Having Sex While Pregnant

Sex during pregnancy can be enjoyable, if a little awkward or uncomfortable as your belly grows. But is it safe? Here's what you need to know.

Sex during pregnancy

Bumping the baby

Despite what your hubby may think, there's no risk of his penis coming into contact with your baby during sex. Your cervix is sealed with a thick mucus plug, and the baby is inside the amniotic sac surrounded by fluid. In a normal, low-risk pregnancy, intercourse and orgasm will not cause you to go into labor, damage the fetus or cause a miscarriage.

Changing positions

Pregnant women shouldn't spend much time on their backs and often find the missionary position uncomfortable (or impossible) during pregnancy. Consider some different sexual positions that may be more comfortable and enjoyable — for example, on your hands and knees (doggy style), on top or even on your side.

Sexual positions during pregnancy >>

Do you want it?

Though sex is safe during a normal pregnancy, many women find their sexual desire waning. Some women are uncomfortable with their changing bodies and just don't feel sexy. Others are bothered with fatigue, nausea and other symptoms that make sex seem tiresome and unappealing. On the other hand, some women — particularly in the second trimester onward — experience an increase in their desire for sex. Whatever you're feeling, talk openly and honestly with your partner about what you want and need.

High-risk pregnancy

If your pregnancy is considered high-risk, talk to your doctor about whether you should have sex. It's not safe to have sex if you are in preterm labor, have placenta previa (when the placenta grows low and blocks the opening to the cervix) or if your doctor has put in a surgical stitch to keep your cervix closed. If you have unexplained vaginal bleeding or cramping, or leakage of amniotic fluid, your ob/gyn is likely to advise against sex.

Placenta previa and how it affects your pregnancy >>

Other concerns

You should not have sex during pregnancy with a partner whose sexual history is unknown to you or who may have HIV, herpes or other STDs. These diseases can be transmitted to your baby.

If you have a history of miscarriage, have an incompetent cervix or are expecting multiples, you should also consult with your health provider about the risks of having sex.

When engaging in oral sex, your partner should never blow air into your vagina. This could cause an air embolism — when an air bubble blocks a blood vessel — that can be fatal for both mother and baby.

More pregnancy safety tips

Love it or leave it? Sex during pregnancy
Air travel during pregnancy
Drinking alcohol while pregnant

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