It's natural to be concerned about having sex while you're pregnant. Many couples are often worried about harming the baby during sex.
If you have an uncomplicated pregnancy, it's perfectly safe to have sex.
Can pregnancy affect your sex life?
Your sex drive can change throughout pregnancy. Fluctuating hormone levels can affect your sex drive. It's best to let your partner know how you feel.
Here are some common sex drive changes you may feel during pregnancy:
First trimester: Changes in hormone levels early in pregnancy may lead to pregnancy discomforts (such as, tiredness, sore breasts, need to pee often, or nausea) that make you less interested in sex.
Second trimester: You may feel a lot better during the second trimester. Discomforts you experienced in the first trimester may have gone away. Your growing belly is still small enough to have sex comfortably. You may want to have sex more often than you did in the past!
Third trimester: As your tummy grows, you might find some sex positions uncomfortable. You may also feel tired, which is why you might not want to have sex. You can try new positions to see what works best for you.
Can sex during the first-trimester cause miscarriage?
Sex during the first trimester will not affect your baby. The sac of amniotic fluid (bag of waters) acts as a cushion and protects the developing baby. The muscles of the uterus also help protect the baby.
Can sex lead to early labour?
Having sex will not start your labour early. However, sex may help if your labour was going to begin anyway. This is because:
- Semen is rich in hormones that help to ripen the cervix
- Your body releases oxytocin, a hormone that stimulates the muscles of the uterus to contract
When to avoid sex during pregnancy?
Your doctor will advise you to avoid sex if
- You have vaginal bleeding (sex may increase the risk of further bleeding)
- Your water has broken (sex increases the risk of infection)
- You have a history of preterm labour (baby is born early, before completion of 37 weeks of pregnancy)
- If your placenta lies very low in the uterus and covers all or part of the cervix
Are condoms necessary?
A sexually transmitted disease during pregnancy can cause health problems for you and your baby. If your partner has been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease, it's best to avoid sex. Be sure to use a condom if you choose to have sex with a new partner.
What are some other ways of being intimate?
If you don't feel like having sex, you can find other ways of being intimate. You can enjoy cuddling, kissing, and lots of warm, physical contact that doesn't have to lead to sex.
When to see a doctor?
Talk to your doctor if you experience:
- Pain during sex or after sex
- Heavy bleeding after sex
- Spotting (a few drops of blood) is normal after sex. But it's best to consult your doctor.
- Leaking of amniotic fluid
1. HealthLink BC. Sex During Pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/hw194974. Accessed on Aug 18, 2020.
2. March of Dimes. Sex during pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/sex-during-pregnancy.aspx. Accessed on Aug 18, 2020.
3. Raising Children Network (Australia) Limited. Sex in late pregnancy: Men [Internet]. Available at: https://raisingchildren.net.au/pregnancy/dads-guide-to-pregnancy/late-pregnancy/sex-in-late-pregnancy Accessed on Aug 18, 2020.
4. Mayo Clinic. Sex during pregnancy: What's OK, what's not [Internet]. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/sex-during-pregnancy/art-20045318#:~:text=Is%20it%20OK%20to%20have,preterm%20labor%20or%20placenta%20problems. Accessed on Aug 18, 2020.
5. NHS inform. Ready Steady Baby. Sex and sexual health in pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://www.nhsinform.scot/ready-steady-baby/pregnancy/relationships-and-wellbeing-in-pregnancy/sex-and-sexual-health-in-pregnancy. Accessed on Aug 18, 2020.