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Is It Safe to Have Sex During Pregnancy?

written by: Stephanie Mojica • edited by: Emma Lloyd • updated: 10/1/2010

For most women, yes, it is safe to have sex during pregnancy. However, this may be different for high-risk pregnancies and other situations. Learn more in the full article.

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    The Short Answer

    If this is your first child, you may be wondering, is it safe to have sex during pregnancy? For the majority of women, yes, it is safe. However, women with a history of miscarriage or who are experiencing high-risk pregnancies should avoid intercourse while expecting.

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    Exceptions

    Women with a history of premature labor should avoid sex during pregnancy, according to the March of Dimes. Expectant moms with unexplained vaginal bleeding or discharge also are advised to abstain from intercourse. Ladies suffering from unexplained cramps or who have a history of placental problems during pregnancy also should choose not to have sex during their terms. If a doctor orders bed rest or a pregnant woman notices leaking amniotic fluid, then intercourse also should be avoided. Also, any expectant mom with a weakened cervix should not engage in intercourse during her term.

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    Activities Everyone Should Avoid While Expecting

    The Mayo Clinic advises all expectant mothers, even if they aren’t experiencing high-risk pregnancies, to avoid anal intercourse. Also, be sure that your partner does not blow air into your vagina while performing oral sex; a sudden implosion of air can cause potentially fatal blood clots especially during pregnancy, notes the March of Dimes and Kids Health. If you are unsure about your partner’s STD or HIV status, don’t have unprotected sex while pregnant. You and your baby can still contracted sexually transmitted diseases, some of which can truly harm you both, during pregnancy.

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    Debunking Common Myths

    First, your future son or daughter will not “know” that sex is occurring and undergo resulting emotional trauma. Also, a penis or an object cannot come close to your growing baby, because the amniotic sac protects the fetus from any possibility of this occurrence.

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    Sex Drive During Pregnancy

    The sex drive of a pregnant woman tends to wax and wane during her term. During the first trimester, hormonal changes along with side effects usually cause an expectant mom’s libido to plummet. The nausea, vomiting and headaches that often occur in early pregnancy may create a situation where you just don’t want to make love with your partner.

    Many pregnant women feel most sexual during the second trimester; most uncomfortable pregnancy side effects usually don’t happen during this phase. Also, those same hormonal changes that sapped the libido during the earliest weeks of pregnancy may now boost that sex drive.

    The third trimester is when many expectant moms prefer to avoid sex, due to hormonal dips, backaches and frequent urination, body discomfort due to the increased belly size and also preoccupation with the imminent delivery. Although perfectly safe in the first two trimesters, intercourse during the third trimester has some risks attached, as in some cases the chemicals found in semen can cause premature labor.

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    References

    KidsHealth: Sex During Pregnancy

    http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_newborn/pregnancy/sex_pregnancy.html

    March of Dimes: Sex During Pregnancy

    http://www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/159_516.asp

    Mayo Clinic: Sex During Pregnancy

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sex-during-pregnancy/HO00140