Sex During Pregnancy: Can It Harm the Baby?

For most pregnant people, having sex during pregnancy is completely safe, unless your healthcare provider has told you not to.

Key takeaways:
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    Sex during pregnancy is generally safe, and you can enjoy it up until your water has broken, unless your healthcare provider has told you otherwise.
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    The developing baby is protected by amniotic fluid, the uterine muscles, and the mucus plug and will not be harmed during sex. Sex during pregnancy does not increase the risk of miscarriage.
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    During pregnancy, sex may become uncomfortable due to body changes. If you do not wish to have sex, that is okay.

Penetration of the vagina from a penis or sex toy will not harm the baby, as the cervix prevents them from reaching beyond the vagina. The baby will not be harmed from penetration or feel it in any way.

Sex during pregnancy – is it safe?

If you are experiencing a typical pregnancy, having sex while pregnant is safe and will not harm the developing baby or parent. The developing baby is protected by amniotic fluid, the muscles surrounding the uterus, and the mucus plug, which helps to prevent infections from entering the uterus. These protect the developing baby from many things, including sex and penetration of the vagina.

However, there are some instances where having penetrative sex while pregnant may be harmful to the parent or developing baby. These include:

  • Heavy bleeding.
  • Preterm labor.
  • Problems with the placenta.
  • Problems with the cervix.
  • After your water has broken.
  • Multiple pregnancies.

If you believe you are experiencing any of these, it is best to consult with your healthcare provider before having sex.

Sex and miscarriage

Some parents believe that having sex during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage. However, for the majority of pregnant people, there is no evidence to support this. Most miscarriages that happen, particularly in the first trimester, are due to chromosome abnormalities, which are outside of the parent’s control.

Sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy

Sexually transmitted infections can cause harm to both the developing baby and the parent. If your partner has a sexually transmitted infection, all forms of sex should be avoided until they have received a negative test result.

If you have sex with a new partner or are in a non-monogamous relationship during pregnancy, barrier protection should be used for forms of sex, including vaginal, oral, and anal.

Tips on how to get comfortable during sex

Many pregnant people start to feel uncomfortable doing daily activities as their belly grows and their body changes, and this is also true for sex. If you want to have sex, but are looking for ways to feel more comfortable (and easy) while doing so, consider these tips.

Get creative with positions

As your body grows and changes, so must your sex positions, and these will change throughout your pregnancy, depending on your comfort levels. While the baby bump might be the obvious obstacle to work around, many pregnant people also find that they have to adjust the way they have sex to account for swollen and tender breasts and painful penetration.

There are many different positions you can try, such as the spoon position, where both you and your partner lie on your sides while your partner penetrates you from behind. Or you could lay on your back, on the edge of the bed, while your partner stands on the ground and penetrates you.

These positions will look different for everyone, as each pregnancy is different, and everyone has different comfort levels. What’s most important is that you communicate with your partner about what feels good and what doesn't, so you can work together to have a pleasurable time.

Use toys and other devices

If penetration with your partner is becoming too uncomfortable, you may want to try using sex toys or other devices. Non-penetrative toys such as clitoral vibrators are perfect to use if your feel like penetration is a bit too much. Clitoral toys like the wand are great to use during pregnancy as the long handle allows you to reach your clitoris over your belly, and if you can’t reach it, you can always get a partner to help out.

When using sex toys, it's essential that you clean them before and after every use to prevent bacteria. This can be done by using antibacterial, fragrance-free soap and warm water. Make sure that you are using toys that are body safe, such as toys made from silicone, glass, stainless steel, or ABS plastic.

There are also sex wedges and pillows that help to prop your body in certain positions to relieve stress from that area, which many people find helpful during pregnancy. These wedges do cost a little bit of money, but the good news is you can use them after pregnancy. Alternatively, you can use pillows and cushions from around the house to make sex more comfortable.

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