Sex during pregnancy is safe for most women – and can be great at certain points along the way. And not so great at other times. Advertising Policy Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy When … Read More
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
When Krista Afumbom goes to bed these days, the last thing on her mind is sex. After 37 weeks of pregnancy, she just wants to sleep.
Between having sciatica and being very pregnant, the Lakewood mother cannot find a comfortable position for long periods of rest.
“I’m huge right now,” Ms. Afumbom says. “My husband and I are not having sex.”
Timing is everything
Like Ms. Afumbom, many women in their third trimester cannot fathom the idea of sex, says Cleveland Clinic certified nurse-midwife Joy Sedlock. Hormones, emotions and energy levels can fluctuate dramatically and affect sexual desire throughout the pregnancy. Generally, in the first and third trimesters, the desire to have sex is low.
“In the first trimester, many women feel nauseous, queasy and exhausted. In the third trimester, they feel big and uncomfortable,” Ms. Sedlock says. “But the second trimester can be awesome for women. The vulva is very vascular, with great blood supply. Orgasms can be enhanced during this time.”
Ms. Sedlock often advises her patients to go on a “babymoon” during the second trimester. “I tell my patients it is a good time to travel and reconnect as a couple, because their lives will soon be changing.”
For most women, it’s safe
But some patients worry and wonder if they should still be having sex while pregnant.
“Sex during pregnancy is safe and fine as long as the pregnancy is low risk,” Ms. Sedlock says. “Things that would make it potentially harmful are issues where there are signs of pre-term labor or vaginal bleeding, which could indicate placental problems.”
If a woman shows signs of pre-term labor, orgasms can cause uterine contractions. Also, semen has prostaglandins, which help ripen and prepare the cervix for labor and delivery. In fact, Ms. Sedlock and her colleagues advise patients who are full-term to have sexual intercourse to induce labor.
“I tell them what got you in this situation can help get you out!” she says.
Women who are worried about having sex during pregnancy should discuss their concerns with their health care provider.
Answers to common questions
Can I keep having sex when I’m pregnant? Yes, as long as the pregnancy is low risk and progressing normally.
Can having sex cause a miscarriage? No.
Is there any danger to the baby?
No, having sex will not harm the baby.
When is it not OK to have sex during pregnancy?
If you have had a cervical procedure before, such as a LEEP, make sure your doctor or midwife knows about it. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, you may be advised to refrain from having sex. If you are feeling pain during sex, or experiencing irritation or bleeding, tell your health care provider.
For most women, sex during pregnancy is safe. It’s a good way to stay close to your partner as your body changes – before everything changes when the baby arrives.