When You Might Need to Say No to Sex During Pregnancy

More often than not, sex is permissible and allowed during pregnancy. Assuming that you don’t have any complications, sex in no way poses a risk to you or your baby. Your baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid. The mucus plug inside your cervix helps guard against infection also.

However, you may need to abstain from sex altogether for either part or all of your pregnancy if you have:

  • Placenta previa (means that your placenta is lying unusually low in your uterus, next to or covering your cervix.)
  • Premature labor
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding or abnormal discharge (this could be a sign of an infection)
  • Cervical insufficiency (means that your cervix has started to efface and dilate too soon, which can sometimes lead to miscarriage or a premature birth)
  • A dilated cervix
  • Ruptured membranes (your water has broken)
  • An outbreak of genital herpes either in you or your partner. If your partner has a history of genital herpes, you’ll need to avoid intercourse and other genital contact for the entire third trimester, even if your partner has no sores or symptoms. The same applies to receiving oral sex if your partner has oral herpes (cold sores).
  • Other sexually transmitted infections (unless you and your partner have been treated and follow-up testing was negative)

Sex during pregnancy should be enjoyed, provided that you or your partner are free of any of the listed conditions above. However, most couples need to be encouraged and reminded that no potential risk can hurt the growing baby.

It is also important to note that experiencing an orgasm during pregnancy or nipple stimulation, especially in your third trimester can bring on uterine contractions (braxton hicks). These contractions aren’t powerful enough to start labor if your body isn’t ready. You should find that they pass fairly quickly and although they may feel uncomfortable, they shouldn’t be painful. If any pain, bleeding or unusual discharge is felt and seen after sex, it would be wise to contact your doctor immediately.

Even if you can’t have sex /oral sex, you can explore other ways of expressing your love: Cuddling, kissing, give each other long massages, and share your feelings for each other.