There is no need to avoid sex during the first weeks of your pregnancy if you are not having any complications. Your doctor will advise you on what you are allowed to do if you develop any pregnancy-related problems.
Sex During Your Early Pregnancy
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, sex is safe throughout pregnancy and will not hurt your baby if there are no problems. This includes the early weeks after you get pregnant. The developing amniotic fluid and sac and the muscle layers of your uterus cushion and protect your embryo from trauma as your pregnancy progresses.
As long as you are comfortable, in the mood, and have an uncomplicated pregnancy, go ahead and enjoy your normal sexual activity.
Common Myths and Concerns
The Johns Hopkins reference cited above notes the following common concerns women and their partners have about engaging in intercourse during pregnancy:
- Sex can cause a miscarriage: Early in pregnancy, sex as a trigger for a miscarriage is one of the biggest concerns women and their partners have.
- Sex will hurt the embryo or fetus: There is the myth that the force of the penis against the cervix during intercourse will hurt the pregnancy.
- An orgasm increases the chance of a miscarriage: There is also myth that contractions during an orgasm might initiate a miscarriage.
Lack of Evidence
There is no evidence that validates any of these concerns if you have no risk factors and your pregnancy is normal. Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. However, they are mostly caused by abnormal chromosomes in the fetus, not by intercourse.
According to a review in the Global Library of Women's Medicine, most women's desire for sex decreases during pregnancy. For many women, some of the normal changes of early pregnancy and other factors can create a psychological barrier to having sex.
- Early symptoms of pregnancy, such as morning sickness, fatigue, increased mucus discharge, and urinary frequency can make a woman feel less desirable and decrease her libido
- Hormonal changes in the first trimester can cause mood swings and affect sexual desire in some women.
- Normal engorgement of the vagina because of increased blood circulation can make arousal, intercourse, and orgasms physically uncomfortable for many women, although the opposite happens for some.
- Fear and anxiety in a woman or her partner about dealing with a new pregnancy may dampen sex drive.
- Misgivings about a woman's or her partner's readiness to be a parent may also affect libido.
- Negative reaction towards the pregnancy and aversion to sex by her partner may also be a factor.
- General life stressors, such as finances, work, or school, may be made more stressful by pregnancy and hamper sex drive.
Additionally, women with a history of infertility or a past history of poor pregnancy outcome, such as a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or preterm delivery, might have additional stress and anxiety about their current pregnancy.
When to Avoid Sex in Early Pregnancy
Although regular vaginal intercourse will not initiate a miscarriage or increase your chance of having one, it can complicate an already threatened miscarriage. Your doctor or midwife will likely advise against vaginal intercourse in the first few days or weeks of pregnancy until your problem resolves if:
- You currently have signs and symptoms of a threatened early miscarriage, such as:
- Your cervix bleeds every time you have intercourse
- You have other factors that might increase your risk for an early pregnancy loss, including:
- A history of an early first trimester miscarriage
- Fertility treatment, such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive this pregnancy
- You or your partner currently have a sexually transmitted infection
- You have bladder infection, or a vaginal or a cervical infection or inflammation
Follow the advice of your doctor or midwife about when you can resume intercourse after the threat of a miscarriage passes, or you have miscarried, or any other problem resolves.
Other Sexual Activities
Other kinds of sexual activities might increase your chance of a uterine or bladder infection and increase the risk of a miscarriage. Take note of the following:
- It is okay to have oral sex but if your partner has oral herpes, avoid him giving you oral sex.
- Also avoid having anal sex followed right after by vaginal sex. Doing so could transfer bacteria from your rectum to your vagina and cervix.
- Do not let your partner blow air in your vagina because this could allow air into your bloodstream and into your lung circulation (air embolism).
In addition, it is possible the pelvic contractions of an orgasm from any type of sexually arousing activity might complete a threatened miscarriage.
Discuss Your Concerns
Sex during the first weeks of pregnancy will not harm you or your fetus as long as you have no signs or symptoms of a miscarriage or other complicating factors. Talk with your doctor or midwife about your concerns and risk factors if you have questions or fears of having sex during your pregnancy or you are worried about changes in your desire for sex.