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Is sexual intercourse in the third trimester safe?

Dr. Madeleine M. Castellanos, MD
Psychiatrist (Therapist)

Having sexual intercourse in the third trimester is generally safe.  If you start having spotting, bleeding, or leaking any amniotic fluid you should wait to have intercourse until evaluated by your obstetrician. Obviously, some positions are more comfortable than others, and you should choose positions that allow proper blood flow and don't put too much strain on your back. Usually spooning with vaginal entry from behind (man laying behind the woman) resting on your left side is a good choice. Remember that during the eighth and ninth month, a pregnant woman should rest more on her left side rather than flat on her back or on her right side so as not to put pressure on her main blood vessels.

Sexual intercourse is safe in the third trimester as long as there are no problems and the doctor approves.

Dr. Peter T. Nassar, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

Definitely for most pregnancies. If your physician has already told you that you are a high-risk pregnancy or your doctor has told you not to have intercourse, then it may not be safe for you. But, sex during the last part of the pregnancy is usually very safe. The baby is being cushioned by the amniotic fluid and the cervix, which are positioned between the vagina and the baby.

Although intercourse won’t hurt the baby, a woman shouldn’t lay flat on her back for long periods of time, because that position can actually compress the large blood vessels that travel behind your uterus. Being in that position for long periods can make you a little lightheaded, or decrease the amount of blood going to your baby.

Your doctor may recommend abstaining from intercourse if you have active preterm labor, if your water bag is broken or if you are experiencing a strange discharge or unexplained bleeding from the vagina.

Some people have a condition called placenta previa, where the placenta actually covers the cervix. In that case, there should be no intercourse throughout the entire pregnancy. Intercourse with this condition may cause the placenta to bleed, which could be dangerous to mom and baby.

Most patients without any complications can have intercourse late into the pregnancy.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.