When Not to Have Sex During Pregnancy

Talk with your nurse about whether it’s safe to have sex while you’re pregnant. They may advise you not to have sex if you have any of the following types of high-risk pregnancy:

  • You’re at risk for miscarriage or history of past miscarriages
  • You’re at risk for preterm labor (contractions before 37 weeks of pregnancy)
  • You’re having vaginal bleeding, discharge, or cramping without a known cause
  • Your amniotic sac is leaking fluid or has ruptured membranes
  • Your cervix has opened too early in pregnancy
  • Your placenta is too low in the uterus (placenta previa)
  • You’re expecting twins, triplets, or other “multiples”

Keep in mind that if your physician says “no sex,” that may include anything that involves orgasm or sexual arousal, not just intercourse. Discuss it so you’re clear on what they mean.

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Is Sex Safe During Pregnancy?

Sex is a natural, normal part of pregnancy — if you’re having a normal pregnancy. Penetration and intercourse’s movement won’t harm the baby, who is protected by your abdomen and the uterus’ muscular walls. Your baby is also cushioned by the amniotic sac’s fluid.

The contractions of orgasm aren’t the same as labor contractions. Still, as a general safety precaution, some doctors advise avoiding sex in the final weeks of pregnancy, believing that hormones in semen called prostaglandins can stimulate contractions. One exception may be for women who are overdue and want to induce labor. Some doctors believe that prostaglandins in semen actually induce labor in a full-term or past-due pregnancy, since the gel used to “ripen” the cervix and induce labor also contains prostaglandins. But other doctors think that this semen/labor connection is only a theory and that having sex doesn’t trigger labor.

Call your Nurse if you have unusual symptoms during or after sex, such as:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Fluid or discharge
  • Significant discomfort 
  • Contractions

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