I'm Pregnant – Is Sex OK?

Since you’ve already made a baby, you may think you are well past “the talk.” But in fact, every newly expecting couple has to revisit the birds, bees and babies, getting answers to the question: “Is it safe for us to have sex while she’s pregnant?”

For most healthy pregnancies, the answer is yes. Your baby is protected by amniotic fluid and the mucus plug. You having sex will not hurt your baby, and can help build your relationship as you prepare for the big arrival. Talk to your health care provider first, though, since some women should not have sex during pregnancy, especially if they are high risk. 

The intimacy at the core of every healthy relationship is not just sexual; it is the closeness of quick listening, thoughtful action and a constant acceptance of each other.

When the Answer Might Be ‘No’

If you have any of these issues, your doctor may counsel you to not have sex while you're pregnant: 

When the Answer is ‘Probably, Yes’

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If you don’t have any of the issues on that list and have a healthy pregnancy, sex is most likely OK. This may make you sigh in relief, or it may bring up complicated emotions. Some women feel sexier while expecting, enjoying their new curves and freshly appreciating the wonder of what their bodies can do. On the other hand, a changing body may make you feel insecure, plus hormones can do a number on your sex drive. Your partner may also have a confusing mixture of emotions, with all the shifts happening.

No matter what, it’s essential to talk openly and honestly. Be intentional about keeping the lines of communication open. The intimacy at the core of every healthy relationship is not just sexual; it is the closeness of quick listening, thoughtful action and a constant acceptance of each other.

With that in mind, a few “mechanical” issues may arise with sex during pregnancy. You may find the following helpful:

  • Nausea, exhaustion, tender breasts and other physical discomforts mean that you’re going to have to be very open about your desire to have sex (or lack of desire). Your sex drive will also probably shift by trimester.
  • Change up positions. After the first trimester, the “missionary” isn’t a great option, since pregnant women aren’t supposed to lie on their backs. Try out new positions and learn what feels comfortable.
  • If you have oral sex, make sure your partner does not blow air into your vagina, as this can cause an air embolism, which can be very dangerous for you and your baby. Also, talk to your doctor if you want to engage in anal sex, since it can cause infection.
  • The increased blood flow to the pelvic region may make sex more enjoyable for you, or it may make it more uncomfortable. Be flexible and open to exploring what does feel good, even if it doesn’t look like traditional intercourse.
  • As always, bring your questions to your health care provider. And, make sure you call the doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if you have sex and begin experiencing heavy bleeding, fluid leaking, pain or contractions that do not stop. 
Small Steps: Friends and Family: Take Her Seriously
Listen without giving advice. Tell her she’s a good mom, that it’s not her fault, and that she will get better.