Whether you have conceived naturally or your pregnancy is a result of fertility treatment, you may be wondering if it’s ok to have sex during the pregnancy.

In most cases, it’s perfectly healthy to enjoy sex throughout pregnancy. However, there are a few cases where you might be advised to abstain for the health of the mom-to-be, or because it might put your baby’s health at risk.

Learning the facts about sex in pregnancy can help you and your partner make decisions about being intimate over the next few months.

Sex Drive in Pregnancy

Every couple is unique, and there is no way of predicting what might happen to your libido, or sex drive, in pregnancy. Some women find their libido increases, while others might feel that it disappears altogether. The male partner’s libido can also be affected.

Although it is usually safe to have sex during pregnancy, studies have shown that in many cases, the frequency of penetrative sex declines as pregnancy progresses. There are many factors involved in sexual desire, and in some cases, it might be the early stages of pregnancy when sex feels least appealing.

You or your partner may not want to be intimate because of:

Pregnancy nausea or vomiting (morning sickness)
Loss of libido or interest in sex
Discomfort when having sex
Fear of miscarriage, infection or ‘damage’ such as waters breaking
Physical awkwardness with a growing bump
Tiredness or exhaustion
Lower confidence in appearance during pregnancy
Less overall satisfaction from sex

A Relationship Without Sex

Even if sex is off the menu for you and your partner, there are lots of ways to stay connected to each other physically and emotionally.

Make time for date nights; go to the movies together, share a romantic meal, or go for a walk somewhere new. Talk about your day, any thoughts that might be worrying you, or your hopes and dreams for the future.

To enjoy physical closeness, take a bath together. The warm water may also help to soothe pregnancy aches and pains.

Take it in turns to give each other a foot, neck, shoulder or back massage. Connecting through touch can help you feel closer again.

Remembering that pregnancy is a time of huge physiological and psychological change can be helpful if either partner is feeling frustrated, rejected or upset that the frequency of sex has plummeted.

When to Avoid Sex in Pregnancy

In a few cases, your doctor or OBGYN may have advised you not to have intercourse during pregnancy. This may include the following circumstances:

Placenta previa
Heavy vaginal bleeding
After the waters (amniotic sac) have broken
Problems with the cervix
Some twin or multiple pregnancies
A previous early labor or delivery

Try Not to Worry

It is normal for the frequency of sex to fall during pregnancy, but try not to worry. Once your baby has arrived and the natural healing from birth has taken place, you and your partner can begin reconnecting with each other.

Final Thoughts

Many couples enjoy sex throughout pregnancy, while others find their desire for sex disappears. If there are no medical reasons to abstain from sex, it is up to you and your partner to decide if you want to be intimate during pregnancy. If pregnancy symptoms or lack of libido have changed the way you feel about sex, get creative in finding ways to stay connected as a couple before you become parents.