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SEX EDUCATION DURING PREGNANCY

What changes are expected with sexual activity during pregnancy?

Sexual practices may not have to change during pregnancy. However, because of the different changes that occur in your body, you may want to make some changes to make things more comfortable. Here is some information to consider when thinking about sex during pregnancy:

* Exhaustion, hormonal fluctuations, tender breasts and self-consciousness about weight gain can bring your sex drive to a halt. Sometimes you may need rest to regain energy - give yourself a break.
* The common missionary position may become uncomfortable and warrant considering other positions such as side by side or with you on top.
* As your breasts increase in size, they may become more tender or sore. Encourage your partner to explore other parts of your body and to find other ways to caress you. With the changes in your breast it is best to avoid direct nipple stimulation.
* There is increased blood flow to the pelvic area that can lead to engorgement of the genitals and heighten the sensation; however, for some women this can be more uncomfortable.


Unless your health care provider tells you otherwise, you and your partner should be able to enjoy sex during your pregnancy. Pay attention to your body and make adjustments so that you can enjoy the experience to the fullest.
Sex Education
The subject of sex education remains a divisive one. On one side are those who argue that Americans should learn to accept adolescent sexuality and make guidance and birth control more easily available, as it is in parts of Europe. On the other side are those who contend that sex education is up to the parents, not the state, and that teaching children about birth control is tantamount to condoning promiscuity, or violating family religious beliefs and values.
Sex Education in The Schools
"Eight out of 10 Americans believe that sex education should be taught in schools, and seven out of 10 believe that such courses should include information about contraception" (Teenage Pregnancy, 1981, p. 38). Only a handful of states require or even encourage sex education, and fewer still encourage teaching about birth control or abortion. Most states leave the question of sex education up to the local school boards. Only a minority, however, provide such instruction.
Parents and Sex Education
Parents are a child's earliest models of sexuality; they communicate with their children about sex and sexual values nonverbally. However, most adolescents report that they have never been given any advice about sex by either parent, even though a majority of teenagers prefer their parents and counselors as sources of sex information.
Studies indicate that both parents and their children believe that they should be talking about sexuality, but that parents are extremely uncomfortable doing so (Sexuality Education, 1984). Organizations, including churches, schools, Planned Parenthood affiliates, and other agencies serving young people, offer programs designed to help parents teach their children about sexuality. Most would agree that sex education should start early, before a child's sexuality becomes an issue.
Family Planning Services
Most teenagers and adults approve of making contraceptives available to teenagers, and most parents favor family planning clinics providing birth control services to their children (Teenage Pregnancy, 1981). The clinics have had the expected result of improving the quality and consistency of contraceptive use among teenagers. They have also been credited with preventing an estimated 689,000 unintended births, and probably a higher number of abortions, among teenagers.
However, most teenagers are sexually active for many months before ever seeking birth control help from a family planning clinic or physician (Teenage Pregnancy, 1981). Very few come to a clinic in anticipation of initiating sexual intercourse, and many come because they fear--often correctly--that they are pregnant. The major reason teenagers give for the delay is concern that their parents will find out about the visit. Nevertheless, more than half of teenage patients have told their parents about their clinic visit, and only about one-quarter would not come if the clinic required parental notification. But most of these would continue to be sexually active, using less effective methods or no contraceptives and many thousands would get pregnant as a result.

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