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Is it Safe To Have Sex In Pregnancy: All You Need To Know


Is it Safe To Have Sex in pregnancy

Pregnant women and their husbands often wonder if it is safe to have sex during pregnancy. Most of the time people do not know whom to ask this question and are even hesitant in asking their doctors about this. 

Will it cause a miscarriage? Will it harm the unborn baby? Does the baby know what's happening and how to do it safely? So here is what to know.

Is sex safe during pregnancy? 

Yes, it is. Sex is a natural and normal part of a couple's life during pregnancy. Penetration and the intercourse movement does not harm the baby. 

Baby is well protected and cushioned by the amniotic sac, the mucous plug at the mouth of the uterus, the muscular uterine walls and finally mother's abdominal walls. 

Can sex trigger premature labor? 

Not really. The contractions of the orgasm aren't the same as the labor contractions. These are transient tightenings of the uterine muscle. These are known as Braxton-Hicks contractions and they usually quickly pass off on their own. Still as a general safety precaution your doctor might advise you against having sex in the final weeks of pregnancy unless if you want to go into labour as the hormones in the semen sometime can stimulate contractions. 

These hormones work in a similar way like the hormones known as Prostaglandins. For the same reason having sex in the post-dated or overdue pregnancies also sometime can help to induce the labor. 

Sex drive during pregnancy

Every woman's experiences during pregnancy are different including how they feel about sex. For some the desire fades during pregnancy while some women feel more deeply connected to their sexuality and more aroused when they are pregnant. Some actually feel that their desire actually goes up because now they are not worried about the birth control. 

So during pregnancy also it's normal for the sexual desire to come up and go as your body changes. You may feel over conscious as your belly grows or sometimes some women actually feel sexier with the larger or the fuller body. 

In first trimester because of nausea, fatigue or sometimes breast tenderness it actually might kill your sex drive. Do not worry it will come back. 

In the second trimester as the women generally become more comfortable the sex drive might come back. 

In the third trimester the sex may actually feel very uncomfortable in the last few weeks of pregnancy because of the uncomfortable body size, anxiety and worry about the childbirth.

 Whether sex during pregnancy would harm the baby or not.

Sexual positions in pregnancy

Lying flat on the back in the normal missionary position, such sex after the fourth month of pregnancy may not be really safe or comfortable as it is actually difficult with the baby's bump in between. 

It may not be really safe also because in this position the weight of the growing baby compress the major blood vessels at the back which are actually supplying the blood to the baby and the uterus. 

So avoid lying back or avoid lying flat on your back after the fourth month of pregnancy. Any position actually which reduces the pressure on your belly is safe. It can be women on top, it can be on the side, it could be anywhere any position in which there is no direct pressure on the belly. 

In case of vaginal dryness during pregnancy you can use a lubricant to make the sex more comfortable. In case the sex is still uncomfortable you can enjoy intimacy in other ways too. 

Oral and anal types 

One big caution it's absolutely unsafe and dangerous for the partner to blow air into the pregnant woman's vagina. Remember this can be life-threatening, it can cause air embolism, it can be immediately fatal. 

Anal sex will not harm the baby but it may be uncomfortable in case a woman has pregnancy related hemorrhoids. 

Should I use a barrier contraception or condoms during sex in pregnancy? 

As always if you are not absolutely sure about your partner's sexual history you must use a condom. Remember pregnancy does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, herpes, genital warts, chlamydia and these infections can affect your baby too. So please take your call wisely. 

When not to have sex during pregnancy

1. In case you are at risk of miscarriage or have a history of past miscarriages in the previous pregnancies. 

2. In case you are at risk of premature labor, which is you're having contractions before baby matures, before 37 weeks of pregnancy. 

3. In case you are having any kind of vaginal bleeding or any kind of infective vaginal discharge. 

4. In case your amniotic bag is leaking fluid or you have ruptured membranes. 

5. In case your cervix has opened too early and your doctor has told you to be on bed rest. 

6. In case you already have a cervical stitch in place. That's a stitch which we place at the mouth of uterus to make sure that the cervix does not open before time. 

7. In case your ultrasound says that you have placenta previa which means the placenta is low line. 

8. In case you're expecting twins or triplets or maybe multiple pregnancies.

Red flag signs after having sex in pregnancy 

So in case these signs happen immediately inform your doctor and report to the emergency room.

1. Any kind of pain in the lower abdomen: Any kind of contractions in the uterus. So this is transient tightening which is now not getting all right.

2. Vaginal bleeding or any kind of a watery, thin, discharge from vagina. 

3. Any significant discomfort. 

What if I don't want to have sex during pregnancy?

That's perfectly all right. There is more to intimacy than sex. Discuss with your partner in an open and loving way. 

If sex is difficult, unappealing or off limits. It's okay absolutely to not do it. 

Benefits of sex during pregnancy

Now sex during pregnancy can also have certain benefits.

1. It keeps you fit. 

Sex burns calories and can help to keep both the partners fit. It improves the bonding between the partners. Some couples find that sexual activity in pregnancy actually brings them together. 

In a study in 2004 it has been found that sex during pregnancy can actually give a boost to the immune system increasing the levels of IgA which can fight many infections. 

2. It causes increased happiness

The sex during pregnancy releases endorphins which can make the mother and the baby both feel happy and relaxed. 

Sex after delivery

The first six weeks after the delivery. This is known as postpartum period, sex during this time may be the last thing on your mind. You may have very less desire because obviously there are stitches. You may have stitches down below if you had episiotomy and repair, Episiotomy is the incision which is given at the time of vaginal delivery. You may be healing from the abdominal incisions in case you've had a caesarean birth. 

Generally women tend to have vaginal bleeding till about six weeks after delivery. So that also you know doesn't make you feel comfortable to have sex. 

Fatigue after pregnancy because you know you're obviously tired. You've given birth to a baby. You're looking after the baby. You're not really sleeping well. 

The changing hormones levels: So post delivery you know suddenly there is a fall in the level of  pregnancy related upsurge of estrogen and progesterone. So obviously it changes a lots of things in the body too. 

You may be having sore breasts from breast feeding also. A lot of women face postpartum blues, anxieties, over parenting, relationship issues and lot of other things. As doctors we always say that it's a good idea to wait for at least six weeks after delivery before any kind of intercourse. It's very very important to be emotionally ready, physically comfortable and relaxed before returning to sex after childbirth

Remember to use a proper contraception as fertility can resume anytime after six weeks of delivery. It's very very important for all of you to know that ovulation can begin anytime six weeks after delivery. 


In case you know you want more information about the contraception you must follow our contraception series on this blog that's coming soon. Some health subjects need to be talked about and spoken openly at Lafiyata. We believe in making uncomfortable conversations easy and comfortable. 

So today like always if you found this information useful please do not forget to share and follow Lafiyata to benefits from our upcoming series.


1. Falicov CJ. Sexual adjustment during first pregnancy and post partum. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1973; 117: 991–1000.

2. Saewyc, E. M., Bearinger, L. H., Robert Wm. Blum, & Resnick, M. D. (1999). Sexual Intercourse, Abuse and Pregnancy Among Adolescent Women: Does Sexual Orientation Make a Difference? Family Planning Perspectives, 31(3), 127–131.

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