Dear Dr. Vanessa: Is Sex During Pregnancy OK?

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Every few weeks, Dr. Vanessa Cullins, a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist and vice president for medical affairs at Planned Parenthood® Federation of America, will be answering your questions here. To ask her your own question, click here.

Dear Dr. Vanessa,

I’m pregnant and healthy. I’ve heard it’s okay to have sex when you’re pregnant. But I just can’t get my head around the idea, at least after seven or eight months when things get crowded. Isn’t there a point when the fetus and uterus get so big that there’s no way intercourse wouldn’t result in indirect poking and prodding? Wouldn’t your cervix descend a little thus resulting in him ramming it during intercourse? Are there precautions that should be taken? Like no deep penetration or no woman-on-top positions?

Bun in the Oven

Dear BITO,

Many women are concerned about the safety of sex during pregnancy.  But you needn’t worry — most women are able to safely enjoy sex throughout their pregnancies.  In most cases, having sex poses no risk to the fetus.  Whatever positions are comfortable and pleasing for the women can be used.

It’s true that sometimes pregnant women are advised to avoid vaginal intercourse.  A pregnant woman should not have vaginal intercourse if she:

  • has a high risk of miscarriage
  • has a high risk of preterm labor
  • has broken her water
  • has pain
  • believes labor has begun
  • is unable to find a comfortable position

And none of these situations appear to apply in your case since you state you are healthy.  As long as your pregnancy is proceeding in a normal way, meaning you have not been told that you have a high-risk pregnancy, you can have sex without fear of harming yourself or the fetus.  If you experience any discomfort, you and your partner need to stop and find another position or engage in alternative sex play.

The key is to do what feels good for you.  If vaginal intercourse is uncomfortable, you may still find other forms of sex play satisfying.

Here’s to your healthy pregnancy and to your good sexual health,

Planned Parenthood

Vanessa Cullins, MD, MPH, MBA, is a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist and vice president for medical affairs at Planned Parenthood® Federation of America.


  1. . . .information is so vast online, it’s great nice to see someone with knowledge about healthy pregnancies post good useful information.

    Keep up the good work!


  2. Remember the cervix remains closed, or only open a cm or so until labor truly begins. I know My Man was afraid he’s “Poke the kid in the eye.” when I was pregnant the first time. I told him he’d have to have a 14 inch penis, which was about as big around as a pencil to get into the cervix! The baby isn’t just hanging around at the opening of the vagina.

    Near the end, yeah, it’s a little more difficult to get comfortable during sex (or get comfortable at ALL!.) We found side lying, with him behind me, to be the best position. I found my drive even stronger (after the 1st trimester nausea was over) and My Man thought I looked beautiful.

    I had preterm labor with all my pregnancies, and near the middle of the second trimester were “weren’t supposed to do it” at all. 4 1/2 months without sex PLUS the 6 weeks after the baby was born? I don’t think so. I had no bleeding, and I could feel my contractions and knew when NOT to do it. We WERE very careful. I did tell my OB we were still doing it, but gently, and he understood.

    I pay very close attention to what my body is doing, and I never had “silent” contractions. I feel every one of them. We never did if I had been having too many contractions recently. I was entitled to 7 contractions an hour (which is generous, as most women who have more than 4 an hour before term are going to dilate and probably deliver early, so NO sex, but I learned to know my body better, and I have a very stubborn cervix, so we worked it out.) more than the 7 an hour, I had to pop my aspirin and sex as well as getting out of bed at all was verboten.

    I also was on aspirin therapy until 34 weeks (DO NOT do this without your doctor’s OK.) as we knew it was prostaglandins (as well as a high oxytocin level) which seemed to trigger my contractions, and aspirin is a fantastic anti-prostaglandin. That also meant, either using a condom or pulling out, as semen has large amounts of prostaglandins it it!

    But, if you aren’t having preterm labor, you may discover that you can have a wonderful time making love during pregnancy. (The orgasms are AMAZING! Nothing like it.) And I suggest making the best of it, as you won’t most likely feel like it for weeks or months after the baby is born. 🙂

    Like the good doctor said, if you are having a healthy pregnancy, there is NO reason to avoid sex. I’d say indulge in it as much as possible. Sex after kids, IS different. you have to be more quiet, babies wake up as SOON as you start to get horny, little ones wander into the bedroom late at night, teenagers stay up later than you and your man usually do. It’s kind of your “last blast” of uninterrupted, uninhibited loud sex, until the kids all leave for college (and hopefully, don’t move back in afterward….)

  3. Still, some couples experience difficulty becoming intimate during pregnancy. The most sensible way is of course, to take your partner with you to the doctor and let your doctor assure your husband that sex during pregnancy is very safe. (As long as you have a normal pregnancy that is not high risk) You partner will not damage the baby.

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