This is something that many women worry about during their pregnancy. However, if you are having a normal pregnancy without any complications there should be no reason why you cannot continue to have sex until your waters break. You do not need to use a condom unless your partner has an infection.
Will it harm the baby?
Having sex whilst pregnant is not linked with premature birth, miscarriage or infections, nor can you harm the baby.
You may feel the baby move around more if you have an orgasm. This is probably because an orgasm causes the uterus to contract or because the sound of your heart beating can rouse the baby. Later in your pregnancy, an orgasm can trigger a series of Braxton Hicks, but this is nothing to be worried about. See our section on Braxton Hicks.
Will my Partner want to have sex with me?
Some men are concerned about having sex with their pregnant partners as they are afraid it may harm the baby or the woman. Some men may sadly not find their partners as attractive as they get bigger. Some women may be relieved about this lack of attention if their sex drive has dropped off!
Many men are very attracted by the changing and expanding form of a pregnant woman, and may be as keen as usual to have sex. This may not be ideal if you are not so keen!
Some women find that their sex drives increase during pregnancy, whilst others find that theirs drops. Nausea, tiredness and insecurity about your changing body can also affect your sexual appetite.
Other forms of sex?
Oral sex is also safe during pregnancy, although many men comment that their partners smell or taste differently when they are pregnant.
Anal sex can be safe during pregnancy but you must make sure that you are scrupulously clean and careful during this act. If you have anal sex then your partner must change condoms or clean himself before you have vaginal sex.
Using a vibrator or dildo is safe during pregnancy, just make sure you clean it well before each use.
When not to have sex?
If you have been diagnosed with Placenta Previa or Cervical Weakness then your midwife or doctor will probably advise you not to have sex.
Likewise if your partner has genital herpes, or either of you have a genital infection then you should speak to your doctor before having sex.
Having sex is thought to help induce labour as semen contains the hormone Prostaglandin which can encourage labour to start. It is also believed that having an orgasm can stimulate your uterus and get labour started. There seems to be little solid evidence that this works, but if your pregnancy is risk free then there should be no harm in trying!
After the Baby
Having sex after having a baby will depend very much on your birth experience and the method of infant feeding. Very often the mode of infant feeding has a bigger impact on the return of your sex life than your mode of delivery. Breastfeeding mothers usually find they have a low libido, their vagina may feel dry and sex will often not be top of their agenda. If you do want to have sex, then there is no reason why you cannot, as long as everything has healed. Make sure you use some lubricant to make it a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. If you do not want to conceive you should use some form of contraception. It should be emphasised that breastfeeding is not a fool-proof method of contraception. If you wish to take the contraceptive pill whilst you are breastfeeding then your doctor will prescribe you the Mini Pill which will not cross over into your breast milk.