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Is Sex Safe During Pregnancy?

Now that I’m pregnant and my hormones are raging, I’d really like to continue being intimate. But could sex harm my baby?
- Meera

Most pregnant women can continue having sex — it's usually perfectly safe for both mom and the baby, even up until the delivery. However, your doctor may advise against sexual intercourse if he or she is worried about certain complications with your pregnancy.

Also, you should not have sex with a partner whose sexual history you don't know or who may have a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that could be passed on to your baby, with potentially dangerous consequences.

Many doctors advise pregnant women to avoid anal sex, so check with your doctor first. And if you receive oral sex, your partner should not blow any air into your vagina. If your partner has a history of oral herpes, it's best to avoid oral sex during an outbreak, and even without an outbreak during the third trimester.

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have or discomfort you experience during or after sex. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, check with your doctor before having sex.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2012