Sex during pregnancy: What’s OK, what’s not

Has pregnancy spiked your interest in sex? Or is it the last thing on your mind? Either way, here’s what you need to know about sex during pregnancy.

Many women worry about having pregnancy sex – especially as baby gets bigger (many expectant fathers do, too!). While your body is probably changing faster than you ever thought possible, don’t let your imagination run too wild. After all, overthinking pregnancy sex can stomp out the romance that got you pregnant in the first place! To help you put your fears to bed, see which of your pregnancy sex fears are actually worth worrying about:

You don’t want to hurt the baby! If your maternal instinct kicks in early, just relax and give yourself a little credit. After all, it’s your own body that keeps your baby well-cushioned and protected with layers of flesh and plenty of fluids to boot. While you and your partner get it on, your baby will rest safely inside your amniotic sac. And for the record, a secure mucous plug in your cervix separates your amniotic sac and uterus from the rest of the world — including your partner during penetration.

You think that your orgasm might trigger early labor. Unless you doctor says that you’re at high risk for a miscarriage or preterm labor, or you have a specific placenta problem, there’s no reason to avoid it. While it’s true that orgasms do cause your uterus to contract, that’s OK. Even if your climax is particularly intense, these contractions aren’t harmful — they’re not a sign of labor (and won’t trigger it unless your body is really ready to give birth). So let loose, and enjoy the pleasure you deserve. Need a little extra motivation? Keep this in mind: Sex actually reduces your risk of preterm labor!

You worry that your baby is watching. Again, it’s sweet of you to think of your baby first. And while it’s nice to think that your little one perks up at the sound of your voice, the truth is that it’s not remotely possible for your baby to actually see what you’re doing, let alone remember it. Whats more, your baby might actually enjoy the gentle rocking of your uterine contractions during orgasm.

You’re concerned that sex could infect your baby, but do not worry. When you’re pregnant, your mucus plug means your cervix is pretty much closed for business. What’s more, your all-powerful amniotic sac works better than a weather-proof onesie to protect your baby from the elements – including semen and any infectious organisms. Of course, that’s assuming your partner doesn’t have a sexually transmittable disease – so because you’re better off safe than sorry (with or without a baby on the way), make sure any new partner gets tested before you get busy.

When it comes to oral sex, it is safe during pregnancy. If you receive oral sex, though, make sure your partner doesn’t blow air into your vagina. Rarely, a burst of air might block a blood vessel (air embolism) — which could be a life-threatening condition for you and the baby.

Anal sex isn’t recommended during pregnancy. Anal sex might be uncomfortable if you have pregnancy-related hemorrhoids. More concerning, anal sex might allow infection-causing bacteria to spread from the rectum to the vagina.

In conclusion, traditional sex during pregnancy really isn’t all that dangerous. And if for any reason it does pose particular risks for you – you can count on your practitioner to let you know.