Sex During Pregnancy: 10 Popular Questions Answered!

Last Updated: January 23, 2024
Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

By Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

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Hey mama! Sex during pregnancy is one of those things that feels a little taboo to talk about, but it shouldn’t be.

I mean, I understand the hesitation. People don’t typically talk about their sex lives, and plenty of older “experts” recommended staying away from sex when you’re pregnant. There was no medical basis for this – it was often because sex with a pregnant woman was considered a sin.

Things are a little different in our society now, and doctors all over the world are recommending pregnant women to continue their usual sexual activities.

The benefits of having sex during pregnancy are huge (which we’ll talk about below), so unless your doctor has given the red light, you should definitely go ahead if you want to!

Unfortunately, having the green light doesn’t mean that you’re totally comfortable with the idea of it. There’s a lot of confusing and contradicting information out there – so it’s hard to know how to stay safe about it.

Luckily, it’s not that hard – and you’ll find that your habits will change minimally. I took the top pregnancy sex questions asked among pregnant mamas and compiled them here for you today!

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What are the benefits of sex during pregnancy?

As I mentioned above, there are plenty of advantages of having sex during pregnancy (and luckily – not many disadvantages!) Here are some of the best perks related to having pregnancy sex.

Pregnancy sex can feel better than regular sex

Some mamas have a higher sex drive during pregnancy due to all of the surging hormones. Not only that, but all of your nerve endings are more sensitive and there’s better blood flow to your pelvis.

These things usually mean it’s easier to achieve an orgasm, and many times it’ll be a longer and stronger one too. Women that don’t typically have orgasms are also more likely to experience one.

For some of us, pregnancy sex is BETTER than regular sex!

Stress reduction

I think we know how sex can help chill us out, and sex during pregnancy is NO different. That release of Oxytocin (the “love” hormone) will help combat your pregnancy stress, help you sleep better, and make you forget those aches and pains for a while.

It’s healthy

Sex, in general, is usually healthy – and this is still true in pregnancy! Some of the critical health benefits of sex include:

  • Lowering your blood pressure: A high blood pressure is linked to preeclampsia, so potentially lower blood pressure is a plus for pregnant women!
  • Lower risk of heart attacks in men: It’s unknown whether the same thing is true for women, but those of us with male partners can take a lot of solace from this fact
  • Burning some extra calories: You won’t be burning hundreds of calories or anything, but every little bit helps. You can expect weight gain in pregnancy, but staying in shape is still essential! Being active can help make labor and postpartum recovery less rough on you
  • Improves pelvic floor strength: Good pelvic floor strength will help make labor and postpartum recovery much easier on you. Strong pelvic muscles can help you ease your baby out, reduce urinary incontinence, and increase sexual satisfaction. Here’s an awesome resource to bookmark that’ll help with regaining your pelvic floor strength after birth
  • A strengthened immune system: Oxytocin is linked to a boost in immunity, and helps prevent colds and the flu. In this study, individuals who had sex once to twice a week had higher levels of IgA, which is an antibody that fights off bacteria and other harmful invaders

What’re the disadvantages of having sex during pregnancy?

Unless you’re a special case and have been instructed to abstain from sex, there are no HUGE disadvantages. Of course, if you have no sex drive with pregnancy, don’t feel like you have to do it to reap the benefits!

Is it okay to have sex during pregnancy? Is it safe?

As long as your doctor approves it, yes!! ACOG’s (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) stance is that as long as you haven’t been told otherwise by your doctor, you can have sex throughout your entire pregnancy (even the third trimester). Your strong uterine muscles and the amniotic fluid contained in the uterus protect your baby.

Oh – and as a side note, your partner cannot poke your baby with his penis, even if he’s well-endowed. 😉

When is Sex During Pregnancy NOT Safe

There are special cases where sex during pregnancy is NOT recommended. If you have any of the following, definitely check in with your health care provider before sexual activity:

  • Your water has broken
  • You’re experiencing unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • ​If you have an incompetent cervix
  • You are already dilated
  • Placenta previa
  • Low lying placenta
  • If you or your partner has an STI or STD
  • History of premature labor or birth
  • History of miscarriage

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Can sex during pregnancy cause miscarriage?

Some women worry that early pregnancy + sex can cause miscarriage, but no evidence supports this theory. Miscarriage usually occurs because the fetus isn’t developing correctly. There truly isn’t enough data to say for sure whether the two could be connected, but it seems highly unlikely.

Does sex during pregnancy hurt?

Yep! You have a lot going on with your body when you’re pregnant. There are plenty of common reasons why sex can be painful during pregnancy. Here are a couple of common causes and what you can do about them.

Vaginal dryness

With all of those hormonal changes, vaginal dryness is a pretty standard thing to experience. Grab some water-based lube (like this one!) to help combat that. Sometimes changing sex positions can help decrease pain associated with dryness as well.

Increased blood flow + sensitivity

Heightened sensitivity you get from increased blood flow can make sex better for some women. Other times, it can make sexual activity downright uncomfortable.
You may also find that pleasure zones (such as your breasts) become sensitive or even painful during pregnancy.

Exploring different sexual positions, easing into sexual activity, and avoiding those really sensitive zones can help if you’re experiencing discomfort.

Anxiety or stress

If you have worries in the back of your mind, or if you don’t want to have sex – it’s not surprising that it can be painful.

If the problem is you just don’t have a sex drive, that’s OK. Don’t have sex. However, if there’s an underlying reason for this (like anxiety), it’s a good idea to try and address the root of the problem.

There are tons of resources available for women struggling with pregnancy anxiety, so don’t be afraid to reach out.

Is it possible to have too much sex while pregnant?

Nope! There’s really no issue with having too much sex. With that said, you should probably stay away from doing anything too rough.

As your hormones shift, you’ll find that your desire for sexual activity will probably fluctuate.

The first trimester leaves a lot of women tired, sick, and in no mood for sexual activity. By the time that the second trimester rolls around, it’s more likely you’ll be willing to hit the sheets (although maybe not – that’s OK too!) During your third trimester, you may or may not continue having this preference, but I promise you’ll have to learn to get more creative with positions!

What is the best sex position for pregnancy?

The best sex position during pregnancy will vary depending on your trimester, frame of mind, and how you’re feeling.
You’ll find pretty quickly that missionary is out, so you’ll have to figure out other alternatives that are enjoyable. Any sexual position that has you on your back in the second or third trimester isn’t recommended.

Here’s another SUPER important tip – don’t have him blow air up there. You could end up with an air embolism and while these are rare, they’re deadly, so it’s not worth risking.

Here are some positions that you should consider, although you have plenty of options outside these ones.


Spooning can be an excellent option for many couples. Not only does this work throughout all three trimesters, but you also don’t have to do much. We all know how tiring it is growing a human, so sometimes rest is the best thing!

Standing against a wall

Keep your legs spread while standing, facing the wall. I DON’T recommend standing on anything in case you fall, so if you and your partner are the wrong height for this – skip it. You’ll have the support of the wall which can be really nice and make things easier for you.

Make sure to go slow and communicate with your partner, as this position opens you up for deep penetration which can be uncomfortable if your cervix is extra sensitive. This position will become more difficult as you grow, but it’s an excellent option for the first and second trimester.

From behind

When you’re on all fours, the pressure is kept off of your belly, which can be a LOT more comfortable. You can use things to help prop you up, such as blankets or towels.

Be careful with this position because sometimes your partner may be able to feel his penis hitting the wall of their cervix, which can be pretty uncomfortable (although he still won’t poke baby – promise!)

Reverse cowgirl

This pregnancy sex position puts you in control of speed, angle, and penetration depth. This position works for all three trimesters but will get trickier as your pregnant belly grows.

For this, have your partner lie down on their back. Straddle them, but turn around and face their toes.

Can an orgasm trigger premature labor?

One of the oldest pregnancy wives’ tales regarding ways to induce labor include having sex is that you can put yourself into labor by having sex. There’s a couple of reasons for this theory.

First, orgasm has been shown to increase uterine activity in healthy pregnant women. Second, semen IS a natural source of prostaglandins. Something similar is used (in synthetic form) to help encourage the cervix to ripen in preparation for labor.

The results of whether an orgasm can trigger labor are mixed.

Most studies have not found a link, so it’s unlikely that it’s a trigger. There was a study performed in 2015 with conflicting information, stating that sexual activity when you’re at term may be associated with an onset of labor in healthy pregnant women. There is not enough evidence to support this theory right now.

Put simply; you don’t have to worry about an orgasm triggering premature labor.

What should I do if I see bleeding after sex during pregnancy?

This is a tough one. On the one hand, bleeding CAN be normal in your first trimester, and up to 30% of women see some degree of bleeding in early pregnancy. This is usually due to the cervix becoming irritated since it’s very tender and sensitive.

On the other hand, bleeding after sex in early pregnancy can also be a sign of a miscarriage.

Bleeding in the second or third trimester is more likely to be something serious and could be tied to the following conditions:

  • Placenta Previa
  • ​Placental Abruption
  • Preterm Labor

Regardless of when you see bleeding, keep track of the amount and talk to your doctor about it. It’s definitely one of the five reasons to always call your provider during pregnancy.

Where does sperm go during pregnancy?

This is actually a widespread question – and a fair one! When you’re pregnant, the passage of sperm is blocked because of the mucus plug that’s formed in the cervix. It’s incredibly rare that a woman could get pregnant once she’s already pregnant, so don’t worry about this!

This also means you don’t need to wear a condom during sex unless one of you has an STI or is otherwise directed to do so by your healthcare provider.

Is it normal to not want sex while pregnant?

Yes – most definitely. Remember, you have some raging hormones, mama, and it’s perfectly OK if you don’t feel like getting busy.

Some women have an increased sex drive when they’re pregnant. For others, it’s almost non-existent.

Hormones affect everyone differently.

It’s also normal if your husband (or partner) doesn’t want to have sex while you’re pregnant. I know this can be hard – especially if you’re ready to go. Communicate with them and see if you can understand their reasoning.

The important thing is to understand is the ROOT of where this comes from. This truly has nothing to do with how much your partner cares for you, but some people are just straight up not comfortable with it. The stress of pregnancy can also make it difficult to want to “get it on.”

I hope I was able to answer some of your burning questions regarding sex during pregnancy! Be safe, have fun, and find new ways to enjoy it. Have a funny story to tell about sex during pregnancy? I’ve love to hear it! Leave a comment below!

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Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

As a labor and delivery nurse, I’ve spent countless hours with women who felt anxious — even fearful — about giving birth. I want you to know it doesn’t have to be that way for you!

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