What to expect from sex during pregnancy

Sex during pregnancy can feel different from how it felt before you were pregnant.

When you’re pregnant, hormones and extra blood flow to your genitals can make sex more enjoyable. But symptoms like sore breasts and nausea, as well as your growing belly, can also make sex uncomfortable.

Also, it’s normal to have mild stomach cramps or contractions during or right after sex. These cramps might happen because the muscles in your uterus contract during orgasm. Cramps can also be triggered by hormones in a male partner’s semen.

If you have mild cramps during or after sex, you can ease your discomfort by taking a warm bath.

If your health professional has advised that you avoid sex, or if you don’t feel like having sex, you can feel close to your partner in other ways. For example, you can still kiss, hug, cuddle or massage each other.

Is sex during pregnancy safe?

If your pregnancy is going smoothly, it’s safe to have sex and orgasm while you’re pregnant.

You might worry that sex will harm the baby. But your baby is well protected and sealed off in the amniotic sac, so you can’t hurt your baby by having sex.

There are some situations where sex might be unsafe during pregnancy. These might be if you:

  • have shown signs of a possible miscarriage or preterm labour
  • have a history of cervical weakness
  • have been experiencing severe abdominal pain or cramps
  • are diagnosed with placenta praevia
  • have vaginal bleeding, or the bleeding has stopped but the cause is unclear
  • think your waters have broken.

If you’re showing signs of problems in your pregnancy and you’re unsure about sex during pregnancy, talk with your GP, midwife or obstetrician. They’ll tell you whether it’s OK.

Sex during pregnancy: when to be worried

Call your doctor, midwife or hospital immediately if you have any of these symptoms after sex during pregnancy:

  • severe stomach cramps or contractions that get stronger and more regular
  • bleeding
  • sharp stomach pain
  • dizziness, nausea or vomiting
  • fever or chills
  • vaginal discharge that looks or smells different.