Dr Watt Wing Fong, obstetrician-gynaecologist at The Obstetrics and Gynaecology Centre a part of Singapore Medical Group gives For Life the low-down of do’s and don’t’s during pregnancy.
High stress levels make it harder to get pregnant
High stress levels certainly have an indirect negative impact. If a couple are both busy working professionals dealing with a lot of stress at work and putting in long hours they may simply not be in the mood or have the energy for sex when they get home. Very high levels of stress may also affect ovulation as can extreme physical stress such as severe dieting or prolonged excessive physical exercise.
Doing it when you feel frisky improves your chances of getting pregnant
There is some truth to this one. Nature does encourage women to feel frisky, caused by a peak in their oestrogen levels around the time of ovulation, when they are fertile and most likely to conceive. This can increase libido, heighten the sense of smell and even increase vaginal lubrication. However different things make different people frisky and more to the point at different times in their cycles so just feeling frisky might not make a difference if it is just because you just watched your favourite movie star in a romantic comedy and not because you were ovulating. But there’s no harm in trying.
Orgasms increase the chance of getting pregnant
A few studies and theories suggest some truth to this one. Some studies have shown that uterine contractions occurring just before or up to 45 minutes after the male ejaculates can pull the sperm up into the vaginal canal cervix thus increasing the chances of reaching an egg. There are also some theories that the oxytocin, sometimes called the cuddle hormone, released during an orgasm can help relax women and keep them in bed cuddling with their partner and obviously it is easier for the sperm to reach the egg if a woman is lying down and not standing up.
Pregnant women should not do engage in physical labour or exercise to avoid miscarriage
That depends on what the stage of gestation is and how heavy the work is. I recommend newly pregnant mums in their first trimester to avoid very heavy work or exercise while the body is still getting accustomed to being pregnant. But new mums shouldn’t turn into couch potatoes either, even in the first trimester mild intensity exercise is okay and by the second trimester moderate intensity exercise is fine although I would advise against high intensity or high impact workouts. By the third trimester it is usually more a case of what the expectant mum can manage, not many mums are likely to be thinking of exercise let alone the high intensity kind by then. But even in the third trimester we do recommend that expectant mums stay active. It helps with their weight control and lung function, while avoiding deep vein thrombosis. Having stayed fit and active will pay off when they go into labour.
Pregnant women should not have sex
There is no problem with having sex during pregnancy as long as the woman wants to but husbands should be understanding if their wives are feeling tired, bloated or just not in the mood. However, expectant mums need not worry about sex causing a miscarriage or bringing on labour, unless it is very near the due date of course.
About Dr Watt Wing Fong
A graduate from the National University of Singapore, Dr Watt Wing Fong obtained her postgraduate qualification from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (UK) in 1998, and completed her advanced specialty training in Kandang Kerbau Hospital (KKH) in Singapore. She won the Young Investigator Award at the Kandang Kerbau Women’s and Children’s Hospital Annual Scientific Meeting in 1999, and received the Specialist Accreditation with the Ministry of Health Singapore and Singapore Medical Council in 2002.
Dr Watt’s area of practice includes general obstetrics and gynaecology, with a special interest in medical disorders in pregnancy and peripartum management. She was previously a clinical tutor for the National University of Singapore, and has been a trainer for the MRCOG courses.