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Sex During Pregnancy

Topic Overview

Vaginal intercourse can be continued as usual if your pregnancy is uncomplicated. Discuss any concerns or questions with your doctor.

Sex during the first trimester will not cause any problems, such as a miscarriage. The fetus will not be harmed during sex, because it floats in amniotic fluid that acts as a cushion.

Your interest in sex may change throughout your pregnancy. For example, nausea and fatigue in the first trimester and physical discomfort from your enlarged uterus in the last trimester may affect your desire for sexual contact.

Sex during the second or third trimesters will not usually cause any problems. Later in pregnancy, you may find sex most comfortable when you lie on your side. Also, orgasm close to your delivery date may start uterine contractions.

Your doctor will probably advise you to avoid sexual intercourse if any of the following occur:

  • The placenta covers or partially covers your cervix (placenta previa).
  • Your "water" (amniotic sac) has broken (ruptured membranes).
  • Contractions start earlier than 37 weeks (preterm labor).

If you are infected with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) during pregnancy, it can cause serious problems for you and the fetus. If you are or may be pregnant and are considering having sexual intercourse with a new partner or a partner who may be infected with an STI, use condoms to protect yourself and your baby.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised July 23, 2012

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