Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions

Anonymous on August 10, 2011

I’m pregnant...will having sex hurt the baby?

I'm four months pregnant and I'm scared to have intercourse. Will it hurt my baby?

answered by Lisa Oldson, MD on August 10, 2011

Thank you for writing to us with your concern.

First, you’re not alone...it’s common to be anxious about having sex during pregnancy. But rest assured that vaginal intercourse during a normal pregnancy is safe for both you and your baby. In fact, your baby is pretty cozy floating in a fluid-filled amniotic sac that acts as a cushion. The baby is also protected by the mucus plug, which blocks the cervix.

Any movement or motion a baby experiences during sex is similar to what it would experience if its mom jogs or runs...and many women safely continue to jog throughout pregnancy with no issues or complications.

Even during the first trimester, having sex won’t cause a miscarriage. Rather, miscarriages are usually related to chromosomal abnormalities and other problems.

What about having sex during a high-risk pregnancy? Well, that’s a different story. If you’re at risk for pre-term labor or vaginal bleeding, talk with your obstetrician before having sex. Depending on your individual circumstances, your doctor may advise you to say no to sex and orgasms until after your baby is born.

And what about anal or oral sex during pregnancy? The Mayo Clinic reports that – while it’s fine to have vaginal intercourse during a normal pregnancy – anal sex can lead to infections. During pregnancy, the blood vessels are enlarged, so many women have hemorrhoids, or the area around the anus may be inflamed...so anal sex is riskier and likely to be uncomfortable.

Oral sex is generally safe, too, as long as your partner is careful not to blow a burst of air into your vagina. This can cause an air embolism that could turn out to be life-threatening for your baby and you.

Thanks again for sharing your question, and I wish you safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery.

Related info:

Lisa Oldson, MD

Dr. Oldson is Medical Director of the Analyte Physicians Group. She is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her areas of expertise include STDs (with a particular clinical emphasis on herpes), women's health, preventive medicine, diabetes, obesity and weight management, and mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Oldson was educated at Rush Medical College and completed her residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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