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Q&A: Will Having Sex During Pregnancy Hurt The Baby?

Question: My husband is afraid he might hurt the baby if we have sex. Is this true?

Answer: This is a fairly universal concern that most fathers-to-be have on their minds. As far as hurting the baby, worry not: The baby is well protected by the uterine wall, the amniotic fluid, and the amniotic sac. The opening to the uterus, the cervix, is also closed and has a mucus plug to protect the uterus and your baby.

Many women early in pregnancy may not be feeling up to having sex due to fatigue, possible nausea, and tender breasts. This is definitely a good time for snuggling and cuddling.

Once the first trimester is over (and the symptoms that go with it), there is an increase in blood flow to your sexual organs and breasts, and this can help put a lot of women in the mood for sex again. The second trimester is usually the most enjoyable time for sex. Once the third trimester arrives, and with it comes your growing belly, sore back, and other symptoms, it might make you less interested in sex.

When you do have sex, try to avoid lying flat on your back, as your growing belly can compress the vena cava and other vessels behind your uterus and make you feel either light-headed or nauseous. Also, having an orgasm will not cause you to go into labor. Many women may feel some short-lived uterine tightening after climaxing—this is normal, too.

Here are a few instances where your doctor may ask you to abstain from sex:

    • Placenta previa (placenta covers the cervix)
    • History of preterm labor
    • History of vaginal bleeding
    • Multiple pregnancy (such as twins, these moms may be prone to premature labor)
    • Problems with cervix opening too soon (cervical incompetence)
    • Ruptured membranes (water has broken)

Communicate with your partner about what feels good and what doesn’t in your current physical state! Talking and sharing your feelings and concerns with each other will help to make it as enjoyable as possible.

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