Your pregnancy and baby guideSex in pregnancy
- Getting pregnant
- Secrets to success
- Am I pregnant?
- I'm pregnant
- Early days
- Week by week
- Preparing for the birth
- Work out your due date
- Tests scans and checks
- Your pregnancy (antenatal) care
- Your health and wellbeing
- Healthy eating
- Foods to avoid
- Drinking alcohol while pregnant
- Vitamins and supplements
- Stop smoking
- Your baby's movements
- Sex in pregnancy
- Pharmacy and prescription medicines
- Reduce your risk of stillbirth
- Illegal drugs in pregnancy
- Your health at work
- Pregnancy infections
- If you're a teenager
- Existing health problems
- Common pregnancy ailments
- Pregnancy-induced conditions
- Labour and birth
- The start of labour
- The birth
- Emotions and worries
- Premature babies
- Your newborn
- How to breastfeed
- Breastfeeding problems
- Lifestyle and breastfeeding
- Bottle feeding
- Newborn screening tests
- Newborn essentials
- New parents
- New mums
- Twins and multiples
- Babies and toddlers
- Weaning and solid foods
- Baby health and care
- Spotting signs of serious illness
- Reflux in babies
- How to take a baby's temperature
- Reducing the risk of SIDS
- Treating a high temperature
- Sleep problems in children
- Coughs, colds and ear infections
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Infectious illnesses
- Children's medicines
- Looking after a sick child
- Serious conditions and special needs
- Constipation in young children
- Your baby's height and weight
- Baby health and development reviews
- Leg and foot problems in children
- Learning, play and behaviour
- Safety and accidents
It's perfectly safe to have sex during pregnancy unless your doctor or midwife has told you not to.
Having sex will not hurt your baby. Your partner's penis can't penetrate beyond your vagina, and the baby cannot tell what's going on.
However, it's normal for your sex drive to change during pregnancy. This isn't something to worry about, but it's helpful to talk about it with your partner.
Some couples find having sex very enjoyable during pregnancy, while others simply feel they don't want to. You can find other ways of being loving or making love. The most important thing is to talk about your feelings with each other.
Read more on talking about sex.
If your pregnancy is normal and you have no complications, having sex and orgasms won't increase your risk of going into labour early or cause a miscarriage.
Later in pregnancy, an orgasm or even sex itself can set off mild contractions. If this happens, you'll feel the muscles of your womb go hard. These are known as Braxton Hicks contractions and can be uncomfortable, but they're perfectly normal and there's no need for alarm. You might want to try some relaxation techniques or just lie down until the contractions pass.
When to avoid sex in pregnancy
Your midwife or doctor will probably advise you to avoid sex if you've had any heavy bleeding in this pregnancy. Sex may increase the risk of further bleeding if the placenta is low or there's a collection of blood (haematoma).
You'll also be advised to avoid sex if:
- your waters have broken – it can increase the risk of infection (ask your midwife or doctor if you're not sure whether your waters have broken)
- there are any problems with the entrance to your womb (cervix) – you may be at a higher risk of going into early labour or having a miscarriage
- you're having twins, or have previously had early labours, and are in the later stages of pregnancy
If you or your partner are having sex with other people during your pregnancy, it's important you use a barrier form of contraception, such as a condom, to protect you and your baby from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Good and bad sex positions during pregnancy
While sex is safe for most couples in pregnancy, it may not be all that easy. You will probably need to find different positions. This can be a time to explore and experiment together.
Sex with your partner on top can become uncomfortable quite early in pregnancy, not just because of the bump, but because your breasts might be tender. It can also be uncomfortable if your partner penetrates you too deeply.
It may be better to lie on your sides, either facing each other or with your partner behind.
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Page last reviewed: 20/04/2016
Next review due: 20/04/2019