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Health & Pregnancy

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Is It Safe to Have Sex During Pregnancy?

Indeed it is, says our expert, as long as you take certain precautions.

WebMD Magazine - Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask our experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics. In our July-August 2011 issue, Sarah McMoyler, RN, a WebMD pregnancy expert, answered a question about sex during pregnancy.

Q: I'm six months pregnant, and my husband and I still want to have sex. Is it safe?

A: Yes, it is safe to have sex unless your pregnancy is high-risk -- for example, if you have placenta previa (when the placenta blocks the cervix), your doctor has placed a cerclage or surgical stitch to keep your cervix closed, or you are in preterm labor. Your baby is in a protected environment inside the amniotic sac and is buoyant from the amniotic fluid. Also, your cervix is blocked by a mucus plug, so there’s no risk of the penis “bumping” the baby.

The main issues around sex for expectant women are usually desire and/or comfort. Some women feel voluptuous and enjoy their growing breasts and new curves; others take awhile to come to terms with the dramatic physical changes their bodies are undergoing. A pregnant woman’s partner can help her feel more attractive and receptive to romance by reassuring her that she looks beautiful and her body is exciting.

That said, pregnant women shouldn’t spend too much time flat on their back. So consider lying on your side, getting on your hands and knees, or being on top during intercourse. If a woman doesn’t feel like having intercourse at all, there are other options for connecting with each other: Exchange foot massages, cuddle, or take a bath. Just have fun -- the baby is coming soon!

Reviewed on July 12, 2011

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