Pregnancy Sex During Your First Trimester: Is It Safe?

Your sex life will likely ebb and flow during early pregnancy, but here are some things to expect, plus an idea of what's to come down the road.

pregnant couple cuddling

Though pregnancy may change a lot of things in your life, one thing that doesn't have to change right now is your sex life. Unless your doctor has told you to refrain from intercourse, having sex or experiencing orgasms won't harm you or your baby. Some heterogeneous couples even report that penis-in-vagina sex is more enjoyable during pregnancy because there's no need to take birth control pills or fiddle with diaphragms or condoms.

Throughout your pregnancy, you may have more or less interest in sex than usual. Likewise, your partner's libido may change during your pregnancy. The thing to remember? All are normal. Just be open with each other about changes in your sexual desire, and read on so you know what to expect when it comes to pregnancy sex:

Sex in Your First Trimester

Many, though not all, pregnant people find their sex drive diminishes during the first trimester. You may be too exhausted and nauseated to think about sex, and for some, sore breasts may also limit the desire to be touched. If you're not feeling in the mood, you're in good company: A 2016 study found that 54% of pregnant people experience diminished desire during pregnancy as compared to before pregnancy. However, as with all things pregnancy and parenting, things can change very quickly and you may notice your libido picking up in the second trimester.

Sex in Your Second Trimester

For many pregnant people, the second trimester is the golden time of pregnancy, particularly when it comes to sex. The fatigue and nausea have lifted, and you may be feeling sexy again as you begin to "show." Physically, your clitoris and vagina are more engorged from the increased blood volume, which may increase pleasure. (Some people can even become orgasmic or even multi-orgasmic for the first time during the second trimester.)

However you're feeling, there could be a catch with your partner though: Some partners may feel inhibited about sex acts during pregnancy. For instance, if you're having penetrative sex, your partner may be concerned about hurting the baby, or if you're engaging in other sex acts, some may even worry that the baby will "overhear" sexual activity. It's important to keep an open line of communication about how you both are feeling. You can also talk to your doctor or midwife about any concerns you both may have and work to find others ways of intimacy if sex is just not something you or your partner are comfortable with right now.

Sex in Your Third Trimester

Toward the end of the final trimester, some couples experience a drop in sexual activity. The sheer girth of a pregnant belly may make certain sexual acts and positions difficult. Even so, as long as you don't have any complications or have been told by your doctor to avoid sexual activity, it is perfectly safe (and for some people, very enjoyable!) to continue sexual activity right up until delivery. In fact, there may even be some benefits to having sex as your due date approaches, as both orgasms and for couples having unprotected penile-vagina sex, the prostaglandins from sperm can help soften the cervix and prepare the body for labor.

But on that note, if you're worried that sex late in pregnancy might cause preterm labor, fear not. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that in low-risk pregnancy without any complications, penetrative sex with genitals, fingers, or toys and having orgasms for pregnant people is safe and does not carry any increased risk of preterm labor.

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