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Pregnancy Clinic

Pregnancy Health

Having sex during pregnancy

Unless there is an overriding medical concern when you are expecting, intercourse can be an important way for you and your partner to continue your personal bond as you face the uncertain but exciting challenge of impending parenthood. However, tiredness, hormonal changes and physical discomfort can be reasons why sex might not always been on your agenda.

Is sex in pregnancy safe?

Yes, in most cases sex at any point during your pregnancy is absolutely fine. Fears that the experience might disturb your baby, or that orgasm might be harmful in any way are unfounded.

Will it feel different?

Some women do not notice any change to their sexual experience during pregnancy, except that as their bump grows, they might need to find new positions that feel comfortable.

However hormonal changes can mean you feel more or less willing to have sex, or that certain acts feel less enjoyable. This is not a cause for concern so long as you are honest with your partner and he is understanding. You also need to think about his feelings and how he reacts to your changing body too.

However, if intimacy does become an issue for both of you, try to relax, make a point of enjoying each other’s company in different ways, like going out for the evening more often. And focus on the positives of pregnancy – the excitement of what your baby might be like, for example.

Try to find other ways to be romantic or loving, or even flirty and fun, if you go through a phase of just not being interested in sex.

Are there times when sex is not a good idea in pregnancy?

•  Bleeding

If you bleed during intercourse, stop and avoid having sex until you have seen your doctor. It may be absolutely nothing to worry about, but your doctor, midwife or gynaecologist should be consulted to rule out problems like placenta praevia.

•  Medical conditions of concern

If placenta praevia is confirmed, you should avoid having intercourse. Other conditions which might rule out intercourse include being diagnosed with an incompetent cervix.

•  Previous miscarriage

If you have lost a pregnancy before, discuss activities like sex with your doctor or midwife. It might be best to avoid intercourse during the early weeks.

• Risk of premature delivery

If your gynaecologist believes there is a risk of you going into premature labour, ask if intercourse is permissable.

•  After your waters break

In very late pregnancy, if you have ‘a show’, your waters break or there is a leak of amniotic fluid, then it is best to avoid intercourse so that your baby is not at risk from infection. If in doubt, consult your midwife.


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