Sex during Pregnancy

Sex while you’re pregnant
Some women find that during their pregnancy they feel more like having sex whereas other women go off it completely. Lots of women feel too scared to have sex in case it harms their baby. Here we explore how your sex life changes when you become pregnant.

Is sex safe during pregnancy?
If your pregnancy is normal then it’s perfectly safe to have sex. There’s even some evidence that having sex while you’re pregnant means you are less likely to have an early birth. There are some conditions that mean it’s not safe to have sex though. These include having a placenta that is too low or if you have had problems with an early labour in previous pregnancies. If you have had bleeding from your vagina then you might also have been told to avoid sex.

Your baby is well protected by your womb and a bag of fluid around it so there’s no way that he or she could be injured by sex. If you orgasm then your baby might move around more but that’s perfectly normal.

Will it feel the same?
Even though sex has been shown to be safe during a normal pregnancy, many women are still too anxious to be able to relax and enjoy sex. This is a common cause of sex feeling different. However, some women find that they enjoy sex much more while they are pregnant. You have more blood flow through your vagina and vulva during pregnancy which can make things feel more sensitive. You might find that you set off some Braxton Hicks if you orgasm but again, this isn’t harmful.

If you can’t relax and are concerned then you will not be able to become as aroused. This can lead to a lack of lubrication which in turn can make intercourse uncomfortable. You might find that you are a little dryer anyway in your pregnancy so using a lubricant will make things feel more comfortable. Gel is an excellent safe lubricant that it also organic. If you use an oil based gel followed by a water based gel on top this gives better lubrication and it lasts a lot longer too.

Some women do find it harder to reach orgasm while they are pregnant. This is more likely to be because of anxiety rather than any physical cause.

It’s quite common to have sexual dreams while you are expecting, often involving people other than their partner! This doesn’t mean anything and is just thought to be due to blood flow through your pelvic area.

Towards the end of your pregnancy, deep penetration can become uncomfortable.

Can I still use sex toys?
There isn’t any evidence that you can damage your baby or bring on labour by using  a vibrator or dildo.  You need to make sure you clean any sex toys really well to avoid infection. Never use the same sex toy for your bottom and your vagina.

And what about the men?
Just like women, it can go both ways. Some men find their partners more attractive while they are pregnant but some men are worried about hurting them or the baby.

Is there anything we should avoid?
As your pregnancy progresses, you might find it uncomfortable to have your partner on top of you. Oral sex is safe but you should avoid blowing into the vagina.

Tips for positions during pregnancy:

  1. You on top – this means that there isn’t any weight on top of you. You can also control how deep your partner goes which can be helpful if deep penetration is uncomfortable.
  2. Spoons – try lying on your sides with your partner behind you.
  3. Lying at the foot of the bed with your partner standing or kneeling in front of you
  4. Sitting on your partner
  5. On your hands and knees or doggy position

By Alison Bourne MA (Cantab) BSc MCSP ACPWH


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