Sex and pregnancy: let’s set the record straight
Will sex harm my baby? Is it weird if I want to have sex whilst I’m pregnant? Is it weird if I don’t? We’re here to help you put your fears about sex during pregnancy to bed.
Is it harmful to the baby?
A common misconception between newly pregnant couples is that having sex can somehow harm the foetus or cause a miscarriage.
In an uncomplicated pregnancy this isn’t the case. Whilst penetration might be uncomfortable in later stages of pregnancy, the common worry that you might somehow hurt or “hit” your baby during sex is unfounded. The baby is safely protected by the amniotic sac, so your partners penis cannot physically reach the foetus - so dad’s-to-be can rest assured their baby isn’t in any danger.
Your doctor might advise you to avoid sex if you’ve suffered any heavy bleeding as this could cause infection. If you’re concerned it’s always best to consult with your doctor.
What if I don’t want to?
Just because sex in pregnancy is safe, it doesn’t mean that you’ll jumping at the chance. Pregnancy can change how you feel about sex; nausea, bloating and tender breasts aren’t always the ideal combination for getting in the mood.
On the other side, men have reported feeling worried about injuring the foetus or sex being uncomfortable for their pregnant partner which leads to them avoiding sex altogether.
If your interest has dropped, talk to your partner about it and explain how you feel. Pregnancy brings a lot of changes and talking can help you understand what each other are going through.
What if I do want to have sex?
Hey that’s great too! A loving physical relationship is just as important for your health during pregnancy as it is when you’re not pregnant. If you’re both keen then go for it.
Later in your pregnancy you might find that sex can set off Braxton Hicks contractions which can feel alarming as the muscles of your uterus go hard. This can be uncomfortable but is not a cause for alarm.
Braxton Hicks contractions don’t cause labour and aren’t a sign labour is beginning. In fact they actually tone the muscles in your uterus and may also prepare your cervix for birth. Try to relax until the contractions pass and, if you’re concerned, consult your doctor.
Should we be using condoms?
Whilst you might not be too worried about using condoms, it’s worth remembering that you can still contract an STI whilst pregnant. Any infection poses a risk to your health and your baby’s so it’s best to use condoms if you’re not in a monogamous relationship, if your partner has an STI or if you’ve chosen to have sex with a new partner during pregnancy.
Some STI’s can be passed on to your baby either in the womb or during labour so it’s important to get tested if you think you might have an STI. Getting early treatment can reduce the risk of issues such as premature birth and low birth weight so discuss your concerns with your doctor.
Ultimately, whether you have sex or not during your pregnancy is completely up to you and your partner, provided you have not been advised otherwise by your doctor. If you are unsure please consult your GP who will be able to advise you further.