Sex During Pregnancy
Can I have sex during pregnancy without harming my baby?
Yes. There is no reason to change or alter your sexual activity during pregnancy unless your health care provider advises otherwise. Intercourse or orgasm during pregnancy will not harm your baby, unless you have a medical problem. Remember that your baby is well protected in your uterus by the amniotic fluid that surrounds him or her.
Your health care provider may recommend not having intercourse early in pregnancy if you have a history of miscarriages. Intercourse may also be restricted if you have certain complications of pregnancy, such as pre-term labor or bleeding. You may need to ask your health care provider to clarify if this means no penetration, no orgasms or no sexual arousal, as different complications may require different restrictions.
Comfort during intercourse
As your pregnancy progresses, changing positions may become necessary for your comfort. This may also be true after your baby is born.
A water-based lubricant may be used during intercourse if necessary.
During intercourse, you should not feel pain. During orgasm, your uterus will contract. If you have any contractions that are painful or regular, please contact your health care provider. Also, discontinue intercourse and call your health care provider immediately if you have heavy vaginal bleeding or if your water breaks (nothing should enter the vagina after your water breaks).
Communicate with your partner
Talk to your partner -- tell your partner how you feel, especially if you have mixed feelings about sex during pregnancy. Encourage your partner to communicate with you, especially if you notice changes in your partner's responsiveness. Communicating with your partner can help you both better understand your feelings and desires.
Will my desires change?
It is common for your desires to be different now that you are pregnant. Changing hormones cause some women to experience an increased sex drive during pregnancy, while others may not be as interested in sex as they were before they became pregnant.
During the first trimester, some women commonly lose interest in sex because they are tired and uncomfortable, while other women's desires stay the same.
Take time for intimacy
If your health care provider has limited your sexual activity, or if you are not in the mood for intercourse, remember to take time for intimacy with your partner. Being intimate does not require having intercourse -- love and affection can be expressed in many ways.
Remind yourselves of the love that created your developing baby. Enjoy your time together -- you can take long romantic walks, candlelit dinners, or give each other back rubs.
How soon can I have sex after my baby is born?
In general, you can resume sexual activity when you have recovered, when your bleeding has stopped, and when you and your partner feel comfortable.
Your health care provider may recommend that you wait until after your first postpartum health care appointment before having intercourse with your partner.
After pregnancy, some women notice a lack of vaginal lubrication during intercourse. A water-based lubricant may be used during intercourse to decrease the discomfort of vaginal dryness.
Women who only feed their babies breast milk experience a delay in ovulation (when an egg is released from the ovary) and menstruation. But, ovulation will occur before you start having menstrual periods again, so remember that you can still become pregnant during this time. Follow your health care provider's recommendations on the appropriate method of birth control to use.
This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional written health information, please contact the Health Information Center at the Cleveland Clinic (216) 444-3771 or toll-free (800) 223-2273 extension 43771 or visit www.clevelandclinic.org/health This document was last reviewed on: 9/9/2002