Sex and Pregnancy

Sex is “safe” during pregnancy. Actually, “safe sex” is even safer during pregnancy! Are there any more questions?

Sex is different during pregnancy depending on what stage of pregnancy you are at. At any time in pregnancy it is hard to get in the mood when you are nauseated and vomiting. In the first trimester most women, if not too queasy, are too tired and fatigued to think about sex. Somehow there are times of wellness when sex is desired. Sex is probably best enjoyed in the 2nd trimester when the morning sickness and sleepiness has worn off. In addition, your energy levels have improved. The enlarging abdomen and discomfort in all positions in the 3rd trimester makes sex difficult for the pregnant patient. The best advice: whatever the couple decides that is best for them works! Pregnancy has a variable effect on sexual desire in both women and men:

Some women may have an increased desire for sex. In general, most women experience an overall decrease interest in sex.

Men may continue to have their usual desire for sex but at the same time they definitely are worried about harming their unborn child. Consequently they may completely avoid their wife’s desires. Further, no matter how much the wife may coax him, there is an innate feeling in men that a woman with child is “taboo” and, therefore, it is improper to have sex with her.

Lastly, there are certain absolute conditions in pregnancy when sex should be discontinued:

  • Placenta praevia (an OB complication in which the placenta overlies the cervix and can bleed during intercourse)
  • Premature Labor (in which intercourse could stimulate contractions and preterm labor)
  • Cervical Incompetence (weakness of the cervical support tissues) with or without cerclage placement.
The Bushman Reaction (anecdote): The author has been awakened two nights in a row at 1 am due to contractions induced by Evelyn Bushman having sex in the 3rd trimester. Yes, sex can start contractions. The physical orgasm coupled with the release of semen (containing prostaglandins and other fluids) can stimulate contractions but not necessarily labor itself. In the Bushman the expectant couple typically expresses their physical and emotional love for each other at 10 PM each night. In the next hour or so, uterine contractions become more frequent. When they do not subside quickly, the couple usually rushes to the OB suite at 1 am. The author is then awakened by MaryAnn, “Ms. Bushman is here again with contractions but her cervix is not dilated. The contractions are irregular. “Is it okay to send her home with the recommendation of “vaginal rest” for the remainder of her pregnancy?” “Yes,” I replied, as I quickly put the phone down and try to go back to sleep!

Hint: The guy should wear a condom if the consequence of sex, i.e. significant uterine activity, occurs regularly after sex. Then, her OB can get some needed sleep!