Until when is it safe to be sexually intimate during pregnancy?

Pregnancy brings a mixed bag of feelings and hormonal surges in your body. The changes that you experience at this time may not be the same for any other pregnant woman. That is why sex during pregnancy is also different for everyone. Some pregnant women have an increased libido and enjoy having sex without worrying about birth control. On the other hand, sex is the absolute last thing on some women’s mind after suffering through morning sickness and other pregnancy symptoms. The prospect of having sex while pregnant also raises a lot of concerns. What are the effects of sex during pregnancy? Is it safe to have sex while pregnant? When to stop sex during pregnancy? These and many other questions that you might be too shy to ask your doctor may plague your mind. In this blog, we will answer all these doubts and cover everything relevant to it. 

Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?

In an average pregnancy without complications, you can easily have sex without worries, at least in the earlier trimesters. The manoeuvring of your body might get difficult once your stomach gets bigger in the third trimester, but you can actually have sex till before you start noticing the signs of labour.

Sexual activity does not harm your baby as he/ she is encased inside the protective layering of amniotic fluid, your uterus and abdominal muscles. This works as a cushioning against any sharp movements, outside traumas and pressure on the bump. Inside your cervix as well, there is a mucus plug that further protects the baby in your womb.

Despite all the multilayered protection your body provides to the little one, it is best to use condoms when having sex while pregnant. It is to prevent any sexually transmitted infections (STIs) from happening to you.

Woman using safe practices even for sex during pregnancy

How does sex drive change with each trimester of pregnancy?

There are many changes that your body faces from the beginning of your pregnancy and as it progresses towards the later months. However, not many of you think about how your need for sexual intimacy will be influenced at the start. Here is a general break-down of what most women feel about sex during the three trimesters of pregnancy.

  • The first trimester is usually the time when pregnant women tend to be least interested in sex. The main reason behind this disinterest is the constant tiredness, nausea and the other early signs of pregnancy that might take some time to adjust with. Some of you may see the rise in your sex life again by the end of these three months as the adjustment settles. 
  • A lot of women have stated that sex while pregnant in the second trimester is both, more appealing and more satisfying as compared to the other trimesters. By this time, you get used to your pregnancy but there is no significant roundness of your belly, making it easier to have sex. The decline in morning sickness along with increased sensitivity in your genitalia are also factors that make sex during pregnancy more enjoyable at this stage.
  • As your pregnancy progresses to the third trimester, the idea of sex once again starts losing interest. Your baby bump will be bigger and with it, there is a lot more fatigue and tiredness that hinders your libido. Not only is it physically difficult to have sex in the later parts of the third trimester, but it also does not seem worth the hassle sometimes despite it being safe. Prioritising proper rest over sexual intercourse at this time is not unnatural or unusual. 
Woman who is disinterested in sex while pregnant

When to stop sex during pregnancy?

While it is safe to have sex during pregnancy most of the time, there are cases where it is not recommended. Sex is not a good idea at any time during the pregnancy if the following situation or scenarios apply to you:

  1. If you have a history of miscarriages or preterm labour. This indicates that extra caution is needed and it is best to avoid sex while pregnant as much as possible.
  2. If you have bleedings or problems in the cervix, leading to dilation without actual labour due to growing pressure of the baby in the third trimester.
  3. If you are diagnosed with Placenta Previa, a condition where the placenta covers the cervix. One of the negative effects of sex during pregnancy with this condition is the increased risk of haemorrhaging.
  4. If you have premature rupture of membranes (PROM) or your water has broken before labour, you definitely should not be having sex. 
  5. If you experience an outbreak of herpes and any other sexually transmitted infections or diseases, it is the time when you stop sex during pregnancy.
  6. If you experience bleeding or any type of foul-smelling discharge during or after sex, it is a red flag that should not be ignored. Tell your doctor about this right away and put a hold on the sex until you are medically cleared for it.
Partners take decisions about sex during pregnancy with open communication

Each pregnancy is different and therefore, the effects of sex during pregnancy also vary from person to person. What is necessary here is to be vigilant about any signs of distress that your body is showing and having clear communication about this with both your doctor and your partner. Pregnancy is a delicate time that requires extra caution when performing physical acts like sexual intercourse. It is better to be aware of all aspects of sex during pregnancy and act accordingly.

FAQs About Sex While Pregnant

Q1. Will sex feel different in pregnancy?

Ans. Most pregnant find that sex does feel different during pregnancy. Due to the hormonal changes that your body goes through in pregnancy, some of you may feel more desire for sex and subsequently feel more satisfied after. While some of you may not feel up to it at all due to tiredness, body aches, cramps or feeling unsettled in your own body. Whether it is a positive or negative response, it is highly likely that sex will feel different in pregnancy.

Q2. Does pregnancy affect the partner’s sex drive?

Ans. While most partners usually find your pregnancy an additional attractive aspect of the bond between the two of you, it can also reduce their sex drive sometimes. The main reason for that might be their worries about your safety, the realisations of impending parenthood and just the changing dynamics of the relationship. Be sure to talk to them about what you want and consult your doctor how safe is sex in a particular stage of pregnancy.

Q3. Will sex during pregnancy in the third-trimester trigger labour?

Ans. If you have an average, low-risk pregnancy without complications, sexual intercourse and orgasms do not trigger labour. Sometimes orgasms may cause mild contractions but they are not usually a topic of concern. While there is a common pregnancy myth that having sex near your due date will help in inducing labour, there are no scientific backings for this. In conclusion, you can safely enjoy sex while pregnant as long as your doctor clears it.

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