Relax, it is (almost always) ok to enjoy sex during pregnancy
It is safe* for the baby! (*there are very few exceptions)
Sex during pregnancy, like sex at any time, should be enjoyable. Tiredness, nausea and vomiting, emotional highs and lows, breast tenderness and baby getting bigger create unique challenges. There is no getting around it, you will need to make some adjustments!
Anxiety about hurting baby or putting the pregnancy at risk is a common barrier in couples I talk to, but there are very few reasons why sex during pregnancy would NOT be ok from a medical point of view.
The reasons why sex might not be ok include:
bleeding from the vagina during pregnancy when we don’t know why this is happening
while it’s hard to know for sure, it is thought best not to have sex for a week after a threatened miscarriage
if you have a short cervix (your midwife or doctor would advise you about this if it is found at your 18-20 week scan)
if you have a stitch in your cervix (cerclage) as a precaution to reduce the risk of a late miscarriage or premature baby
a low-lying placenta (your midwife or doctor would be able to advise you about this, which is checked for at the 18-20 week scan)
if your waters have broken
There are other points to consider
Do you (both) feel comfortable? Not just physically, but are you emotionally comfortable?
Some people find their sex drive is super charged during pregnancy, some find it is super low and others find it changes during the pregnancy
Sex should always be something you both agree to
Sex doesn’t have to be penis-in-vagina/penetrative sex. Other forms of physical affection, such as massage, cuddling or creative intimacy may be more suitable
As baby gets larger, you may need to change your usual position/s or activity
Some women do report a painful tightening of their uterus with orgasm, similar to a Braxton Hicks contraction. If this happens to you, stay calm, relax, it will pass
There are some reports that a chemical in semen may trigger labour. I have to say, I’ve known lots of women with overdue babies who tried sex for that reason and it didn’t help!
Do prepare for major changes to your sex life after baby is born. Physical, hormonal and emotional changes, along with exhaustion, all take their toll on the sex drive
Did having sex harm baby, cause my miscarriage or trigger the premature birth of my baby? No!*
Having sex is not known to harm babies, cause miscarriages or lead to premature babies in a normal, low risk pregnancy
Some couples worry that sex will hurt their baby. For contact to occur, the penis would have to get through the cervix before reaching baby inside the uterus. This would not happen unless the cervix is dilated and baby’s head is coming into the vagina. This happens during labour and is not the time most couples are having sex….
Sex during labour is not recommended
Please know that baby is really well protected by the thick, muscular wall of the uterus and the fluid that surrounds baby which is enclosed in the amniotic sac, or membranes
As mentioned above, sex can be risky in the following circumstances:
*If you are bleeding
*If you have a short cervix or a stitch (cerclage)—you should take the advice of your midwife or doctor but usually sex, even orgasm via masturbation, is not recommended. Ditto for a very low lying placenta
*If your membranes have ruptured/your waters have broken, sex is not recommended
This is not individual medical advice, this is general information only. If you have a specific question or a particular circumstance, please discuss it with your midwife or doctor.