Can sex hurt the baby? Generally speaking, there aren’t many contraindications to sex during pregnancy. If there is bleeding in early pregnancy, your obstetrician may recommend a period of pelvic rest (no placing anything into the vagina), or if your placenta is located too closely to the cervix, then you may have to defer sexual activity due to risk of bleeding. Otherwise, unless your water has broken or your cervix is significantly dilated, then you should be good to go (but only if you want to!). As far as trauma to the baby, intercourse isn’t expected to “shake” the baby or poke him/her in the eye ;)
Good thing it’s ok to have sex, because I’m super-frisky! Some women have expressed concern about increased libido while pregnant. Even with nausea, increased acne, GI issues, or limited comfortable sexual positions, there can still be a significant increase in sex drive. The hormonal changes in pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester, and also the increased sensitivity of the breasts and vulvar tissue can be factors. Essentially, just ask your significant other if he remembers what it was like in junior high when he was going through puberty. These hormonal changes can be even more exaggerated if you have been on estrogen-containing contraception in the past, as certain types of birth control can affect sex drive. Lastly, there isn’t any stress associated with the effort to avoid (or achieve) pregnancy, and sex free of worry is certainly more fun!
Are there some positions that are preferable to others? As pregnancy progresses, you may find that some positions become uncomfortable to you, so definitely avoid these. Also, be sure to stay away from any position that places significant pressure on your abdomen as this can affect blood flow to the baby.
Uh oh, now I’m spotting and having contractions! Am I in labor?! One of the most common times patients come in for evaluation and labor checks is after having sex. Contractions are usually caused by a combination of the stimulation of the cervix and the prostaglandins found in semen (prostaglandins are one of the same compounds used in higher doses to induce labor). Spotting may occur due to the increased blood flow and sensitivity of the cervix. Many patients experience contractions that are mild or vaginal spotting after intercourse. These symptoms are quite common, and in most cases, we wouldn’t expect the contractions or spotting after intercourse to have adverse effects on pregnancy. However, if your contractions become painful and remain persistent for more than an hour, or if your spotting becomes heavy bleeding so that you soak through more than a pad an hour, then be sure to go into the hospital for evaluation. Also, if your blood type is Rh negative and you have any vaginal bleeding at all, be sure to notify your provider.
Many women experience a normal (and healthy) increase in both sexual drive and sexual satisfaction during pregnancy, and as long as there aren’t any medical contraindications, sex in pregnancy can still be both safe and fun. However, not all women have have these changes, and this can be normal, too. So, whether you elect to be intimate or not is ultimately up to you, and both choices can be part of a happy, healthy pregnancy :)