Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?
It is safe for most couples to continue having sex during pregnancy. There are several issues to be aware of, and some guidelines to follow.
You should be aware that orgasm, as well as breast stimulation, can cause the uterus to contract, this will not cause miscarriage. A bit of cramping after intercourse can be very normal. Of course, if cramping continues, or if it is associated with any spotting, you should see your care provider right away.
If you have a history of bleeding after the first trimester or are at risk of pre-term labor, you should discuss this with your physician.
Sometimes you or your partner may have unfounded worries about having sex during pregnancy. For example, some people are afraid that the baby somehow “knows” that sex is taking place. However, the baby is well protected by a cushion of fluid in the womb and by the mom’s abdomen and is completely safe. The partner sometimes worries that intercourse might cause discomfort or pain for the pregnant woman. While this can happen, it is more likely that enjoyment of sex may be heightened due to increased blood flow in the pelvic area.
The safest positions in pregnancy include:
- Woman on top
- Spooning (Man behind woman, rear entry)
- Hands and Knees
- Side lying, knee pulled up
Some guidelines to follow:
- Deep penetration should be at the discretion and comfort of the mother.
- Water or air (or any foreign objects) in the vagina should not be part of any sex play during pregnancy.
- Douching should never be done during pregnancy.
- Understanding, empathy, creativity and humor will be good assets to love making during pregnancy.
- You should always be able to say “no."
- Avoid intercourse (or sexual activity) if advised to do so by your care provider.
- Intercourse should be avoided if the amniotic fluid is leaking, has ruptured, or if there is a suspicion that it may be leaking.
- Any sexual contact should be avoided if the woman or her partner has been exposed to, or has confirmation of a sexually transmitted disease or HIV.
- Keep your sense of humor!
- Performing oral sex on your partner (fellatio) is always safe during pregnancy and for some couples is a very satisfactory substitute when intercourse isn’t permitted.
- If you are carrying twins or more, intercourse should be avoided during the last trimester.
- As term approaches, start to discuss postpartum contraception.