Having Sex during Your Pregnancy

By Joanne Stone, Keith Eddleman, Mary Duenwald

For most couples, having sex during pregnancy is perfectly safe. In fact, some couples find that sex during pregnancy is even better than before. However, you may have some issues to consider.

In the first half of pregnancy, sex usually can continue as before because your body hasn’t changed that noticeably. You may notice that your breasts are particularly sensitive to the touch, or even tender. Later, as the uterus grows, some sexual positions become more difficult. You and your partner may find that you have to be a little creative to make things work.

If you find that intercourse is too uncomfortable, other forms of sexual gratification may work better for you and your partner.

Many women ask us whether having sex at the end of pregnancy is okay, even if the cervix is a little bit dilated. Having sex then is perfectly fine as long as your membranes haven’t ruptured (your water hasn’t broken).

Avoid intercourse if you’re at a high risk for preterm labor (for example, you have been treated for preterm labor or have a cerclage in place) or if you have placenta previa in the third trimester, or have recent bleeding. Most practitioners suggest refraining from intercourse for two reasons:

  • Intercourse has the potential to introduce an infection into the uterus.

  • Semen contains substances that are known to make the uterus contract.

Another important aspect to consider is how each of you feels psychologically about having sex during pregnancy. Like some women, you may find that your libido or sex drive has increased. Often, you may find that you have vivid sexual dreams and that orgasm itself is heightened.

On the other hand, you may find that your interest in sex is less than it was before you got pregnant. You may feel less attractive because of the physical changes that have taken place, which is perfectly normal.

Your partner may also experience changes in his desire for sex because of the excitement and normal apprehension that go along with being a father, and due to (unfounded) fears that intercourse will hurt the baby or that the baby will somehow know what Mom and Dad are up to.