Let's talk about sex baby. Why not? After all, it is almost Valentine's Day!
In pregnancy, sex is a great tool for preparation of labor and birth. Regular intercourse is helpful because:
It Boosts Your Immune SystemIf you have a highly active sex life with your partner, you are even less likely to have many 'outbreaks' of GBS, as semen contains anti-biotical properties that very effectively kills GBS. So, if you want to reduce your chances of being GBS positive, have lots of sex.
It Helps You To Sleep
Any pregnant woman can tell you that pregnancy, especially late pregnancy, can oftentimes impede a restful nights sleep. Intercourse helps you to sleep in a number of ways. First, it shakes things up. If you achieve orgasm, your body functions optimally, meaning your bladder will flush more efficiently, and you will, ideally, be able to sleep a longer period between bathroom runs. In addition, the strenuousness of the activity itself can help tire you out, and the post-coitus release of oxytocin synergizes with any melatonin present - allowing for a blissful sleep period.
It Reduces Stress Levels
Studies have shown that daily orgasm led to cell growth in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that keeps stress levels under control. In another study, people who had daily intercourse for two weeks showed lower stress-related blood pressure.. Additionally, that lovely oxytocin hormone triggers compassionate feelings, negating aggressive, stressful feelings.
It Prepares Your PerineumSquats and intercourse encourage good circulation and elasticity of the perineal tissues. Squatting is natures way of keeping our bottoms healthy and sex encourages relaxed perineal tissue with good tone. Squatting during sex? Awesomeness! Additionally, completely letting your legs go (open) will encourage elasticity of the perineum, allowing your bottom to breath in ways that 'everyday living' doesn't allow for.
It Prepares Your Pelvis and CervixHow healthy a lifestyle mom lives and how well she has treated her PC muscle (sex, squats and Kegels) has great bearing on her ability to have a more controlled pushing stage, a well flexed baby's head, and less chance of tearing. Women who have sex throughout pregnancy have well oxygenated, more toned and conditioned PC muscles, as well as have good control of this muscle. A toned and controllable PC muscle means that babies head is more likely to be well flexed, allowing the smallest part of the baby's head to emerge from the vaginal opening first, gently stretching mom's perineum for less chances of tearing. In addition, squats will ensure that the PC muscle remains a long, sinewy muscle, keeping it elastic and not bulky and rigid. A woman should, during pregnancy, make sure that she is taking care of her PC muscle, making sure it is not only toned, but also stretchy.
The prostaglandins in a man's semen help to soften and ripen the cervix, which allows for the cervix to be more prepped and ready for dilation, whenever it starts to occur.
It Keeps You in a State of Intimacy
It also liberates you to stay in a state of intimacy - being able to be noisy in sex oftentimes will liberate you to having better orgasm. Being able to be noisy in labor and birth? Well, we'll touch on that in a moment.
Likewise, remaining in a state of intimacy keeps our bodies used to embracing the hormones of love making, which allows us to more readily embrace them, and practice the actions and motions that help produce them, during labor and birth:
Labor and Birth
Labor and Birth
We are sexual beings. Created to be sexual beings, we are intrinsically sexual. I am not talking about the act of intercourse, though that has its place, I am talking about relating to the nature of our sex (female) in our daily life - and the natural occurances that accompany that. So, how can we help but have sexual birth?
"Giving birth in ecstasy: This is our birthright and our body’s intent. Mother Nature, in her wisdom, prescribes birthing hormones that take us outside (ec) our usual state (stasis), so that we can be transformed on every level as we enter motherhood"... "Four major hormonal systems are active during labor and birth. These involve oxytocin, the hormone of love; endorphins, hormones of pleasure and transcendence; adrenalaline and noradrenaline
(epinephrine and norepinephrine), hormones of excitement; and prolactin, the mothering hormone. These systems are common to all mammals and originate deep in our mammalian or middle brain." -
"The clitoris and vagina embracing the penis during intercourse as seen facing toward the woman. The outer layers of skin, fat, and muscle have been dissected away, and the penis is shown in simplified cross-section for position only. Atop the pea-shaped clitoral glans, normally the only part visible outside the body, you can see the ascending portion of the clitoral shaft. Upon reaching its apex (which Dickinson calls "the clitoral knee"), the shaft bends downward and divides into the two "legs" or crura which encircle the vaginal opening." Drawing by Robert Latou Dickinson, in "Human Sex Anatomy," 1949.
This is important information girls! Because the opening of the cervix, the descent of baby, and the stretching of the perineum are all very sensual and sexual things (sensual - full of the senses, sexual - occurring to the sexual organs).
Hopefully you have been sexually active in pregnancy and will be able to reap the benefits of the preparation it offers the body, mind, and emotions. And so, once you are in labor, you can harness those benefits.
Your pelvic floor will be toned and you will be in tune with your pelvic basin. Your perineum will be sinewy and relaxed. Your cervix will be encouraged and soft, and your immune system will be prepped. Your stress levels will be low and you will be ready to embrace the hormones of labor because you will be accustomed to them.
Remember those noises from making love? Make them now! It will liberate you to have a looser perineum and cervix - resulting in an easier labor and more relaxed mama. And your partner? They should remember to use quiet, gentle, low tones as well.. you wouldn't want anyone talking loudly or cracking jokes on your way to orgasm now, would you? Likewise, it is not helpful in the birthing room.
Remember how you like to be touched in love-making? Do it now! Kissing, light effleurage, nipple stimulation, skin-to-skin contact, light hair pulling.. those all produce oxytocin, which helps with the production of endorphins, which can help block the perception of discomfort and pain. Keep in mind those hormones we discussed earlier.
Tap into the intimate, sensual birthing environment - low lights, quiet words, soft music, warm blanket... these things will help the hormones of love-making and birth be more readily accessible. It will also provide an environment that you can relax in and benefit from - reducing the feeling of 'being watched' or in an unfamiliar place (if you have chosen a birth center or hospital birth).
You know those nice open-legged positions that helped get baby in? Use them again to get baby out! All-fours, leaning forward against a wall or other piece of furniture, straddling a chair, ball, or toilet (or partner, if you feel so inclined), squatting... those are all great positions that encourage baby to descend. Also, remember those hip and pelvic movements? Yup, do those too. Push, roll, move, gyrate, and thrust your pelvis around. This will encourage baby to go low, low, low, and your cervix to open, open, open.
Self love is a great tool for later in labor and birthing. Touch your perineum as baby begins to come close to crowning. Press against your rectum, or ask a birth team member to, if the pressure of baby's descent is getting to great. Placing a hand, palm, or fingers against your labia and clitoris can help you control pushing better, minimize overwhelming sensations during pushing (including any discomfort), and help your perineum stretch gently to accommodate babies head.
So there you have it. This Valentine's Day, think on all the ways that you can love your body and your baby (and your partner) in preparation for labor and birth!