Pregnancy brings along a lot of restrictions. You can’t eat a few different varieties of food, have restrictions on certain household chores, etc. But what about sexual intercourse? Is that off-limits too? While some studies suggest that engaging in sex can induce labor in some pregnant women, being skeptical about this whole act of intimacy during pregnancy is common.
You aren’t the only person questioning things. Questioning the safety of sex during pregnancy is quite normal and before you get confused, let us clarify a few things. In most cases, engaging in sexual intercourse while pregnant is safe.
This article will explore more about sex during pregnancy and whether or not it can lead to risks of miscarriage.
In this Article
- 1 Is it Normal to Have Sex During Pregnancy?
- 2 What does Research Suggest about Sex During Pregnancy?
- 3 What are the Good and Bad Sex Positions during Pregnancy?
- 4 Will Having Sex during the first Trimester Lead to Miscarriage?
- 5 Should I be Worried If I Bleed after Sex during the First Trimester?
- 6 When is it Ideal to Avoid Sex during Pregnancy?
- 7 Is it Necessary to Wear Condoms while Having Sex during Pregnancy?
- 8 Does Experiencing Pain while Having Sex during Pregnancy a Sign of Miscarriage?
- 9 FAQs
- 10 When should you stop having sex while pregnant?
- 11 Which sex position can cause miscarriage?
- 12 Can sperm cause miscarriage pregnant?
- 13 Conclusion
Is it Normal to Have Sex During Pregnancy?
One of the most common reasons why most people are skeptical about sex during pregnancy is due to the developing fetus inside the womb.
However, we fail to understand the reproductive anatomy of a female. Penetration during pregnancy doesn’t go beyond the vagina, which means that there are no risks to the baby if you end up engaging in sexual intercourse while you are pregnant.
That said, every woman’s sex drive or libido changes during pregnancy. While some women experience a high sex drive, some have little to none. If you are feeling off about the same, discussing things at a stretch with your doctor or your partner is always ideal.
Unless you are in a high-risk pregnancy, having sex or even experiencing an orgasm shouldn’t impact your baby negatively in any way.
What does Research Suggest about Sex During Pregnancy?
Medicine has progressed and advanced over the last few decades. While sex during pregnancy was considered “unsafe” and taboo back in the day, recent studies indicate that it doesn’t impose any negative implication on an otherwise safe and low-risk pregnancy.
However, you need to understand that every woman’s experience with pregnancy is subjective. This means that unless your doctor has said otherwise, you can safely engage in sexual intercourse with your partner while pregnant.
Additionally, engaging in sex as you near your delivery date is considered safe (and often helpful) to induce labor and ensure smooth childbirth.
What are the Good and Bad Sex Positions during Pregnancy?
The more you progress into your pregnancy, the more difficult and complicated it becomes to engage in a sexual experience that is comfortable for the mother, especially with the growing bump.
Hence, sitting down and talking about that with your partner is crucial. You need to find sex positions that are comfortable for the mother and safe.
Some pregnant women even complain about discomfort while having sex during pregnancy due to hormonal changes that lead to pain and tenderness in the breasts. Besides that, there could be discomfort and vaginal pain during pregnancy when engaging in penetrative sex.
This is one of the main reasons why having an open and transparent discussion with your partner. Some of the most comfortable and safe sex positions during pregnancy include:
- Lie on the side
- Facing each other
- Penetrated from behind while being on hands and knees
- Being on top while having sex with your partner
Besides these, it is always ideal to discuss what’s safe and what’s not with your OBGYN. There’s nothing wrong with asking and being upfront about these topics. Your doctor will help you navigate through these upcoming few months of pregnancy, so discuss all your options with them.
Will Having Sex during the first Trimester Lead to Miscarriage?
Before we shed light on this subject, let us first understand what a miscarriage is. Miscarriage is termed a “spontaneous pregnancy loss”, which occurs in the first 20 weeks of gestation.
In most cases, miscarriages are a result of chromosomal abnormalities in the developing embryo. Besides that, miscarriages can also result from advanced maternal age, diabetes, fibroids, polyps, poor lifestyle choices, etc.
So, the question now is, “Does engaging in sex during the first-trimester lead to a miscarriage?”
To clarify your doubts and fear, sexual intercourse is 100% safe throughout the entire pregnancy, provided you have a low-risk and healthy pregnancy (as specified by your doctor).
Although 10-15% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage, there’s no way to determine what exactly contributed to the fatal outcome. However, be assured that engaging in sex is not the factor sitting on top of the list.
If you have had a miscarriage before your current pregnancy, being apprehensive about engaging in sexual intercourse is normal and nothing you should feel guilty about. What we’d recommend you do in that case is talk to your partner about it and figure things out.
Should I be Worried If I Bleed after Sex during the First Trimester?
Bleeding is often associated with a miscarriage scare. So, worrying that bleeding right after sex during the first trimester is a sign of miscarriage is common.
Your fears are justified. However, let us understand all the potential options before the panic takes over.
There are innumerable reasons why you might witness bleeding and/or spotting during your first trimester. Even studies indicate that around 15-30% of pregnant women experience bleeding/spotting during their first trimester.
In most cases, sexual intercourse has nothing to do with the bleeding. If you notice light bleeding or spotting during the earlier stages, it indicates successful implantation of the embryo. So, it isn’t something you have to be worried about.
However, if the bleeding becomes persistent or heavy, that’s when you need immediate medical attention. In most cases, heavy bleeding during pregnancy could be a sign of placental previa or ectopic pregnancy – both serious and often fatal complications. You need to understand that none of these complications are a direct consequence of your engaging in sex with your partner.
Another reason why you might experience bleeding after sex during the first trimester is due to a blood vessel rupture in the vagina. Since the hormone levels drastically change during pregnancy, it can often lead to lower lubrication in the cervical and vaginal region. Hence, having sex during that period can lead to vaginal irritation, sometimes resulting in bleeding.
When is it Ideal to Avoid Sex during Pregnancy?
Engaging in sexual intercourse isn’t always a given during pregnancy. Some women experience discomfort, which is completely justified and normal.
The body already goes through a lot of hormonal and physiological changes throughout pregnancy; hence not wanting to engage in sexual intercourse is normal and justified.
That said, there could be medical reasons why your doctor might suggest you avoid sexual intercourse altogether during pregnancy.
The following are the major scenarios:
It is a pregnancy complication that results from a low-lying placenta in the uterus, which partially or entirely covers the uterus. The condition is often fatal if not managed with constant monitoring and care.
One of the most common pregnancy symptoms of placenta previa is bleeding during the third trimester. It can also lead to early uterine contractions and risks of breech or uterine complications in pregnant women.
The condition is generally diagnosed via ultrasound, and your doctor will take necessary precautions to monitor and prevent potential risks. If not diagnosed or managed on time, placenta previa can lead to stunted fetal growth, hemorrhaging, etc.
Since the condition is quite sensitive, your doctor will advise you to abstain from sex altogether. The condition generally affects one in 200 pregnancies and is marked as a high-risk pregnancy. Hence, you might be on bed rest to prevent further progression of the condition, leading to another complication called placental abruption.
Commonly known as incompetent cervix, the cervix of a pregnant woman becomes weaker and starts dilating way before the due date.
If left undiagnosed or monitored, the condition can lead to risks of preterm birth or pregnancy loss as well.
Since the flexibility and muscle tone in the cervical opening is already compromised in cervical insufficiency, it isn’t surprising that most pregnant women with this condition are advised to abstain from any kind of sexual activities (especially penetrative sex) throughout the pregnancy.
History of miscarriage
Another reason you might want to or have to avoid sex during pregnancy is due to a history of miscarriage. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists marks a “history of miscarriage” as a situation where a woman has gone through one or two pregnancy losses.
If you have a history of repeated pregnancy loss or miscarriage, your OBGYN might recommend avoiding engaging in sexual activities throughout pregnancy.
Multiple birth pregnancy
If you are carrying more than one baby (twins, triplets, etc.), you are already considered a high-risk pregnancy. Your doctor will thus advise optimal pelvic rest throughout the pregnancy, especially to ensure that your developing fetuses are safe.
Optimal result in multiple pregnancies is also ideal to ensure the mother can carry their babies to full-term. In such situations, penetrative sex is considered unsafe; however, you can discuss your options with your doctor.
Besides these, conditions like ectopic pregnancy, risks of gestational diabetes, etc., can also make a pregnancy high-risk. Your doctor might advise you to avoid any kinds of sexual activities due to that as well.
Is it Necessary to Wear Condoms while Having Sex during Pregnancy?
Pregnancy, as we mentioned, is a very delicate time in a woman’s life. The last thing you want is to jeopardize your and your baby’s health with a potential sexually transmitted disease (STD).
If your partner has an active or a history of STD, it is ideal to avoid engaging in sexual activity with them throughout the pregnancy.
Additionally, if you aren’t in a monogamous relationship and have multiple sexual partners, wearing a condom while engaging in sex is a must. This prevents potential STDs and keeps you and your baby safe.
Does Experiencing Pain while Having Sex during Pregnancy a Sign of Miscarriage?
Experiencing vaginal pain while having sex during pregnancy isn’t a direct sign of miscarriage. For the most part, it is normal and nothing you have to worry about.
You might be experiencing pain due to:
- Lack of lubrication in the vagina due to hormonal changes
- Active signs of an infection
- Added pressure from the bladder can make sex painful during pregnancy
If you feel pain or have discomfort consistently, it is better you discuss the reasons with your doctor. Sometimes, an active UTI during pregnancy could lead to painful sex. Leaving it undiagnosed or untreated can lead to a lot of complications down the road, which is potentially the last thing you want.
Besides these, cramping while having sex during pregnancy is a common issue among several women. Sometimes, the mix of hormones like oxytocin and prostaglandins often leads to uterine contractions, which can cause slight pain and cramping. Remember that cramping is normal if it subsides after sex with your partner. If not, you must consult your doctor.
When should you stop having sex while pregnant?
Having sex during pregnancy is normal and safe. Unless your doctor has instructed you otherwise, or you have a high-risk pregnancy, there’s no reason why you need to remain celibate throughout pregnancy.
Which sex position can cause miscarriage?
During pregnancy, a missionary position, where the mother is lying underneath in a supine position, can be harmful. It obstructs blood flow to the mother and the developing fetus and isn’t an ideal sex position during pregnancy.
Can sperm cause miscarriage pregnant?
The only way sperm can lead to a miscarriage is when there is a high degree of sperm DNA fragmentation during fertilization. It has got nothing to do with engaging in sexual intercourse during pregnancy.
Engaging in sexual intercourse during pregnancy is safe and often a great way to enhance intimacy with your partner during one of the most vulnerable periods in your life. If you are skeptical about its implications or are afraid that having sex might lead to a miscarriage, we hope this article gives you all the insights you potentially need. If you are still on the fence, discuss everything in detail with your OBGYN.