Masturbation During Pregnancy: What You Should Know

There are many myths about masturbation during pregnancy; however, it's completely safe and beneficial. Learn more!
Masturbation During Pregnancy: What You Should Know
Elena Sanz Martín

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz Martín.

Last update: 15 January, 2023

Unfortunately, sexuality’s still a taboo subject for many women. A large percentage of them consider it inappropriate, shameful, or sinful to obtain sexual pleasure, especially if it’s not achieved with a partner and through penetration. This stigma increases considerably when we talk about pregnant women. Therefore, we want to explain everything you should know about masturbation during pregnancy.

Have you ever heard that sex or masturbation can harm your baby? Have you ever wondered if the changes in your body due to arousal or orgasm can harm the gestation process? Many of these myths prevent women and their partners from fully enjoying their sexuality during this stage. Therefore, before depriving yourself of such a natural and positive activity, let’s clear up some doubts.

Sexual desire doesn’t disappear with pregnancy

There’s a tendency to think that when a woman becomes a mother, she loses her own identity. Somehow, from the moment she discovers she’s pregnant, all her thoughts and actions are expected to revolve around the unborn child. From this perspective, there’s no room for sexual desire. However, the reality’s quite different.

Sexual interest and arousal don’t disappear during pregnancy. On the contrary, they may even increase. Especially after the first trimester, when the initial uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy subside, you may feel your libido increase.

However, as pregnancy progresses, sex can become uncomfortable and even painful. Increased belly size, backaches, or leg discomfort may prevent you from finding a position in which you’re comfortable having intercourse. And this is when masturbation can become your greatest ally.

A pregnant woman sitting in bed with her hands in the air.
Due to the increased blood flow to the female genitals during this period, you may experience a greater desire for sex.

Why masturbation during pregnancy is beneficial?

Masturbation during pregnancy can bring multiple benefits on a physical, emotional, and social level. Here’s a summary of the main benefits:

  • It allows the female sexual desire to be satisfied when intercourse is uncomfortable, painful, or contraindicated.
  • Due to the many changes and challenges faced during pregnancy, a woman may experience stressful states that are detrimental to her and the baby. Therefore, masturbation can help her obtain a state of relaxation and well-being that counteracts these effects.
  • It helps a woman to remain connected to her body during this time of physical change. Knowing, understanding, and accepting one’s own body is fundamental to avoiding self-esteem problems or self-rejection.
  • It allows partners to cultivate their intimacy even when intercourse isn’t possible. It offers them a moment of closeness, connection, and mutual delivery of pleasure that strengthens their bond.
  • It promotes dilation of the vagina, which can be beneficial for childbirth.

What should you keep in mind regarding masturbation during pregnancy?

As you can see, the benefits of masturbation during gestation are multiple. But if you’re still wondering whether it can be dangerous, rest assured: In a normal pregnancy, it doesn’t entail any risk, quite the contrary. There may be specific cases in which masturbation is contraindicated and the doctor advises against it because it’s a high-risk pregnancy or because there’s a threat of miscarriage. Otherwise, allow yourself to explore and enjoy.

There’s no position or practice especially indicated or discouraged for masturbation during pregnancy. You can perform this practice alone or with your partner and in the position that’s most comfortable for you. Oral sex can also provide you with many of the benefits mentioned above. Finally, if you’re wondering how this can influence your baby, you should know that it’s also positive for them.

A pregnant woman lying in bed looking relaxed.
The endorphins secreted during orgasm induce in the mother a state of relaxation and placidity that the fetus can perceive and from which it also benefits. It can even indirectly promote its growth and development.

Explore your body and improve your mood and health

In short, masturbating during pregnancy can help you improve your mood, your health, and your life as a couple. Therefore, it’s time to banish the myths and stigmas surrounding this natural activity so that you can allow yourself to fully enjoy this stage. If you still have certain hesitations in this regard, consult a sexologist or a perinatal psychologist for appropriate guidance.

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Does Pregnancy Sex Harm the Baby?
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Does Pregnancy Sex Harm the Baby?

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  • Piñero Navero S, Alarcos Merinio G, Arenas Orta MT, Jiménez Iglesas V, Ortega Ballesteros EM, Ramiro Figueroa MJ (2011). Características y modificaciones de la sexualidad durante el embarazo. NURE investigación: Revista Científica de enfermería, (50), 3.
  • Rodríguez León, M., & Ramón Arbués, E. (2013). Características y evolución del patrón sexual de la mujer embarazada. Enfermería global12(32), 362-370.

The contents of You Are Mom is for educational and informational purposes only. At no time do they replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. If in doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.