Can you have sex while pregnant? Yes, as long as you are having a healthy pregnancy
Originally Published on Jun 16, 2020 Health | By Ashley Laderer
- It is perfectly safe to have sex during a healthy pregnancy since there is no chance that the penis would poke the baby.
- But you can still make sex more comfortable by making some changes in the bedroom, such as not lying flat on your back or avoiding positions with deep penetration.
- For some high-risk pregnancies, like preterm labor or a placenta abnormality, sex should be avoided entirely.
- This article was medically reviewed by Jamie Lipeles, DO, OB/GYN and founder of Marina OB/GYN in Marina Del Rey, California.
- Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.
Normally, it’s safe to have sex throughout your pregnancy. It’s only for certain high-risk pregnancies that you may need to take precautions.
And even if you’re having a healthy pregnancy, there are some things you can do to make sex more comfortable. Here’s what you need to know about having sex while pregnant.
Sex should be avoided during certain high-risk pregnancies
A high-risk pregnancy, means you or your baby have higher risks of various health complications, like going into preterm labor. But not every high-risk pregnancy will require you to avoid sex.
Sherry A. Ross, MD, OB-GYN and women’s health expert in Santa Monica, California, suggests having a detailed conversation with your physician to determine if sex is safe for you.
But, as a general rule, you should avoid having sex in situations where penetration could potentially trigger premature birth, cause damage to the placenta, or increase the risk of infection. Some of the high-risk pregnancies where sex may cause these outcomes include:
- Placenta abnormality, such as placenta previa
- Preterm labor, meaning uterine contractions and changes to the cervix before 37 weeks of pregnancy
- Having a shortened cervix
- Premature rupture of membranes (PROM), meaning the amniotic sac ruptures prematurely, before 37 weeks of pregnancy
- Intrauterine growth restriction
- Recurrent herpes outbreaks
- Experiencing symptoms like vaginal bleeding, cramping, pelvic pain
If you have any of the above conditions, your doctor might suggest pelvic rest, where nothing penetrates the vagina. Ross says this isn’t limited to traditional sex – it can also include sex toys.
Most women with healthy pregnancies can have sex
That being said, women with uncomplicated pregnancies can certainly have – and enjoy – sex throughout all three trimesters.
Ross says it’s a common fear that a penis might poke the uterus and cause harm to the baby, however, this is a misconception.
The baby develops in the uterus, where it’s protected by amniotic fluid and the structure of the uterus itself. With deep penetration, the penis may bump or poke the cervix (the lowermost part of the uterus), but the baby itself will not be poked, since it is surrounded by that amniotic fluid.
“The baby may be bounced around, but know that the baby is safe and insulated,” says Ross.
How to have safe pregnancy sex
If your doctor has cleared you for sex, having enjoyable sex is going to be about finding the most comfortable way to do it. Here are six tips from Ross for having safe, comfortable sex while pregnant:
- Communicate openly: Communication is extra important during pregnancy sex, Ross says. Speak openly about concerns and desires before, during, and after sex. You want to make sure that both you and your partner are having a good time and that nobody is in pain. Speak up if something is uncomfortable or hurts, or if you simply just need to stop.
- Find your go-to positions: Pregnancy, especially as it progresses, might limit the number of positions you and your partner can get into. Ross recommends using positions where the woman can control the depth of penetration, like when she’s on top. Lying on your side and spooning is another good position where you can comfortably rest while your partner penetrates from behind.
- Use pillows: Don’t be afraid to use pillows as props in different positions, and get creative. It may take time to figure out what works best for you. And remember that what works best at the beginning of pregnancy might not be the best at the end. “Ultimately you’re going to experiment with your partner because it’s a bit of a dance,” says Ross.
- Avoid positions with deep penetration: If you are worried about pain or discomfort, you might want to steer clear of positions that allow for the deepest penetration, such as doggy style. “Sometimes it’s best to avoid positions that have deeper penetration, just because it might be more uncomfortable, not because it’s going to put you at risk for labor,” says Ross.
- Don’t lie flat on your back for too long: If nausea and dizziness are a concern, try to not spend too long lying flat on your back (such as in missionary position), especially if you’re further along in the pregnancy in the third trimester. The growing uterus can put pressure on the blood vessels running to and from your heart, according to Ross. This change in blood flow can make you feel nauseated or dizzy. If you find yourself experiencing these sensations during sex, try a new position where you aren’t lying flat, or take a break altogether.
- Listen to your body: It’s crucial to pay attention to what your body is telling you during and after sex. Don’t ignore any pain or odd symptoms. Ross urges you to call your OB-GYN if you experience bleeding, cramping, unusual discharge, or pain during urination. They can make sure that you and the baby are alright and provide you with guidance if necessary.
| | | Next → |