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Sex During Pregnancy: Trimester by Trimester

Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy? Is intercourse going to start labor? Many women are unsure about the physical act of sex during pregnancy. Each trimester can bring new questions and concerns.

First Trimester

First trimester symptoms, such as morning sickness, fatigue and swollen breasts may not leave you feeling sexy or in the mood. Dr. Sheryl Ross, OB-GYN at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., and creator of D3fy Vitamins, says it's normal for sex not to be a very high priority for pregnant women in their first trimester. You can still be intimate with your partner by engaging in more cuddling and kissing instead of sexual intercourse. Ross says you know your body best, so listen to your body's cues and, "most importantly, communicate well with your partner."

Second Trimester

During the second trimester, morning sickness may wear off, and you may start to feel more energetic. Many women report that they feel their best during the second trimester. According to Ross, women's hormones are moving in the positive direction, and emotionally and physically, women feel much better, so intercourse is more enjoyable.

Third Trimester

In the third trimester, Ross says intimacy may mean "being held and being cared for, not the physical act of sex." At this point, women are carrying more weight and could be feeling the effects of growing another life inside of their body. It's normal to feel more body awareness and be concerned with your weight gain.

"If you and your partner choose to have sex , it's always important to know which positions are going to be most comfortable," Ross suggests. Again, it's important to be honest with each other and have healthy communication about your emotional and physical desires.

As for sex causing preterm labor, Ross says, "It is safe to have intercourse as long as you aren't having any complications related to the pregnancy. It should not put you into preterm labor unless you have some underlying risk factors already."

If you are concerned or have questions, don't be afraid to contact your doctor. Above all, be kind to each other and be honest about your needs and desires. If you aren't up for sex during pregnancy, there are many other ways to be intimate with your partner.

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