Pregnancy and Sex

ExitCare ImageYour sex life may change during pregnancy as well as after your newborn arrives. It is normal to have questions about sex during pregnancy. All women are affected differently by pregnancy hormones. You may notice an increase or decrease in your sexual drive throughout your pregnancy. Also, your partner's attitude and sexual drive may change.

WHEN IS IT SAFE TO HAVE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE DURING PREGNANCY?

Sexual intercourse is generally considered safe for a normal low-risk pregnancy. Remember:

  • The fetus is protected by the uterus and the fluid-filled sac that surrounds the fetus (amniotic sac).

  • The cervix is closed or sealed during pregnancy.

  • The penis does not reach or harm the fetus during sex.

  • Sex and orgasms are not thought to cause miscarriages or early labor.

  • If you use lubricants, use a water-soluble product.

WHAT RISK FACTORS MAKE IT UNSAFE TO HAVE SEX WHILE PREGNANT?

Some complications or risk factors may limit sexual activity such as:

  • You have a history of miscarriage or preterm labor.

  • You have bleeding, discharge, fluid leakage, or contractions.

  • Your placenta may be partially covering or completely covering the opening to the cervix (placenta previa).

  • Your cervix is weak and opens easily (incompetent cervix).

  • Your partner has a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Avoid sex with the infected person or use a condom to prevent infection to the fetus.

  • Avoid sex or use condoms if you are unsure of your partner's sexual history.

  • You are having twins, triples, or other multiples.

Your caregiver will help you to make the decision whether sex during your pregnancy is safe or not.

WHAT PRACTICES ARE UNSAFE?

  • If you engage in oral sex, you should avoid having your partner blow air into your vagina. This can send a dangerous air bubble into your bloodstream.

  • Anal sex is not recommended while pregnant. It can spread bacteria from the rectum and aggravate hemorrhoids.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Share this information with your partner. Talk openly about how you feel about sex.

  • Follow up with your caregiver as directed for regular prenatal appointments.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

You experience symptoms such as pain, contractions, bleeding, or discharge.