Can You Have Sex While You’re Pregnant?

How to get it on safely when you have a bun in the oven

A long-held pregnancy myth, busted: According to a new study from Malaysia, having sex while pregnant will not induce labor.

Over one thousand women between 35 and 38 weeks pregnant participated in the study. Researchers told half of the women to "have sex frequently,” while telling the other half that even though sex during pregnancy is safe, the effects are unknown. The women who were urged to have sex reported a higher frequency of intercourse than the other group, but both groups of women still delivered their babies on average at 39 weeks.

It was originally thought that sex could induce labor because semen contains prostaglandins, hormones that trigger delivery, says Peng Chiong Tan, MD, an obstetrics and gynecology professor at the University of Malaya and one of the study’s authors. But based off of the study’s findings, it’s clear that the magical labor-inducing properties of semen are nothing more than an old wives’ tale.

That said, while sex won’t help induce labor, pregnant moms-to-be should still feel free to get frisky. Just follow these guidelines on how to do so safely.

Try These Positions Ultimately, the best sex position is the one you’re most comfortable with. However, these are some popular options, according to Laura Corio, MD, an OBGYN at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, you can try.

  • Spooning: Both you and your significant other lay on your sides so you fit together like spoons. “This works well because the belly is out of the way and there is minimal penetration,” Corio says.
  • Sitting in a char: Sit on the chair and let him kneel in front of you. Ideally, make the chair a little higher than your guy, so he's pushing up instead of right on the tummy. “This position works well if your partner is worried about hurting the baby,” Corio says. That said, it’s a frivolous concern—no matter how well-endowed he may be, he will definitely not poke the baby.
  • Woman on top: Hop on the saddle like you normally would. “This gives the woman the control to move how she feels most comfortable,” Corio says.

Embrace Oral It’s safe to receive oral sex while pregnant, but make sure your partner doesn't blow air into your vagina. If he does, a burst of air might block a blood vessel, which can cause an air embolism, a potentially life-threatening condition for you and the baby, Corio explains.

Just Say No If… If you’re having a high-risk pregnancy, have a history of miscarriages, or have placenta previa, which is when the baby's placenta partially or totally covers the mother's cervix, you should abstain from sex, Corio says. Also, “Once your water breaks, don’t even think about having sex,” she adds. If you’re worried about whether it’s safe for you to knock boots while you’re pregnant, it’s always best to double check with your doctor first.

photo: Image Source/Thinkstock

More from WH:
What You Should Know About Pregnancy
The Best Sex Positions Ever
Pregnant Yoga: Happy Baby, Healthy Baby


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