Sex and Pregnancy
Your sexual desire and comfort with having sex during pregnancy may stay the same, increase, or decrease. It’s different for everyone.
Changes that may make you more or less interested in sex are:
- Morning sickness.
- Feeling tired.
- Being more sensitive in areas such as the breasts and belly.
- Increased blood flow to the pelvic area.
- Physical discomfort such as back pain.
- Feeling “big” and awkward or feeling beautiful and attractive.
- Leaking fluid (colostrum) from the breasts when they are stimulated.
- Uncomfortable contractions of the uterus with orgasm.
- Fears and myths about sex causing miscarriage, preterm labour, infection, or harm to baby.
Is Sex During Pregnancy Safe?
If you are experiencing a healthy pregnancy, sex is safe even up to the start of labour. The baby is protected in its sac of amniotic fluid and by your strong uterine wall. Speak to your health care provider if you have a history of preterm labour, there is a problem with your placenta (a low lying placenta or placenta previa (meaning the placenta is covering the cervical opening)), or have other concerns.
Myth: Having sex during pregnancy could cause a miscarriage.
Fact: Most miscarriages happen because the fetus is not developing normally.
Note: Pregnancy does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) which can harm you and your baby. If you are with a new partner or a partner who may be infected with an STI, use a condom to reduce your risk.
Tips on Having Sex
- Talk, listen, and share your concerns with your partner. This helps avoid hurt feelings.
- If tired in the evening, try the morning, afternoon, or when you feel more rested.
- If your breasts leak colostrum, consider wearing a comfortable bra.
- Explore activities that bring you both pleasure. Intimacy also includes touching, kissing, massage, sex play without penetration, shallow penetration, and oral sex. Oral sex is safe in pregnancy if your partner:
- doesn’t have a cold sore. The herpes virus could cause a serious infection.
- avoids blowing air into your vagina. This could result in the dangerous
condition of an air bubble blocking a blood vessel (embolism).
- Try different positions using pillows to provide support where needed. Try side-lying or on your hands and knees with your partner behind you to reduce weight on your belly.
- If you need lubrication, choose a water-soluble gel (e.g. KY Jelly) or a lubricated condom. Do not use Vaseline.
- Don’t be alarmed if after love making you experience mild cramps, a little spotting, or your uterus becoming hard for a few minutes. It is normal for the uterus to contract during an orgasm. This is more noticeable as the uterus gets bigger in pregnancy.
As always, talk to your health care provider if you have any questions or if you experience any unusual symptoms during sex.
Your Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy – Canada.ca
PRHC Women’s Healthcare Centre