Sex during pregnancy

In most cases having sex during pregnancy isn’t a threat to either you or your unborn baby, but there are some issues that need to be taken into consideration to make sure it is both safe and comfortable.

Comfort and safety

As the baby develops and the mother’s abdomen grows, you may have to try some different positions to make sex more comfortable. The baby is protected by the amniotic sac, muscle and the woman’s abdomen from the movements created during sexual intercourse, but you should still take care.

The mucus plug, or vaginal mucus, will make sure that your child is safe from infection. If you experience any unusual symptoms either during or after sex, you should speak to your doctor or midwife before attempting to have sex again.

When sex should be avoided

In some cases a doctor may recommend that you don't have sex, particularly if the placenta is lying over the neck of the womb (known as placenta previa), or if you are at risk of bleeding.

Other reasons include if the woman:

  • is experiencing unusual discharging from the vagina
  • has a history of miscarriage or premature labour
  • has a dilated cervix
  • is experiencing pains in her abdominal area
  • is feeling pain while urinating
  • is expecting more than one baby
  • has ever had to undergo medical treatment for vaginal or reproductory issues
  • waters have broken

Sex drive

During pregnancy, it is normal for your sex drive to change and you should not worry about this, but do talk about it with your partner. Later in pregnancy, an orgasm – or even sex itself – can set off contractions (known as Braxton Hicks contractions) - there is no need for alarm as this is perfectly normal.

If it feels uncomfortable, try your relaxation techniques or just lie quietly till the contractions pass.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

A pregnant woman should not have sexual intercourse with anyone whose sexual history is unknown to her, and who could be carrying STIs such as chlamydia, herpes, HIV/AIDS or gonorrhoea.

STIs can be passed on to both the mother and baby.

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