How safe is Sex during Pregnancy?
pregnancy is generally safe, with few complications, states a new
primer for physicians to counsel patients wondering about sex in pregnancy,
published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal, Feb, 2011).
The primer is based on current evidence.
During pregnancy, a woman's hormonal and mental make-up undergoes a dramatic
change. She becomes
emotional and sometimes oversensitive. Hormonal and chemical changes
prepare her for
conception, pregnancy and childbearing. The awareness that she is pregnant
creates new aspirations and sexual relations go down the priority ladder.
Sex is considered safe during all stages of a normal pregnancy. Of course, just
because sex is safe during pregnancy doesn't mean you'll necessarily want to
have it! Common risk factors include:
a history or threat of
a history of pre-term labor (you've previously delivered a baby before 37
weeks) or signs indicating the risk of pre-term labor (such as premature
unexplained vaginal bleeding, discharge, or cramping
leakage of amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds the baby)
placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta (the blood-rich
structure that nourishes the baby) is down so low that it covers the cervix
(the opening of the uterus)
incompetent cervix, a condition in which the cervix is weakened and
dilates (opens) prematurely, raising the risk for miscarriage or premature
multiple fetuses (twins, triplets, etc.)
In rare cases, some types of sexual activity that push air into the vagina
may result in a uterine blood clot that is usually fatal.
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
of a condom and a spermicide is recommended if sexual activity cannot be
How to make sex pleasurable during pregnancy
Sexual practices may not have to change during pregnancy. The movement and
penetration of intercourse, in itself, won't harm the baby. Your baby is
protected by your abdomen and the muscular walls of the uterus. Your baby is
also cushioned by the fluid in the amniotic sac.
Check out for yourself:
The common missionary position may become uncomfortable and warrant
considering other positions such as side by side or with you on top.
Over the 40 weeks of pregnancy, it's normal for sexual desire to come and
go as your body changes. You may feel self-conscious as your belly grows. Or
you may feel sexier with larger, fuller breasts.
It is normal to experience a lack of lubrication during pregnancy, as
hormone levels change. This can make sex quite uncomfortable. The use of a
lubricant can help. And don't forget, sex isn't limited to intercourse
alone. Enjoy alternative pleasuring activities. Manual stimulation is safe
and enjoyable during pregnancy.
As with all aspects of health and
pregnancy, check with your doctor on the specifics for your wife and new
baby since some pregnancies do fall into higher risk categories where sex
would be prohibited. Sex is an important part of your relationship and
intimacy, so be open in discussing what works and what doesn't while
appreciating the changes in your partner's body and new sensitivities.
Some potential, but uncommon, risks of having sex while pregnant include
pelvic inflammatory disease, hemorrhage in placenta previa
(when the placenta covers part of the cervix) and blood clots.