Sex during pregnancy
In this article:
- Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?
- Can having sex while pregnant harm the baby?
- Are there any times when it is not safe to have sex during pregnancy?
- Do orgasms affect the baby?
- Can sex cause early miscarriage?
- Can sex induce labour?
- Will my libido/sex drive change during pregnancy?
- Does sex feel different during pregnancy?
- What are the best positions for sex during pregnancy?
- Are sex toys safe during pregnancy?
- STIs and sex during pregnancy
Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?
The simple answer to this question is: yes. Unless your doctor or midwife has advised you not to (see below) then it is safe to have sex while pregnant. This applies throughout pregnancy, in the first, second and third trimesters.
Can having sex while pregnant harm the baby?
No. Having sex while pregnant does not harm your baby. The penis penetrates the vagina, and the cervix (entrance to the womb from the vagina) is sealed by a mucous plug. The baby is inside the amniotic sac, inside the uterus (womb). Your baby is therefore safe during sex and the baby cannot tell what is happening.
Are there any times when it is not safe to have sex during pregnancy?
There is no specific time or trimester when it is not safe to have sex during pregnancy. It is safe to have sex in the first trimester of pregnancy, as well as throughout the second and third trimesters.
However, there are some circumstances under which your doctor or midwife might advise you to avoid sex.
- If you have experienced heavy bleeding in the pregnancy, you might be advised to avoid sex as it can increase the risk of further bleeding if your placenta is low, or if there’s a collection of blood (haematoma). This is due to the impact of sex upon the placenta or the collection of blood, causing further bleeding.
- If your waters have broken, you should avoid sex as it can increase the risk of infection.
- If there are any issues with your cervix (the entrance to your womb) then you might be advised to avoid sex if there are concerns about you going into early labour or having a miscarriage. Likewise, if you have had previous early labours you might be advised to avoid sex.
If you are concerned that one of these applies to you, or you have any other questions, then ask your midwife or doctor for advice.
Do orgasms affect the baby?
Experiencing an orgasm while pregnant is safe for the baby. It is safe to have an orgasm in the third trimester of pregnancy, however, orgasms in late pregnancy can trigger mild contractions, known as Braxton Hicks. These may be uncomfortable but will not harm you or your baby.
Can sex cause early miscarriage?
Sex does not cause early miscarriage in a normal pregnancy. Most early miscarriages are due to the fetus not developing normally and are not related to sexual intercourse.
Can sex induce labour?
Sex does not cause early labour in a normal pregnancy.
There is no evidence that sex induces labour at term. It is often suggested that sex can be used as a natural method of inducing labour at term. This is possibly because semen contains prostaglandin, a substance which can ripen the cervix. There is currently insufficient evidence to support this claim.
Will my libido/sex drive change during pregnancy?
It is normal to experience changes in your libido or sex drive during pregnancy. Some people find their sex drive increases whereas others find the opposite. Both an increase and decrease in libido are normal responses to the physical, emotional and hormonal changes of pregnancy.
Likewise, some partners have reduced libido during pregnancy or are concerned about the effects of sex on the baby.
It is helpful to communicate with your partner about your feelings so that you can maintain your intimacy and relationship.
Does sex feel different during pregnancy?
Some people find that sex feels different during pregnancy, others don’t.
The hormonal changes of pregnancy can lead to vaginal dryness. If this is the case, using a lubricant may help sex feel more comfortable.
Orgasms can feel more intense during pregnancy. They can also be accompanied by muscle cramps and Braxton-Hicks contractions. These are nothing to worry about but they can be uncomfortable.
What are the best positions for sex during pregnancy?
You might find that the missionary position becomes uncomfortable because of your bump, breast tenderness or deep penetration. You may therefore need to experiment with other positions. Remember that it is also important to avoid lying on your back later in pregnancy.
Some positions to try:
- You on top. This lets you control the depth of penetration.
- Spooning or side by side.
- Standing up.
Are sex toys safe during pregnancy?
Sex toys are safe during pregnancy. Ensure they are clean to reduce the risk of infection.
STIs and sex during pregnancy
You can contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI) during pregnancy so if you or your partner are having sex with other people it is very important to use condoms to prevent this.
If you think you might have an STI during pregnancy it is important to get checked by your GP, midwife, or local GUM clinic as soon as possible as these infections can be dangerous to you and the baby.
Important – If you or your child are unwell you should seek medical advice from a professional – contact your GP or visit an A&E department in an emergency. While My BabyManual strives to provide dependable and trusted information on pregnancy and childcare 24/7 via our website pages, we cannot provide individual answers to specific healthcare questions.