During Pregnancy, Is Sex Safe For Mom and Baby?

One of the reasons why there is so much interest in sex during pregnancy is that there doesn’t seem to be a widespread cultural acceptance that pregnant women can or should be sexual.

This is probably the result of the conflict in Western society between the idea of the Madonna, the perfect mother, and the sexual nature of the woman who conceived the child. So I want to start right now by saying, loudly and clearly, that it’s actually absolutely fine to have sex during pregnancy.

Indeed there are many good reasons why you should have sex during pregnancy: it’s a powerful bonding mechanism for a couple, as it maintains intimacy and rekindles love; and orgasms not only make you and your partner feel good but also bathe the baby in a delicious blend of endorphins, enabling it to sharing the experience of bliss and relaxation.

It’s true that there might be one or two hurdles for you to get over, before you can fully enjoy sex, so let’s look at those briefly.

First off, some people think that sex during pregnancy is somehow inappropriate or disrespectful. Well, that’s probably another manifestation of the conflict between sexuality and motherhood.

sex during pregnancy
Sex during pregnancy

But no mother has to be asexual or suppress her natural desires, and there is actually no reason why she should give up sex. The baby, after all, has no sense of what is happening during your lovemaking.

Sometimes women feel they are no longer attractive during pregnancy; what they probably don’t realise is that for many men, the sight of their pregnant partner may be extremely sexually arousing.

Certainly making love to a woman who is pregnant is a new and different experience, but it’s just as rewarding and pleasurable, and has the added dimension of being the act which created this new life; for many men, this fact gives extra power and vitality to the act of lovemaking.

I think it’s fair to say that men generally find pregnant women sexy and attractive. But even if a man doesn’t want to make love to his partner, there are plenty of other ways of being intimate: cuddling, kissing, oral sex, and masturbation are all good substitutes for intercourse.

On the other hand, the changing hormones in a woman’s bloodstream during pregnancy may mean that she finds herself more aroused and sexy,  and that she wants more sex with her partner than before she became pregnant.

She may also find that the nature of her orgasms change: she may reach orgasm more easily, or she may now be multi-orgasmic in a way she never has been before.

What this amounts to is that there’s no easy way to predict what will happen to a couple’s love life when the woman becomes pregnant.

Having said that, there’s no reason why a couple’s sex life should change, unless both partners want it to. This is why good communication and a clear and honest exchange of each other’s thoughts and feelings is essential.

It’s necessary to keep the lines of communication open so that unspoken resentments don’t grow into major conflict, and so that a couple continue to understand each other’s thoughts and feelings. This will make sure they can accommodate each other’s sexual wishes, needs and desires.

Is Sex During Pregnancy Safe?

The answer to this is a resounding yes. Sex during pregnancy is safe in almost every case, except perhaps where a woman’s medical adviser has suggested that she avoids sex for some reason.

It’s also important to remember that a woman who’s pregnant shouldn’t have sex with a partner whose sexual history is not clear to her, because of the risk of getting a sexual infection, which may be transmitted to the baby.

Some of the reasons that a doctor might suggest sex is bad idea are: a woman’s history of miscarriage, or preterm labour, or a few other comparatively uncommon medical conditions. These include unexplained vaginal bleeding, leakage of amniotic fluid, placenta previa, and a weak cervix which opens prematurely.

If these apply to you, you’ll know about it, and your doctor will give you further advice.

Of course some women don’t want sex during pregnancy simply because they don’t feel like it, particularly during the later stages of pregnancy when they may feel unattractive, or too preoccupied with the impending birth and what lies beyond to be interested in sex.

Is Orgasm Safe?

It might also be helpful to point out that it’s actually safe for a pregnant woman to have as many orgasms she wants, and although there may be some slight uterine contractions, having an orgasm is not going to induce labour.

The baby is fully protected during pregnancy by the amniotic fluid and the strong muscles of the uterus. In addition, a thick mucus plug seals the cervix and guards against any infection, so that it’s absolutely impossible for the man’s penis or his ejaculated semen to come into contact with the developing baby during intercourse.

So, you can rest assured that in a normal pregnancy where everything is going smoothly, intercourse and orgasm will not affect the baby, nor will they cause a miscarriage or induce uterine contractions.

(In fact the contractions of the uterus that a woman might feel during or after an orgasm are actually very different the contractions that she will feel during labour. )

You may have heard that semen contains a compound called prostaglandin that can actually stimulate uterine contractions. Indeed it has been suggested that a woman who is waiting for a baby to be born should make love to her partner to stimulate the delivery. Unfortunately there is zero evidence that this “old wives tale” actually works!

While the changes associated with pregnancy are happening, a woman may find that her sex drive unexpectedly increases or decreases during pregnancy.

It might decrease because she has to deal with all the common symptoms of pregnancy such as tiredness, tender breasts, and frequent urination; such things may make sex seem just like another chore.

On the other hand, some women find that they become
fully immersed in the power of their femininity. The freedom from contraception that sex during pregnancy allows them means they can express a much higher level of their sexuality. Also the closeness they feel to their partner may also make sex more desirable and fulfilling.

And the man, too, may experience an increase or decrease in his sexual desire depending on how much he enjoys the change in the appearance of his partner’s body, or how much he (for example) worries about the health of his baby and its mother.

If a man is having trouble establishing how he feels about his partner as her identity changes from that of sexual partner to mother-to-be, the key, as in any relationship, is good, open and honest communication.