If you ever needed an excuse to have more sex – this is it! Here are 4 fascinating ways that intercourse can impact a woman’s immune system and help ensure a healthy pregnancy.
It seems that all the sex you have before you become pregnant, actually has a really important role in your pregnancy.
1. Sperm sends messages to your vagina. Really.
University of Adelaide Professor Sarah Robertson has penned an amazing article on how having sex is a way for our bodies to talk to each other at a biological level.
She says there’s a common view that the sperm that isn’t used to create a pregnancy is pretty much a by-product and not needed.
“However, biologists now believe sexual intercourse is not just a sperm delivery process, but also a kind of biological communication,” Professor Robertson explains. She says even if the sperm doesn’t result in conception, it triggers changes in a woman’s immune system.
Why does this matter? Because it may impact a woman’s future pregnancies. Without getting too technical, repeated sex with the same man may increase a woman’s chances of having a baby.
“The immune system of a woman responds to her partner’s seminal fluid to progressively build the chances of creating a healthy pregnancy over at least several months of regular sex,” Professor Roberston said.
2. More sex, healthier pregnancy
Professor Robertson says preeclampsia is more common when the mum has had limited sexual contact with the dad before she conceives. And it seems it’s not the amount of times they’ve had sex, but over what period of time.
“No relationship is observed between frequency of sexual activity during pregnancy and risk for preeclampsia, so it’s the duration of exposure before conception that counts most.
“Setting up a profile of immune tolerance that supports healthy pregnancy seems to be specific to the conceiving partner. Women who change partners return to a baseline state, and must rebuild immune tolerance with the new partner.”
Professor Robertson says that women who use barrier methods of contraception like condoms, and get pregnant not long after they stop using contraception also have an increased risk of preeclampsia.
3. Having sex during IVF can boost your pregnancy chances
Research has found that fertility improves for couples who have sex in the period that an embryo is transferred to the uterus.
“A study of Australian and Spanish couples showed intercourse in the days just before or just after embryo transfer boosted pregnancy rates by 50 per cent.
“These studies focused on the early stages of pregnancy, with further research required to assess whether sexual intercourse influences rates of full term pregnancy after assisted reproduction,” Professor Robertson explains.
4. Our bodies know what’s good for us!
It really is incredible that a woman’s body seems to know how to create the healthiest pregnancy possible. Professor Robertson explains that our immune system acts like a gatekeeper, only allowing for the very ‘best’ semen to get us pregnant!
“One theory is that females have evolved the ability to sense and respond to the signals in seminal fluid, in order to discern the quality or ‘fitness’ of the male partner’s genetics.
“Also, since male smoking, being overweight and other factors may shape how a woman responds to intercourse in a biological sense, it helps explain why dad’s health is just as important as that of the mother in preparing for pregnancy.”
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