Sex During Pregnancy Safety and Tips

Sex During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting time for expectant parents, but it also brings many physical and emotional changes. One common concern for couples is whether it is safe to have sex during pregnancy, and if so, how to make sure it is comfortable and enjoyable.

In this blog post, we will provide you an overview of the safety considerations around sex during pregnancy, as well as tips for making intimacy work for both partners.

Is Sex During Pregnancy Safe?

For most healthy pregnancies, sex is considered completely safe throughout all trimesters. Very few positions are off-limits, except possibly in late pregnancy when the woman’s balance may be affected. Unless the doctor advises otherwise for health reasons, couples can enjoy intimacy up until the water breaks.

Some key points about the safety of sex during pregnancy:

  • The baby is protected by the amniotic fluid and strong muscles of the uterus. The amniotic sac and muscular walls of the uterus protect the developing baby from any pressure or movement during intercourse. The thick mucus plug at the cervix also seals off the uterus from the vagina, so the baby cannot be harmed by the in-and-out motions of sex.
  • For low-risk pregnancies, there is no danger of sex-triggering preterm labor. Natural contractions of orgasm do not impact the uterine muscles in the same way as true labor contractions. While intercourse may cause mild uterine cramping afterward, studies have found no link between sex and increased risk of preterm labor or early delivery. However, women at risk for preterm birth should consult their doctor.
  • No need to worry about penetration depth. The baby is cushioned in the amniotic fluid and cannot be poked or prodded by a penis or sex toy. The cervix also moves higher as the uterus expands, so penetration occurs nowhere near the baby’s location. The depth of thrusting makes no difference to the baby’s safety.
  • Orgasm and seminal fluid are safe for the developing baby. Some couples worry that climax and semen could harm the baby, but medical research confirms it is totally fine. The uterus provides a barrier, and a baby in the third trimester can even swallow small amounts of semen with no adverse effects. Women can enjoy orgasms during pregnancy without concern.

pregnancy sex

Potential Risk Factors

While sex is generally safe in pregnancy, doctors may advise avoiding intercourse in some higher-risk situations, such as:

  • History of preterm labor. For women who have previously had a premature birth or late miscarriage, there is an increased risk that sex could trigger early uterine contractions. These women are often advised to abstain from sex in subsequent pregnancies.
  • Placenta previa (low-lying placenta). If the placenta partially or completely covers the cervix, penetration could cause spotting and bleeding from disrupting the placenta. Sex is usually prohibited if placenta previa is diagnosed.
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding. Any sudden bleeding in pregnancy warrants immediate attention. Until the cause is found, doctors typically recommend avoiding sexual activity that could worsen bleeding.
  • Ruptured membranes. When the amniotic sac breaks prematurely, there is a high risk of infection reaching the uterus through the vagina. Sex is not safe when membranes have ruptured.
  • Incompetent cervix. For a weakened cervix that dilates too early, penetration could cause further premature opening. Sex may be restricted based on the cervical exam.

If any complications arise during the pregnancy, couples should have an open discussion with their healthcare provider about any recommended limitations on sexual positions or activities.

While abstinence may be advised in high-risk pregnancies, couples can still stay emotionally and physically connected through other intimate activities.

Tips for Comfort and Enjoyment

As a woman’s body changes during pregnancy, some adjustments may be needed to remain comfortable and satisfy both partners:

  • Use lubricant to ease vaginal dryness. Hormonal fluctuations can cause increased dryness in the vaginal tissues. Water-based lubricants are recommended to make intercourse more comfortable.
  • Try new positions as the belly grows. As the pregnant belly expands, finding a comfortable position for both partners may require some creativity. Woman-on-top and side-by-side positions often work well during late pregnancy by avoiding pressure on the abdomen.
  • Take it slow and find new erogenous zones as breasts and genitals become more sensitive. Increased blood flow during pregnancy makes many women’s breasts and genitals extra sensitive or even sore when touched. Taking things slow and focusing stimulation on areas like the back, shoulders, or neck may be more comfortable.
  • Keep communication open about changing desires and comfort levels. It’s normal for a woman’s libido to fluctuate during pregnancy. Partners should communicate openly about their changing sexual needs and any discomfort during intimacy.
  • Engage in sensual massage, kissing, and manual stimulation if intercourse is not possible. During times when sex is off the table, staying intimate through touching, massage and oral stimulation can help partners feel connected.
  • Understand it’s normal for desire to fluctuate with hormonal shifts and fatigue. Between morning sickness, sleep issues, and fatigue, a woman may not always feel up for sex. Patience and openness to her changing needs are key.
  • Continue intimacy like cuddling and saying “I love you” when sex is not possible. Even when sexual intercourse is restricted or not desired, partners can stay close through affectionate touch, kissing, and verbal expressions of support.


Sex can remain an important part of emotional and physical bonding during pregnancy. With some simple precautions and creativity, couples can safely maintain intimacy throughout the trimesters. While every pregnancy is unique, women can generally enjoy intercourse without concern unless directed otherwise by their healthcare provider.

With open communication and patience, couples can ensure sex remains pleasurable for both partners during this special time. Learn here more about pregnancy and baby care.


Is sex safe during pregnancy?

For most low-risk pregnancies, vaginal intercourse is completely safe throughout pregnancy and cannot harm the baby. The one exception is if there are concerns like preterm labor or placenta previa, in which case a doctor may advise avoiding sex.

What sex positions are best during pregnancy?

Woman-on-top and side-by-side positions are often most comfortable during pregnancy as the belly grows. Positions that avoid placing weight on the abdomen are best. Pillows can help support various positions.

Why am I less interested in sex during pregnancy?

Shifting hormone levels, nausea, fatigue, and discomfort can all affect libido. It’s common for sexual desire to fluctuate during pregnancy. Communication, patience, and intimacy that’s not intercourse can help couples stay connected.

Is oral sex safe during pregnancy?

Yes, oral sex is safe during pregnancy including swallowing semen. Oral sex carries no risks to the developing baby. Some positions may become uncomfortable as the pregnancy progresses.

Can sex trigger labor?

There is no evidence that sex causes labor to start prematurely in a normal, low-risk pregnancy. While orgasm may cause mild uterine contractions, they are different from labor contractions.

How soon after birth can I have sex?

It’s generally recommended to wait 4-6 weeks after giving birth to allow healing and avoid infection. But every woman’s body is different, so discuss timing with your doctor.

When can sex resume after a miscarriage?

After a first trimester miscarriage, couples can typically resume sex whenever the woman feels emotionally and physically ready, usually within 2 weeks. After later miscarriage, it may take longer to heal.