Sex during pregnancy: What's OK, what's not

Has pregnancy spiked your interest in sex? Or is sex the last thing on your mind? Either way, here's what you need to know about sex during pregnancy.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you want to get pregnant, you have sex. But what about sex while you're pregnant? Here's what you need to know about sex during pregnancy.

Is it OK to have sex during pregnancy?

Your developing baby is protected by the amniotic fluid in your uterus, as well as by the strong muscles of the uterus itself. Sexual activity won't affect your baby, as long as you don't have complications such as preterm labor or placenta problems. However, pregnancy can cause changes in your level of comfort and sexual desire.

Can sex during pregnancy cause a miscarriage?

Having sex during pregnancy won't provoke a miscarriage. Most miscarriages occur because the fetus isn't developing normally.

What are the best sexual positions during pregnancy?

As long as you're comfortable, most sexual positions are OK during pregnancy. Oral sex is also safe during pregnancy. As your pregnancy progresses, experiment to find what works best. Let your creativity take over, as long as you keep mutual pleasure and comfort in mind.

Are condoms necessary?

Having a sexually transmitted infection during pregnancy can cause serious health problems for you and your baby. Avoid all forms of sex — vaginal, oral and anal — if your partner has an active or recently diagnosed sexually transmitted infection.

Use a condom if:

  • You're not in a mutually monogamous relationship
  • You choose to have sex with a new partner during pregnancy

Are there times when sex should be avoided?

Breast stimulation, female orgasms and certain hormones in semen called prostaglandins can cause uterine contractions.

Your health care provider might recommend avoiding sex if:

  • You have unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • You're leaking amniotic fluid
  • Your cervix begins to open prematurely (cervical incompetence)
  • Your placenta partly or completely covers your cervical opening (placenta previa)
  • You have a history of preterm labor or premature birth

What if I don't want to have sex?

That's OK. There's more to intimacy than sex. Share your needs and concerns with your partner in an open and loving way. If sex is difficult, unappealing or off-limits, try cuddling, kissing or massage.

July 10, 2018 See more In-depth