Pregnancy Information Pregnant Sex

Is sex safe during pregnancy? Most couples who are planning a family think about sexual intimacy for procreation. Once the baby has been conceived, new questions arise. How safe is sex during the time that a women’s body is changing and a baby is growing inside? Can sex hurt the baby or bring on early contractions?

Sex and Low-Risk Pregnancies

Sexual intercourse is considered safe in low-risk or normal pregnancies. A normal pregnancy is one that progresses without unusual signs or symptoms. As pregnancy hormones direct changes in the body, a woman’s desire for sex may increase. Increased vaginal lubrication and genital engorgement can enhance sensitivity.

Some women lose interest as their bodies grow larger. Positions that were once comfortable become cumbersome. Some couples experiment with new positions to accommodate the pregnant belly. Woman on top, or spooning with the man behind the woman are a few positions that couples can tolerate. After four months, sex in the missionary position (man on top) should be avoided because of the extra weight it puts on major blood vessels.

As the pregnancy progresses, other factors may interrupt sexual relations. Fatigue, lack of motivation or the excitement of the upcoming birth may reduce a woman’s desire for sex. Close communication and bonding time help keep the couple on the same page. Some couples find fulfillment engaging in oral sex. Oral sex is safe as long as air is not forcefully blown into the pregnant mother’s vagina. Although this occurrence is rare, air can enter into blood vessels and can be potentially fatal to mother and baby.

Sex and High-Risk Pregnancies

The doctor is the best authority on whether having sex during pregnancy is safe for a woman who has risk factors. Women should refrain from sex with anyone who might have an active sexually transmitted disease. Sexually transmitted diseases can lead to birth defects.

Women who have had a previous pregnancy that involved preterm labor, miscarriage, placenta previa, infection, bleeding, leaking of amniotic fluid or breaking of the amniotic sac are at risk. Sex may further provoke these conditions.

Sex After the Baby

The question is: will you even want to have sex after the birth of the baby? Sex is generally safe four to six weeks after a vaginal delivery. Once the cervix has closed and the tissues have healed, couples can resume sexual intercourse. The doctor can to determine this during a postpartum exam. With first babies, many couples are so preoccupied with taking care of the baby’s needs and getting enough sleep themselves that sexual desire decreases. This is usually temporary.

For women who have had a cesarean delivery, healing time may be prolonged beyond six weeks. The doctor can make recommendations after a postpartum exam. Cesarean delivery is a significant abdominal surgery that requires several layers of muscle and tissue to heal. Once the doctor gives the go ahead for intercourse, safely proceed with what is comfortable.


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2001). Frequently asked questions about having and baby in the 21st century.

Beers, M. H.