Sex during pregnancy

Sex is normally perfectly safe in pregnancy. Any sexual activity that doesn’t harm you will not harm your baby.

Your baby is protected in the uterus by the bag of waters, which cushions movement. Your baby may feel the movements of vigorous sexual activity, but they won’t do her any harm. Occasionally, women who have had a number of miscarriages may be advised not to have sex around the time their period would have been due, or even not at all during the first three months. There’s no evidence that sex and miscarriage are linked though, and some doctors disagree about how to advise couples in this situation.

The most important, and often the hardest, aspect of sex is communicating about it. Pregnancy can be an opportunity to talk about your feelings and desires in the context of having a baby, and build confidence for keeping that conversation going after the birth.Women and men sometimes find their desire for sex changes during pregnancy, and both may desire it more, or go off it. This is not serious or long lasting. Keep your closeness with lots of warm, physical contact that need not lead to sex, and talk about how you are feeling with each other. If sex played an important role in your lives before, then the feelings are very likely to come back in time.

  • Some women feel that sex where they or their partner are on topis a little uncomfortable in later pregnancy. You can get round thisby the person on top bearing their weight on their arms. Or tryside-by-side positions.
  • Some women and men may become less keen on penetrative sex as the pregnancy develops. It’s important to say what you feel comfortable with. There are alternatives to full intercourse that can bring sexual pleasure and physical and emotional closeness. 
    Remember that you can still contract sexually transmitted infections when you are pregnant, so if you think you are at risk of this protect yourself by using condoms.
    You may also wish to raise the subject of contraception with your midwife at this point. Remember that provision of longer acting reversible contraception (LARC) can be included in your birth plan and there are options that can be put in place before you leave hospital after the birth.
Last Updated: 01 March 2017
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