A Dad’s Guide to Common Myths and Concerns about Sex and Pregnancy

By Mathew Miller, Sharon Perkins

Let’s just get the myths out of the way for you new dads right now: Your penis isn’t long enough to hit or poke the baby during sex. The baby can’t see your penis when you’re having sex, and she isn’t afraid of your penis during sex. Your semen won’t get all over the baby upon completion of sex.

Sex is perfectly healthy during pregnancy. Your baby is protected by an amniotic sac and the cervix, which is sealed tightly by a thick mucus plug, which keeps out foreign and unwanted intruders. In a few instances, however, sex during pregnancy isn’t recommended. Talk with your partner’s doctor or midwife prior to having sex if your partner has dealt with any of the following issues:

  • Bleeding: Sometimes vaginal bleeding ranging from normal to potentially life-threatening can occur during the early months of pregnancy. Sex can cause the cervix to bleed, which can be alarming if you’re already worried about bleeding.

  • Leaking amniotic fluid: Any time amniotic fluid is leaking, the sterile barrier between the baby and the outside world is broken, and infection can enter into the uterus and infect the baby. No sex after her water breaks!

  • Miscarriage: If your partner has ever had one or if a medical professional has said that she is at risk for having one, check before having sex.

  • Multiple pregnancy: Because multiples often deliver early, you need to avoid anything that can upset the delicate balance between no children and two — or more — children, sex included. Semen contains substances that may bring on labor if the tendency for preterm delivery exists. Besides, your partner probably has enough going on in there already.

  • Placenta previa: With the placenta close to or overlying the cervix in placenta previa, having sex can cause life-threatening bleeding.

  • Preterm labor: If your partner gave birth to a previous child prematurely, get clearance to make sure having sex is safe.

  • Weakened cervix: Sometimes called an incompetent cervix, this condition can lead to the cervix dilating before the baby is full term, which can lead to miscarriage. A stitch is often placed into the cervix to keep it closed. Sex can cause uterine contractions that disrupt the stitch.

A female orgasm during low-risk pregnancy won’t cause your partner to go into labor prematurely. Contractions of the uterus associated with sex aren’t the same as those experienced during labor (and your partner is very thankful for this!). However, orgasm achieved by any method can start contractions that can lead to preterm labor in high-risk pregnancy, so put the vibrator away for the duration as well.

Some medical practitioners recommend avoiding sex during the final weeks of pregnancy because of the prostaglandins in semen, which are hormones that can stimulate contractions. On the flip side, if your partner is overdue, you may get a “prescription” for sex to jump-start the contractions.