Sexual activity during pregnancy

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Most pregnant women can engage in sexual activity during pregnancy throughout gravidity.

Decreased sexual desire and frequency

Most research suggests that, during pregnancy, sexual desire and frequency of sexual relations decrease.[1][2] In context of this overall decrease in desire, some studies indicate a second-trimester increase, preceding a decrease.[3] However, these decreases are not universal: a significant number of women report greater sexual satisfaction throughout their pregnancies.[4]

Low-risk behavior

Sex during pregnancy is a low-risk behaviour except when the physician advises that sexual intercourse be avoided, because it may, in some pregnancies, lead to serious pregnancy complications or health issues such as a high-risk for premature labour or a ruptured uterus.[citation needed] Such a decision may be based upon a history of difficulties in a previous childbirth. However, it has been observed that evidence in this area is lacking and physicians' advice is more likely to be based on supposition than scientific knowledge.[5]

Psychological usefulness

Some studies in the 1980s and 1990s contend that it is useful for pregnant women to continue to be sexually active, specifically noting that overall sexual satisfaction was correlated with feeling happy about being pregnant, feeling more attractive in late pregnancy than before pregnancy, and experiencing orgasm.[3] Sexual activity has also been suggested as a way to prepare for induced labor; some believe the natural prostaglandin content of seminal liquid can favor the maturation process of the cervix making it more flexible, allowing for easier and faster dilation and effacement of the cervix. However, the efficacy of using sexual intercourse as an induction agent "remains uncertain".[6]

Prevention of pre-eclampsia

There is tentative evidence for exposure to partner's semen as prevention for pre-eclampsia, largely due to the absorption of several immune modulating factors present in seminal fluid.[7][8]

Fetus protected by amniotic fluid

During pregnancy, the fetus is protected from sexual thrusting and unwanted semen by the amniotic fluid in the womb and by the cervical mucus plug in the woman's cervix, which forms shortly after conception.[9][10]

After pregnancy

Sexual intercourse after giving birth can begin when the couple are both ready. However most American couples wait six weeks.[11] Ovulation and thus pregnancy can begin prior to a return to regular menses.

See also


  1. ^ M.P. Bermudez; A.I. Sanchez; G. Buela-Casal (2001). "Influence of the Gestation Period on Sexual Desire". Psychology in Spain. 5 (1): 14–16.
  2. ^ Wing Yee Fok; Louis Yik-Si Chan; Pong Mo Yuen (October 2005). "Sexual behavior and activity in Chinese pregnant women". Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. 84 (10): 934–938. doi:10.1111/j.0001-6349.2005.00743.x. PMID 16167907.
  3. ^ a b Reamy K; White SE; Daniell WC; Le Vine ES (June 1982). "Sexuality and pregnancy. A prospective study". J Reprod Med. 27 (6): 321–7. PMID 7120209.
  4. ^ Khamis MA; Mustafa MF; Mohamed SN; Toson MM (2007). "Influence of gestational period on sexual behavior". J Egypt Public Health Assoc. 2007. 82 (1–2): 65–90. PMID 18217325.
  5. ^ Moscrop A (2012). "Can sex during pregnancy cause a miscarriage? A concise history of not knowing". British Journal of General Practice. 62 (597): e308–10. doi:10.3399/bjgp12X636164. PMC 3310038. PMID 22520919.
  6. ^ Methods for Cervical Ripening and Induction of Labor - May 15, 2003 - American Family Physician
  7. ^ Sarah Robertson. "Research Goals --> Role of seminal fluid signalling in the female reproductive tract". Archived from the original on 2012-04-22.
  8. ^ Sarah A. Robertson; John J. Bromfield; Kelton P. Tremellen (2003). "Seminal 'priming' for protection from pre-eclampsia—a unifying hypothesis". Journal of Reproductive Immunology. 59 (2): 253–265. doi:10.1016/S0165-0378(03)00052-4. PMID 12896827.
  9. ^ Sex During Pregnancy - March of Dimes
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Pregnancy video". Channel 4. 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-22.

External links