Pregnant Together: things you should know about pregnancy and sex

Written by: Anel Martínez



Time to read 4 min

As a future dad or caregiver, you may have questions and concerns about maintaining a healthy and enjoyable sexual relationship during this special time. I’m here to provide you with relevant information and important considerations to help you navigate this topic with confidence and understanding. Whether you’re curious about the safety of sexual intercourse, the impact on the baby, positions to try or avoid, or changes in sexual desire, my aim is to address your queries and provide valuable insights. 

Let’s explore the fascinating world of sex during pregnancy together and empower you with the knowledge you need for a comfortable experience.

Husband holding pregnant belly

Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?

Absolutely! Sex is indeed more than just penetration. It encompasses a range of intimate activities and connections between partners that can bring pleasure, emotional bonding, and fulfillment. While penetration is one aspect of sexual activity, it’s important to remember that sexual intimacy during pregnancy can involve various forms of stimulation, touch, oral sex, mutual masturbation, sensual massages, and exploration of erogenous zones. These activities can help maintain and enhance intimacy between partners, even if penetration may be uncomfortable or off-limits for certain individuals during pregnancy.

Sexual intimacy is a deeply personal and individual experience, and what brings pleasure and satisfaction may vary between couples. It’s crucial to have open and honest communication with your partner about your desires, boundaries, and what feels good for both of you during this time. Exploring non-penetrative forms of sexual expression can be equally fulfilling and enjoyable, allowing you to maintain intimacy and connection throughout your pregnancy journey.

Can sexual intercourse harm the baby?

In most cases, sexual intercourse does not harm the baby during a healthy pregnancy. The baby is well protected by the amniotic sac and uterine muscles. Additionally, the cervix is sealed with a mucus plug, preventing external substances from entering the uterus.

However, there are situations where sexual intercourse may need to be avoided or modified, such as preterm labor history, placenta previa, a dilated cervix, or specific medical advice from your healthcare provider. Consulting with your healthcare provider will help determine what is safe and appropriate for you or your partner.

Are there any positions to avoid during sex while pregnant?

While there isn’t a definitive list of positions to avoid, some positions can be more comfortable and reduce strain on the pregnant body. Consider the following:

Future mum and dad touching pregnant belly
  • Avoid positions that put direct pressure on the abdomen, such as missionary position.

  • Modify positions to suit your partner’s comfort, using pillows or cushions for support.

  • Explore positions that offer control and comfort, like being on top.

It’s important to find what works best for the pregnant person and their comfort level. 

Can orgasms trigger contractions or affect the pregnancy?

Orgasms and the accompanying uterine contractions are generally safe during a healthy pregnancy. They are similar to Braxton Hicks contractions (referred to as prodromal or “false labor” pains: sporadic contractions and relaxation of the uterine muscle occur intermittently) and usually not a cause for concern.

Orgasms and the accompanying uterine contractions are generally safe during a healthy pregnancy.

If you experience any unusual symptoms after sexual activity, contacting your healthcare provider is important.

What changes can occur in a pregnant woman’s sexual desire or libido?

It is true that pregnancy can lead to changes in sexual desire or libido, which vary among individuals. Factors such as hormonal shifts, physical discomfort, and emotional changes influence these changes. 

  • First trimester: Some women or people with vulva may experience a decrease in libido due to fatigue, nausea, or breast tenderness.

  • Second trimester: Many people may experience increased sexual desire due to improved well-being, reduced nausea and fatigue, and increased blood flow to the pelvic area.

  • Third trimester: Libido can be more variable, with some women still experiencing increased desire and others feeling decreased desire due to physical discomfort or concerns about labor and birth.

What happens if my partner doesn’t want to have sex during pregnancy?

If your partner does not want to engage in sexual activity during pregnancy, it is important to respect their feelings and choices. Pregnancy can bring about various physical and emotional changes that may affect an individual’s desire for sex. Here are some steps you can take in such a situation:

1. Communication: Openly communicate with your partner about their concerns, feelings, and reasons for not wanting to have sex. Create a safe and non-judgmental space for them to express themselves.

2. Understanding: Try to empathize with your partner and understand that their reluctance may stem from physical discomfort, hormonal changes, fear, anxiety, or other personal reasons. Validate their feelings and assure them that their well-being and comfort are of utmost importance.

4. Emotional support: Offer emotional support to your partner by listening, reassuring, and being understanding. Pregnancy can be a challenging time, and your partner may need your understanding and patience.

5. Seek professional guidance: If the issue persists or causes significant distress in your relationship, consider seeking professional help. A healthcare provider or a couples’ therapist specializing in reproductive health can offer guidance, support, and suggestions for maintaining intimacy during pregnancy.

3. Seek alternatives: Explore other ways to maintain intimacy and connection during pregnancy. This could involve non-sexual forms of physical affection, such as cuddling, holding hands, massages, or spending quality time together.

Couple in love expecting a child
The take away

Sex during pregnancy is a normal and natural part of many couples’ relationships. While there may be some physical and emotional changes that can impact sexual desire and comfort, it’s essential to remember that every pregnancy is unique. Open communication, understanding, and mutual respect between partners play key roles in navigating this intimate journey together. It’s important to listen to each other’s needs, and explore alternative ways to maintain intimacy and connection. Ultimately, with care, support, and a focus on the well-being of both partners, sex during pregnancy can continue to be a fulfilling and enjoyable aspect of the relationship.

Anel Martínez

Author: Anel Martínez  (Sexual Coach at MYHIXEL)

Sexologist specializing in sex therapy and sex education, mental health and human behavior.