Is Sex During the Third Trimester Safe?

You’re in the home stretch, Mum’s belly is growing, and Dad is obsessing over his go-bag. It hardly seems like the time to be rushing to the bedroom, but you’d be surprised. Plenty of mums-to-be find their interest returning after the nausea and fatigue of the first trimester is behind them, and some almost-Dads think pregnant women are incredibly sexy.

Even if you and your partner are both into it, you probably have a few questions about how safe it is. Is sex during the third trimester safe? Which positions should you avoid? Will you hurt the baby?

Permission to Approach

Here’s the (hopefully) good news. If your pregnancy is considered low-risk, then studies have shown that there is very little risk to you or your baby. If there are no complications, you can be as frisky as your heart desires.

Don’t stop reading just yet though, as there are still a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind. But essentially, as long as you and your partner are both into it, you’ve got the green light.

Reasons to Think Twice

That said, it’s important to be aware that there are a number of conditions that you might have that would cause doctors to suggest avoiding sex during your pregnancy as a whole. These are:

  • Expecting more than one baby
  • A history of past miscarriages, or a higher risk of miscarriage
  • Being at risk of preterm labor (early contractions occurring before the 37th week)
  • If your water has broken, or if your amniotic sac is leaking or ruptured
  • Vaginal bleeding, cramping, or discharge without a known cause
  • If you have an incompetent cervix or if your cervix has opened early in pregnancy
  • Placenta previa (your placenta is too low in the uterus)

There are also minor risks associated with having sex when you’re pregnant. There’s an increased risk of preterm labor if you have or pick up a genital tract infection. Despite what you may have heard, being pregnant doesn’t make you safe from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If that’s at all a risk, you should still play it safe and use protection.

My Boyfriend Is a Cunning Linguist

So far, we’ve just been talking about good, old-fashioned vaginal sex. But we all know that’s not the whole package, so what about if your partner wants to head southwards?

Well, the consensus among doctors is that oral sex while pregnant is “likely safe”. There are two causes for concern. First, there’s the risk of contracting an STD, which is not great at the best of times and can be much worse for pregnant women.

Most importantly, and as obvious as it might sound to some, your partner should never blow into your vagina while you are pregnant. There is a risk of causing a venous air embolism, which is when atmospheric gas is introduced into the circulatory system. It’s very rare, with only 22 cases out of the 20 million studied, but 18 of those 22 women died.

The Road Less Travelled

Ok, so we’ve covered standard vaginal sex, and discussed the minor risks involved with oral. But what about taking the back door, plundering the booty, shooting for the moon? Or for the adults in the room, is anal sex safe during pregnancy?

Most doctors would suggest avoiding it for a few reasons. The biggest worry is that anal sex has been shown to increase the likelihood of getting an infection, as tears are more likely because it just isn’t designed for what you have in mind. Be it an STD, or potentially problematic infections like giardiasis and Group B Streptococcus (GBS), you want to avoid any risks to the future health of your baby.

Pregnancy can also cause hemorrhoids to form, which can make anal sex painful and even riskier in terms of potential infections. So, all told, it’s better to avoid going down that road until after the dust has settled.

Assuming the Position

As you move into the third trimester, your belly will be getting bigger than ever, and putting pressure on it can be uncomfortable. Some sexual positions that you normally enjoy might not be so doable, and some are actually not a great idea when pregnant. Here are our suggestions on what might and might not work for you.

Try: Reverse Cowgirl

This position is when the girl is on top and facing away from her partner. This can be a good way to avoid any compression on your belly, or any unwanted contact if you are sensitive there. You can also adjust your weight by leaning back, with your arms supporting you.

Avoid: Missionary

Good news: even science suggests that you should mix up your bedroom routine. Lying on your back when in later trimesters can compress blood flow to you and your baby, especially after the 20th week. So, roll over, sit up, or bend over, and experiment with your partner to find what works for you.

Try: Spooning

Lying down on your side with your partner behind you not only relieves pressure on your belly, it can be a very comforting and intimate position. There’s a reason everyone loves to spoon!

Avoid: Doggy style

As you get bigger, you might find that balancing on your hands and knees is uncomfortable. The same can be said for putting pressure on your stomach if you end up pushed down on the bed. Plus, there is a (very small) risk that it could have the same effect as blowing during oral.

Everyone Loves a Happy Ending

There’s more that can be said about sex during pregnancy. For example, gents, no matter how you are put together, there’s no way you’re going to come into contact with the baby during sex. The human body just doesn’t work like that.

Plus, there’s no truth to the old wife’s tale about how having sex can induce labor. A study has shown the opposite in fact, so you can have your fun without worrying that you might shake something loose.

Is sex during the third trimester safe? As long as you have a low-risk pregnancy, and both you and your partner are up for it, yes! So, what are you still reading this for?!

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21521481
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3080531/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23458213
https://www.guttmacher.org/journals/psrh/2001/07/sexual-intercourse-and-orgasm-during-late-pregnancy-may-have-protective-effect
https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/761367-overview

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