Sex During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?
Have fun, listen to your body, and be open with your partner.
Reasons to Avoid Sex in Pregnancy
Sex during pregnancy may not be safe for women with a history of repeated
miscarriages, preterm labor, bleeding, or an incompetent cervix (a condition in
which the cervix effaces and dilates without contractions in the second or
early third trimester, when the baby’s weight puts increasing pressure on it),
That’s not all. Women with placenta previa (a condition where the placenta
is covering the cervix) are at risk of hemorrhaging if they have sex during
pregnancy. Women with premature rupture of membranes (PROM), which occurs when
the sac containing the developing baby and the amniotic fluid bursts or
develops a hole before labor, should also avoid sex during pregnancy, Salasche
“If there are not any contraindications, a woman can have intercourse
throughout her whole pregnancy,” Foreman says.
Other red flags that sex during pregnancy may not be wise may occur after
intercourse. “If you have bleeding or foul-smelling discharge after sex during
pregnancy, tell your doctor right away,” she says. Discharge may be a sign of
an infection that can travel upward to the uterus, and bleeding may be a sign
of a problem in general.
Pregnant women should also be aware that if their partner has an STD, they
still need to use a barrier method of contraception, such as a condom, to
“Most people think, ‘I am pregnant, I don’t need contraception,‘ but you
still need a barrier method for protection against STDs,” says Manju Monga, MD,
the Berel Held Professor and the division director of maternal-fetal medicine
at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston.
Let’s Talk About Sex During Pregnancy
“We discuss intercourse in the general prenatal discussion because a lot of
women feel uncomfortable bringing into up,” Foreman says. “We tell them what is
and isn’t OK.”
“I do bring up sex during pregnancy when it is contraindicated,” says
Monga, who sees mainly high-risk patients. “Physicians who see low-risk
pregnant patients on a day-to-day basis discuss sex at the first prenatal
visit, but I tend to see women later in their pregnancy, when they develop
The bottom line when it comes to sex during pregnancy is “to have fun,
listen to your body, and be open with your partner,” Salache says.