Many pregnant women experience changes in their sex drive during pregnancy. Some may find that increased blood flow to the sexual organs and breasts boosts their libidos, while others discover that uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms put a damper on their desire. Despite these differences, all pregnant women should learn when sexual activity is appropriate and when it is not.
Sexual intercourse during pregnancy most likely will not result in a miscarriage. Most miscarriages, especially in the first trimester, occur because of chromosomal abnormalities, explains the Mayo Clinic. The organization goes on to explain that amniotic fluid and a mucus plug that blocks the cervix protect the baby during sexual activity. Although pregnant women should always discuss their concerns with a doctor, most can safely continue sexual activity throughout the pregnancy.
Although most healthy women can safely have sex throughout pregnancy, it is risky in some situations. As the March of Dimes notes, doctors may recommend that women who have high-risk pregnancies, unexplained vaginal bleeding or discharge, cervical incompetence or placenta previa, or who are leaking amniotic fluid, avoid sexual intercourse.
Oral or Anal Sex
Oral sex with a mutually monogamous partner is probably safe, with a few exceptions. Blowing air into the vagina could cause a bubble of air to enter the bloodstream. This is a potentially life-threatening situation for the mother and baby. However, touching or licking the vagina is safe. Anal sex, however, should generally be avoided during pregnancy. Anal sex may allow bacteria to spread from the rectum to the vagina, which increases the risk of infection.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Pregnant women who are not in a mutually monogamous relationship should abstain from sex or always use a condom. They should also avoid oral sex with partners who have oral herpes, especially in the third trimester. Women should use a dental dam, which is a sheet of latex that goes between the genitals and a partner's mouth, when receiving oral sex from partners who may have HIV, suggests the medical advisory board at BabyCenter.com.
Despite knowing that sex during pregnancy is safe, many women still feel uncomfortable with the idea. These women may want to consider alternative ways to be intimate with their partners. Kissing, cuddling or sensual massages are a few examples of things that may help couples stay connected without having sex.
While many pregnant women experience cramping during or after sexual intercourse or orgasm, this cramping generally goes away on its own after a few minutes. If it does not, or if they experience pain or bleeding, they should call a doctor immediately.