What precautions should I take during sex while pregnant?

Hilda Y. Hutcherson, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)

For most couples, intercourse and other sexual ac­tivities are safe all the way up until her water breaks. There are cases, though, where your physician, nurse, or midwife may recommend that you abstain from intercourse and/or orgasm. When placed on sex restrictions, it’s important to ask whether you can have intercourse, orgasm through other means like oral sex or masturbation, or neither. These re­strictions include:

•   A history of preterm labor (delivering a baby earlier than 37 weeks)

•  A history of miscarriage

•   Signs of preterm labor, such as premature uterine contractions

•  Unexplained vaginal discharge, bleeding, or cramping

•  Leakage of amniotic fluid

•   Incompetent cervix (a condition in which the cervix dilates prematurely, raising the risk for preterm delivery or miscarriage)

•   Placenta previa (a condition in which the placenta covers the cervix)

•   Multiple fetuses, such as twins, triplets, etc.

•   If you aren’t in any of these categories but ex­perience bleeding, pain, or cramping just after intercourse or orgasm that doesn’t disappear after a few minutes, call your healthcare practitioner.

 

 

The Good in Bed Guide to Sex and the Baby Years

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Unless you are experiencing pregnancy complications, it is safe to continue having an active sex life until your water breaks or you are in labor. Sexual activity does not cause miscarriage and will not hurt your baby. The baby is kept safe by the amniotic sac, cervix, and uterine muscle. There is also a thick mucous plug that seals the cervix and protects the baby from infection.

You may need to abstain from some or all sexual activity if you have symptoms of preterm labor; vaginal bleeding; leakage of amniotic fluid; placenta previa (when the placenta is covering the cervix); or what is called "incompetent cervix," a condition in which the cervix is weakened and dilates (opens) prematurely, raising the risk for miscarriage or premature delivery.

If you are experiencing these pregnancy complications, your health care provider will advise you to stop having sex. Be sure to talk openly with your provider about why, and what specifically she or he recommends that you stop doing. If you have preterm labor, you will want to avoid uterine contractions; therefore, nipple stimulation and orgasms are not a good idea. With other conditions, these sexual activities are fine? original , but you should avoid vaginal penetration.

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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.