Sex During Pregnancy: All Your Questions, Answered

Relax, you aren’t going to “poke” the baby.

by Carrie Weisman
Originally Published: 
A man and pregnant woman sitting in bed, about to kiss.
OR Images/Getty

Sex that leads to pregnancy is often hot, but sex during pregnancy isn’t always as fashionable. The fact that you’re expecting, however, doesn’t have to come tethered to a nine-month celibacy pact. In most cases, sex during pregnancy is perfectly safe and just as pleasurable as it was before you impregnated your wife. But there are a lot of questions that come up when having sex while pregnant. For example, what are the signs or indications that pregnancy sex could be dangerous? Is it good to release sperm into a pregnant woman? Will the baby feel anything? We get it. It’s a complicated time.

To answer your questions, we reached out to obstetrics & gynecology specialist Kelly Morales, M.D., and doula, certified lactation counselor, and prenatal imaging specialist Brian Salmon, aka “Brian the Birth Guy,” to help satisfy all your concerns and curiosities.

Is sex during pregnancy safe?

The short answer here is yes. In fact, it’s important. Having a baby takes a massive toll on both the body and mind, and maintaining a sexual connection to your partner can be hugely reassuring. This might not be that difficult: Many women experience an increased sex drive during pregnancy, especially in the second trimester after the hormonal surge settles (see you later, morning sickness!).

The only instance in which one may want to abstain from sex during pregnancy is if your partner gets hit with certain complications, including but not limited to preterm labor, cervical incompetence, first trimester bleeding, threatened miscarriage, or placenta previa. “It’s always a good idea to find out if you are having any complications during pregnancy that requires ‘pelvic rest,’” says Morales. If your doctor gives you the a-okay, you’re good to go.

When’s the “best” trimester to have sex?

As noted, libido tends to spike in the second trimester, so that’s probably the best time to get it on. Sex drive tends to slow once the third trimester rolls around and more discomfort sets in (though it is still perfectly safe to have sex during this time). It would probably be wise to mention that it’s not uncommon for pregnant people to experience some light bleeding after sex. It’s usually nothing to worry about. “The surface blood vessels on the pregnant cervix are ‘engorged’ and friable, so slight brownish spotting and maybe even tiny clots of old blood up to five days after sex is common,” says Morales. Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, call your healthcare provider and keep them up to date.

Is it possible to poke the baby with my penis?

Nope. Not gonna happen. “Babies are well protected in the uterus and amniotic sac,” explains Salmon. “The cervix is tightly shut to protect the baby,” he adds. According to Salmon, even a “very large” penis is not going hit that mark.

Will the baby feel anything?

Well, kinda. According to Morales, the uterus can contract during intercourse and orgasm. It is possible for the baby to feel a sort of “tightening” of the womb, in that sense. But don’t worry. If it’s a healthy pregnancy, Morales says it won’t hurt or affect the baby in any way.

Is it good to release sperm into a pregnant woman?

According to Morales, the prostaglandin found in semen can help induce labor and trigger contractions in people far enough along in their pregnancy. Don’t sweat it too much though. According to Salmon, this doesn’t usually happen until “the time is right.”

What’s the “safest” position during pregnancy?

While nothing is “off-limits,” certain positions can provide more comfort than others. Doggie style is a pretty popular choice because it allows the pregnant belly to hang free. Missionary is typically the least popular position during pregnancy because of the pressure a growing womb puts on the lungs. You can read more about sex positions for every trimester of pregnancy here.

Could pregnancy change the way my partner experiences orgasm?

Ten-four, good buddy. “Some women get so engorged and sensitive they describe the right oral as being more intense than ever,” says Salmon. “Increased blood flow to the uterus can make the pregnant orgasm far more intense and pleasurable.” But before you get ahead of yourself, keep in mind that change isn’t always pleasurable. According to Morales, the muscle contractions that orgasm triggers can actually cause discomfort for some pregnant people. So make sure to communicate with your partner. See what’s going on. See what she likes, and what she doesn’t.

Is my partner’s vagina going to taste different?

It sure will! Pregnancy causes a drop in pH in the vagina, which can make things taste a bit more acidic (that will also alter the way in which it smells, but hey, let’s stick to taste for now). Morales says vaginal secretions can also vary throughout pregnancy, which can also have an effect on the way she tastes during oral sex.

What kind of lube should we use?

Salmon suggests natural lubricants, like coconut oil. Morales says silicone lubes are also good. Water-based products probably shouldn’t be prioritized because they have a tendency to dry out faster, and may not last the entire “session.” But lube might not even be necessary. “Many women actually have increased sex drive and quicker lubrication during pregnancy,” says Morales. Though, she cautions, “this, too, can change at different points in pregnancy.”

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