of Human Medicine.  Dr. Hardas is interested in minimally invasive gynecology procedures, including laparoscopic hysterectomy, myomectomy, removal of adnexal masses, etc. Having... more