Can I Have Sex During Pregnancy?

Intercourse is most likely the activity that led to your pregnancy, but some couples wonder if that is one of the last times they will experience intimacy for a long time. For healthy couples experiencing healthy pregnancies, sex during pregnancy is not a risky behavior. In fact, many couples experience a new level of intimacy and several benefits of sex during pregnancy.

Sex During the First Trimester of Pregnancy

Even though your outside appearance is probably the same, your newly pregnant body is undergoing several changes that might affect your sex drive. The rush of hormones, the increase in fatigue, and the possible morning sickness might just be enough to cause you to want to say No more than Yes. There might also be new emotions and stresses for you and your partner as you both adjust to the new roles you are embarking upon as parents. Some worry about harming the growing baby during intercourse and cause interfering anxiety. For healthy moms-to-be, though, sex during the first trimester does not have to be avoided unless recommended by a healthcare provider.

Sex During the Second Trimester of Pregnancy

Your body is now probably changing physically on the outside, perhaps causing you to have new concerns about self-image. Some women feel confident and excited about their changing features and experience an increased sex drive as their hormones level off and they have more energy. This might be the time when partners need to experiment with new positions that are more comfortable.

Sex During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy


Probably the biggest challenge for couples when it comes to sex during the third trimester is the physical reality of being 7 to 9 months pregnant. Not only has a woman’s abdomen expanded, but she might be more uncomfortable in certain positions and her partner might be hesitant about intimacy when he can feel the baby moving. For most women sex during the last trimester is perfectly healthy, but you might need to avoid lying on your back because of the increased pressure it causes on blood flow.

What Do I Need to Worry About Sex During Pregnancy?

Your growing baby is safely protected in your uterus by strong muscles and the amniotic fluid, making sex during pregnancy not typically a problem. While intercourse during pregnancy is generally considered safe, there are some precautions that partners might need to take and some risk factors of which they should be aware.

  • Use caution and speak with your healthcare provider if you have a history of premature labor and/or delivery.
  • Refrain from sexual activity if you have unexplained vaginal bleeding during pregnancy.
  • Refrain from sexual activity if you are leaking amniotic fluid.
  • Do not engage in intercourse if you are diagnosed with placenta previa (a condition where the placenta to some degrees covers the cervical opening).
  • Avoid anal sex as it can lead to a bacterial infection that can spread to your vagina and possibly enter the birth canal.
  • Use condoms if you or your partner has a sexually transmitted disease, either one of you aren’t practicing monogamy, or your healthcare provider instructs you to for other reasons.

After pregnancy it is generally advised that you wait 4 to 6 weeks before having intercourse or possibly longer if you had a C-section or trauma to the vaginal region during delivery. Make sure that you use some sort of contraceptive method to avoid becoming pregnant right away. Take it slowly and listen to your body in regards to when it feels ready to be intimate again. Don’t forget to to take the babyQ survey to improve your pregnancy health!

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Dr. Gareth Forde

About Dr. Gareth Forde

An obstetrician-gynecologist, a clinical professor, a researcher, and a father of five—and he delivered them all! He speaks and publishes extensively on maternal and child health issues, where he emphasizes the role of a healthy maternal lifestyle, good nutrition, and breastfeeding on infant development. He chose the field of obstetrics because it is a celebration of life, a happy and exciting profession. “Children are a blessing and they bring joy and laughter to the world,” he says. “I cherish my work, as a doctor and a dad.” The study of genetic imprinting is a major focus of both Dr. Forde’s research and medical practice. This looks at what happens in the womb, how the genes a baby inherits are expressed (turned on and off), and how this influences the child’s health after birth. “This field holds great promise, shedding light on many unsolved mysteries in health and disease from infancy to adulthood,” he adds. Dr. Forde grew up in London, England and Orlando, Florida. He received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and is currently pursuing a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to this, he practiced with Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners, a consortium of Saint Mary’s Health Care, Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University, and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine—where he was a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology. He also has a master’s in molecular and cellular biology from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University; a Ph.D. in environmental science (computational chemistry) from Jackson State University; and a post-doctoral fellowship in biophysics from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York.”