Common concerns around sex during pregnancy
Some of the most common concerns and the answers you've been looking for.

Sex in the early months will cause miscarriage

There is no conclusive evidence to support this, and it is not known exactly what causes some women to miscarry. But if your partner has vaginal bleeding or cramps, stop having sex until she is checked out. Also, if she has a history of miscarriage, then rather stop sex at least for the first trimester and err on the side of caution.

Sex after the birth

Your partner may bleed for up to 6 weeks after the birth, so you probably won’t even want to consider sex before it’s stopped. She’ll probably also be too tired, too busy and too distracted to engage in intercourse.

Typically, sexual desire is quite low in both partners soon after birth. Be patient and give it time – if she’s had a caesar or an episiotomy, sex for the first time afterwards could be quite sore and traumatic. Be patient and understanding.

Read: Bringing sex back after baby

Will it bring on labour?

There is some evidence to suggest that depositing semen near the neck of the womb can help get a labour going – but only if the baby is ready to be born. It’s rich in prostaglandins, which is thought to kick off contractions.

Sex is often recommended to couples whose pregnancy has gone past their due date. And while doing the deed (with orgasm) might seem impossible when your wife’s 9 months pregnant, it can, and has, been done.

Can sex harm the baby?

One of the most common reasons men and women cut back on their sex life during pregnancy is out of a very real fear that they’ll hurt the baby. If you’re concerned about that, you can stop worrying right now.

Your baby is surrounded and cushioned by amniotic fluid and protected by your partner’s uterus and a layer of muscles. The mucous plug inside her cervix also helps to guard against possible infection. It might ease your mind to know that the baby is also totally oblivious to any lovemaking that might be going on.

How to: Time contractions

Will her orgasm harm the baby?

No. Orgasm in late pregnancy could set off Braxton Hicks contractions (practice contractions that are quite uncomfortable, but not painful) if your partner is nearing the end of her pregnancy. Again, labour and “real” contractions will only follow if the baby is ready to actually be born.

When to say no

No amount of sexual activity will harm your unborn child or trigger labour, so you can continue with an active sex life unless you have been told to stop because of a potential problem or pregnancy complication. These include:

Placenta praevia

This happens when her placenta is lying unusually low in her uterus, next to or covering her cervix.

Risk of premature labour

If she starts to have regular contractions that cause her cervix to begin to open or thin out (efface) before 37 weeks, she’s in premature labour. Abstain from sex. If she had a spontaneous premature birth in a previous pregnancy, your doctor will advise you to stop sex possibly for the whole pregnancy.

More about: The precious but not so perfect placenta

Vaginal bleeding

You need to call the doctor immediately if your partner is bleeding. It may not be serious but must be checked out.

Abdominal cramping

Occasional abdominal discomfort is a common pregnancy complaint, and while it may be harmless, it can also be a sign of a serious problem. Have it checked out if it persists.

Cervical insufficiencly

If her cervix is softer and weaker than normal or is abnormally short, it may efface and dilate without contractions in the second or early third trimester as the weight of baby puts pressure on it. This is called an “incompetent cervix”, and can result in second-trimester miscarriage, preterm premature rupture of the membranes (in which her water breaks before she’s in labour), or preterm delivery (before 37 weeks). If any problem persists, get it checked out, even if your partner may protest.

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