Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Is Having Sex While Pregnant Bad For You?



Short answer

Having sex while pregnant is not bad for you. During a normal pregnancy, you can safely have sex up until your water breaks or you go into labor.



Long answer

While there are circumstances in which you should not have sex during pregnancy, a normal pregnancy means that sex is a green light. Sex during pregnancy can be more enjoyable at times, and at other times less enjoyable. In general, a healthy pregnancy means that sex is not bad for you at all. In fact, sex during pregnancy can be good for you. Semen is a vitamin-rich substance that can reduce anxiety, improve memory, even prevent morning sickness, among other benefits.

The biggest concern a lot of people have about having sex when pregnant is the fear that it will harm the baby. The answer is a resounding “no,” at least for normal pregnancies. The amniotic sac provides a lot of cushioning for a fetus—the average woman does a lot of activities during the day, especially if she already has a toddler running around, a level of activity that is probably even higher than sex. If a baby is protected through all of that exertion, it is certainly protected during sex.

In combination with the amniotic sac are the uterine muscles, which protect the baby by holding it in place. On top of that, the thick mucus plug keeps the cervix sealed, protecting it from infection. That protection is void once your water has broken. Thus, when your water breaks or you have confirmed that your mucus plug has fallen out—that means it is time to stop having sex and start having a baby!

If you are having a normal pregnancy, sex will not trigger labor. It may feel like it since orgasm can cause some cramping, but usually these cramps have nothing to do with labor and go away on their own.

The reason sex can feel better than ever at some points during a pregnancy, and at other times--the thought repulses you, is because your hormones are causing a lot of changes to your genitals and breasts. Pregnancy increases blood flow to the vaginal area, causing increased size of tissues. This enlargement means increased sensitivity, which can be a source of increased pleasure. It can also be a source of increased irritation, especially later in the pregnancy, when you begin to feel uncomfortable overall.

As for your breasts, increased blood flow in preparation for milk production causes sensitivity, especially to the nipples. This can equally be a source of pleasure and irritation, as well. Both sensations will likely increase as you get closer to your due date, but you should let your partner know if you don’t like being touched on the nipples and breasts. Many women do not.

In the first trimester, most women simply feel too exhausted from nausea and increased hormones to have sex. However, many women report an increased sex drive after the first trimester has passed. It is also possible for women to feel an overall decrease in sexual desire throughout the entire pregnancy, just as it is possible for them to feel an increased libido for all nine months.

You can safely have sex up until your water breaks, mucus plug falls out, or you go into labor. However, your doctor will likely recommend that sex is unsafe if the following complications arise: placenta previa (the placenta is positioned low in the cervix, leading to bleeding and possible need for early delivery), an outbreak of genital herpes in either you or your partner, other STDs, unidentified bleeding or discharge from the vagina, incompetent cervix (your cervix effaces too early in the pregnancy), premature labor or a risk of it, and other reasons that a doctor may identify.

Overall, sex during pregnancy is perfectly safe and healthy, not to mention a break from worrying about birth control. If your pregnancy is normal, go for it—just keep an eye on your vaginal discharge toward the end of the third trimester for the mucus plug or a rush of water, indicating your water has broken.


Possible short-term side effects

  • possible increased irritation in the genitalia and breasts


  • heightened sense of pleasure
  • freedom from the need for birth control
  • health benefits of semen—
  • reduction of depression and anxiety
  • a dose of vitamins
  • increase in melatonin
  • improves cardio health
  • helps with morning sickness
  • slows aging
  • reduces pain

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 04-28-2016
Last updated: 12-10-2016

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 04-28-2016
Last updated: 12-10-2016

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