What You Need to Know About Sex During Pregnancy



Is sex safe? Are certain positions off-limits? What if I’m just not in the mood?

Get the answers to your questions about pregnancy and sex.

Just talking about pregnant sex can be a delicate subject. Dads-to-be may fear that certain sexual positions will harm the baby. Moms-to-be may feel guilty about a changing sexual desire during pregnancy and be embarrassed to address such concerns with their ob-gyn.

But the truth is that most fears and worries around sex while pregnant are unnecessary. Many couples can continue to have a safe and rewarding sexual relationship through pregnancy. The key is good communication between you and your partner — and between you and your doctor.

The Facts About Sex During Pregnancy

The two biggest misconceptions about sex during pregnancy are that sex is not safe and that women lose the desire to have sex. Here is what you need to know:

  • Sex is typically safe during all stages of a normal pregnancy. If you have a history of miscarriages, however, your doctor may advise you to avoid intercourse during the first three months.
  • Your baby is well protected inside the womb and is not harmed by sexual intercourse.
  • Although many women may feel less interested in sex, a woman’s desire for sex during pregnancy may actually increase during the second trimester.
  • Sex can continue late into pregnancy with some adjustments and precautions.

If you experience fatigue early in your pregnancy, you may lose some or all of your desire for sex, often just temporarily. Later in your pregnancy, increased blood flow to the pelvic area, breast enlargement, and the freedom of not having to worry about birth control may actually increase your sexual desire.

In the last stage of your pregnancy, your breasts may become tender, orgasms may become longer and harder, and the size of your belly may make some sexual positions uncomfortable.

Toward the end of your pregnancy some couples may be too preoccupied with the coming delivery to have much desire for sex.

Of course, you should always follow your doctor’s instructions regarding pregnant sex, especially if you have a high-risk pregnancy in which case your doctor may tell you to limit your sexual activity.

Enjoying Sex During Pregnancy

Talk honestly with your partner about each other’s needs and feelings. Use these guidelines as a starting point — both for a conversation with your partner and one with your doctor to address your unique concerns:

Practice safety. Sexually transmitted diseases can be transmitted to your baby, so take any appropriate safe sex precautions. Avoid oral sex that includes blowing into the vagina as this can cause in air embolism (a blockage of a blood vessel by an air bubble), which can be potentially fatal for both you and your unborn child.

Expect ups and downs in sexual desire. There will be times when you feel too tired or too uncomfortable for sex. Changes in your hormones and in your body will affect your sexual desire in different ways. This is normal and you should not feel guilty.

Consider sexual comfort. Your breasts, especially your nipples, may become too sensitive to be touched later in your pregnancy. Using a water soluble lubricant or a lubricated condom may make sex more comfortable if your vaginal tissues have become engorged and are very sensitive as well.

Change up sexual position. Changes in your anatomy may make certain sexual positions, such as the woman being on the bottom, uncomfortable. Try having sex side-by-side, with you on top, or in a spooning position with your man behind you. You may need to experiment and communicate with each other about what feels best, especially later in your pregnancy.

Known when to say no to sex. Stop having sex and see your doctor if you have any vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge, or pain during intercourse. Do not have sex if you are having contractions or your water has broken.

Always check with your doctor if you have any questions about pregnant sex and safety, and always let your partner know what works and what doesn’t. There will be times when you don’t have the energy or the desire for sex while pregnant, and that is normal. There is no right or wrong time, number of times, or way to have sex during pregnancy. And remember that sex is about more than just sexual intercourse: Don’t forget about kissing, cuddling, messaging, and holding each other. Sexual intimacy, not performance, is the most important part of pregnant sex.


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