Is Sex Safe During Pregnancy?
Sex during pregnancy is safe and fun—and bonus: you can’t even get pregnant!
For most people, with a normal pregnancy, all the things you like to do in the bedroom are just fine while you’re carrying a baby. If you have complications or questions about sex during your pregnancy, ask your provider.
Does Pregnancy Affect My Libido?
Libido (sex drive) is strongly influenced by hormones, which are all different during pregnancy. You may find that you are more (or less) interested than you normally are.
Your sexual desire also changes with your level of physical comfort, fatigue and anxiety. If you’re experiencing nausea, back pain, sore breasts, or fatigue, it may put a damper on your usual fun. If this bothers you, talk to your provider about your options.
Since you have greater blood volume during pregnancy, increased blood flow to your pelvic area is stronger. This may help you to orgasm more easily or more than once.
Can Sex Hurt the Baby?
No. Your baby is sealed in an amniotic sac inside the uterus with her bag of amniotic fluid. Your cervix protects the uterine environment from the things on the outside.
The uterus itself is a strong muscle that enfolds your baby’s world. Your sexual activity will not bother or harm her.
Can Sex Cause Miscarriage?
Most miscarriages happen because the baby is not developing normally. Sex does not change how the baby develops.
Is it Safe to Have Sex During the First Trimester?
Yes! You may not want to because of morning sickness. Or the changing hormones may make you feel more sexy! Either way, listen to your body and be patient with yourself.
Is it Safe to Have Sex During the Third Trimester?
Yes! You may feel more tired or just less interested because you are focusing on the baby. You may feel big and uncomfortable from pregnancy weight gain. If you don’t want to have pregnancy sex, that’s OK! If you do, that’s great, too.
Should I Use a Condom?
If you’re in a monogamous (both of you!) relationship, you don’t need a condom.
If you have sex with a new person or are unsure about your partner’s status, use a condom. You can still get sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) when you’re pregnant and they are more risky for you and the baby during this time.
Avoid all sexual contact if your partner has an active or new sexually transmitted disease
Are There Benefits of Sex During Pregnancy?
Everyone pregnant woman deserves to feel awesome. Sex during pregnancy helps keep your blood flowing and your hormones happy. Having a healthy sex life is a great way to connect with your partner as you prepare to welcome a new addition.
What Should We Avoid When Having Sex During Pregnancy?
Certain sex positions such as deep penetration or toys that bother the cervix should be avoided as they may cause swelling, pregnancy harm or impede the cervix’s preparation for labor.
Avoid any position that is uncomfortable for you or constricts your belly.
When is it NOT OK to Have Sex While Pregnant?
Pregnant Women Should Abstain from Sexual Intercourse if They Have Any of the Following:
- Placenta previa
- Preterm labor
- Rupture of the membranes
- Your water is broken
- You’ve lost your mucus plug
- Your partner has an active or new STI
Talk to Your Health Care Provider if You Have Any of the Following Risk Factors:
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Your cervix is opening prematurely (cervical incompetence)
- Your placenta covers the cervix (placenta previa)
- You have a history of premature labor
- You’re carrying multiples
- A high risk pregnancy
Which Sex Positions are Best?
You may find that certain sexual positions that worked well for you before or in early pregnancy are uncomfortable later on in pregnancy. For example, after the fourth month of pregnancy, the missionary position (lying on your back) puts pressure on major blood vessels because of the weight of your growing baby.
You may want to try out different sexual positions such as laying sideways with your partner behind you (spooning) or woman on top which allows you to control the speed during sex. As your pregnancy progresses, you may find the best sexual positions in the 1st or 2nd trimester become uncomfortable as you enter the 3rd Trimester. Listen to your body and try out different positions until you are comfortable.
Is Oral Sex Ok?
Yes. Avoid blowing air in the vagina. Do not give oral sex to a partner with an active or recently diagnosed STI.
Is Rough Sex Ok?
Everyone’s idea of rough sex is different, but in general if you’re comfortable, it’s OK.
If rough sex during pregnancy hurts the vagina or abdomen, it’s too much. If you bleed during or after, don’t do it!
Anything that prevents oxygen from getting to you (and therefore the baby) is off-limits. Avoid anything tight that restricts blood flow to your abdomen or prevents you from being able to breathe normally.
What if it Hurts After Sex?
Talk to your health care provider. Take care of yourself first. Some women find that their vagina feels crampy or full afterwards. This may point to vaginal varicosities, which are uncomfortable but not dangerous. If you have pelvic discomfort during sex, consider seeing a physical therapist who specializes in the pelvic floor after your baby is born.
Can Sex Start Labor?
Sexual stimulation can give you contractions. If you do a lot of nipple stimulation, the oxytocin released this way can bring on contractions. The same is true of orgasm. Contractions can result anytime you bring the oxytocin in a big way, but only if your uterus is getting ready to have a baby anyway.
If the contractions are welcome (and you’re 37 weeks or more along), go at it. Semen can also help soften your cervix! “What got the baby in gets the baby out”. Do not have sex (or put anything in the vagina) if your water is broken. If it’s too early or you don’t want to have contractions, ease off the fun stuff.
Disclaimer: Pregnancy by Design’s information is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always ask your healthcare provider about any health concerns you may have.
March of Dimes (2015). Sex during pregnancy. Retrieved from https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/sex-during-pregnancy.aspx
Mayo Clinic (2018). Sex during pregnancy: what’s ok, what’s not. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/sex-during-pregnancy/art-20045318
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