A young couple, the woman pregnant, embraces in a stylized windblown image.

What You Need to Know About Safe Sex During Pregnancy

For most women, there’s no reason not to enjoy a healthy, active sex life throughout pregnancy. In fact, hormones can cause a serious increase in a woman’s libido. While it’s important to check with your doctor, being pregnant shouldn’t keep you from maintaining a healthy level of intimacy with your partner. Here are a few tips for keeping an safe sex life throughout your pregnancy. 

Expected Changes

Pregnancy can be physically and emotionally overwhelming. Be patient with yourself and your partner during this time. The first few months of pregnancy are especially difficult for some women. Anxiety over the pregnancy, morning sickness, and unexpected fatigue can all combine to make women uninterested in sexual intimacy. In later trimesters, some women are self-conscious about the changes in their bodies, too uncomfortable, or just too tired to even think about sex.


Men may also have changes in their sex drive throughout their partner's pregnancy. Some men have an increase in sexual interest, feeling drawn to the increasing curves of a woman's body, her ability to create new life, or a sense of increased emotional closeness to their partner. Other men worry that sex is dangerous to a developing fetus or develop significant anxiety about becoming a dad. 


An open dialogue about both partners feelings and desires is especially important during pregnancy. If sexual intercourse isn’t possible or desirable, there are plenty of other ways to retain physical intimacy, from gentle massages to sleepy spooning. Additionally, some women find sex isn’t comfortable during pregnancy, particularly if they have less vaginal lubrication. If this is the case, try using a lubricated condom or water-soluble over-the-counter lubricant.

Safe Sexual Practices During Pregnancy

Early on in the pregnancy, most sexual position are completely safe. After the first trimester, however, couples may need to modify positions. For example, having intercourse with the woman on top, with both partners lying on their sides, or with the man entering from behind may be more comfortable in later pregnancy.


If a couple isn’t monogamous, it’s especially important to practice safe sex during pregnancy. If a woman contracts a sexually transmitted disease while pregnant, it can cause complications for her unborn child. Even though she cannot get pregnant while she’s pregnant, condoms are still a must. 


Oral sex is fine to give and receive during pregnancy. However, if a woman is on the receiving end of oral sex while pregnant, it’s important that her partner take care not to blow air directly into her vagina, as this can be dangerous for both mother and baby. Anal sex shouldn’t be practiced during pregnancy, as bacteria can be passed from the rectal to vaginal area.

When to Call Your Doctor

Most of the time, sex is perfectly safe during pregnancy. Women with a history of miscarriage, preterm labor, multiples, weak cervix, or unexplained spotting or bleeding should be particularly careful and talk to a doctor before engaging in intercourse. Any cramping, bleeding, or leaking fluid unrelated to sex should be reported to an obstetrician immediately. 

Last Updated: January 09, 2018