Sex

Sex is what got you pregnant, so there is no reason to believe that sex cannot be enjoyed during pregnancy as well. The fetus is well protected by the amniotic fluid in the womb and the woman’s cervix, so intercourse will not harm the baby. Women often find that their sex drive changes during each trimester. Morning sickness can decrease sex drive in the first few months while often in the second and third trimesters there is a marked increase in libido despite the body changes that may make sex slightly less comfortable, such as a growing belly and tender, full breasts. There are various positions, for example, lying on your side with your partner behind you, or kneeling on hands and knees with partner behind you, that may make it easier to negotiate your changing form.

When to abstain

Rarely do we tell patients not to have intercourse during pregnancy (and remember, sex does not need to be limited to just intercourse). Circumstances that require abstaining from intercourse include: placenta previa (the placenta is overlying the cervix), ruptured membranes, or an incompetent cervix (a stitch is required to reinforce the cervix). We frequently see women in Labour and Delivery who have spotting with intercourse, the cervix is more sensitive to minor trauma so light spotting is considered normal. If you experience more than spotting you need to be assessed to make sure there are no problems.

Will I go into labour?

Women often report a crampy feeling or uterine contractions following intercourse; this can be due to orgasm (uterine contractions that may be related to the hormone oxytocin) and/or something in your partner’s semen called prostaglandins (we sometimes use prostaglandins to ripen the cervix or induce labour). While this crampy feeling may be unnerving, there is no evidence that either orgasm or prostaglandins in your partner's ejaculate will put you in to labour or cause preterm labour.

Pregnancy & Understanding your Sexual Health

Pregnancy & Understanding your Sexual Health -- or simply "PUSH" -- is a website designed by medical professionals from the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at Queen's University. PUSH exists to answer the most common questions people have about sexual health during and after pregnancy, as well as to debunk some of the more popular myths. Please follow the link below to visit the PUSH website.

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