Sex During Pregnancy Is Safe and Normal
Having sex during pregnancy may be the last thing on a woman’s—or man’s—mind, but for many couples, the desire and need for sexual intimacy is just as strong, or stronger, than ever. But is it safe? A new study puts to bed the concerns about safety to mother and child regarding sex during pregnancy.
Sex during pregnancy has few risks
According to the authors of a new primer for doctors, “Sex in pregnancy is normal,” and “There are very few proven contraindications and risks to intercourse in low-risk pregnancies, and therefore these patients should be reassured.” The study appears in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Reassurance or not, during the first trimester many women experience the typical symptoms of pregnancy, including nausea, vomiting, and fatigue, which may make them not feel amorous. However, according to Monica Foreman (now Foreman-Hyacinthe), MD, an obstetrician at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, during the second trimester, women “are feeling better, there is more lubrication, and they have engorgement in the genital area,” in a WebMD article.
In the new report, Dr. Clair Jones, Department of Obstetrics, Mount Sinai Hospital and University of Toronto, and her coauthors point out there are potential but uncommon risks of engaging in sexual intercourse during pregnancy, including premature labor, pelvic inflammatory disease, blood clots, and bleeding in the placenta previa (when the placenta grows in the lower uterus and covers part of the cervix).
They noted that evidence to restrict sexual intercourse for women who are at risk of premature labor is limited and contradictory, and that frequent intercourse was found to be associated with a greater risk of premature labor only in women who had lower genital tract infections.
Although women who are carrying more than one baby, who have a history of premature labor, or who have placenta previa are at higher risk of premature labor, even then “there is no evidence to suggest a clear benefit from restricted sexual activity.” Jones does note, however, that abstinence “may be a reasonable recommendation until better evidence emerges.”
In addition, the authors point out there is no evidence that having sex or orgasm at term will induce labor. The bottom line is that sex during pregnancy can be safe, it is normal, and that pregnant women and their partners should use comfort and readiness as their barometer. Women who have any concerns should consult their physician.
Jones C et al. Sex in pregnancy. Canadian Medical Association Journal 2011 Jan. 31