Pregnancy brings about obvious changes to a woman’s body but it doesn’t have to bring changes to the intimacy level between a woman and her lover. Questions about sex and pregnancy are common but many women are afraid to ask them. Since many women feel more comfortable discussing these questions with a female obstetrician, Dr. Jennifer Lesko, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, recently discussed the top three most common questions she hears about sex and pregnancy from her patients.

Sex, in general, is a safe, enjoyable, and healthy thing to do while pregnant and, barring pregnancy complications, it can confirm or even increase the intimacy level between an expectant couple. In her practice, Dr. Lesko often fields questions about sexual intimacy during pregnancy.

Does sex cause miscarriage?

Sex does not cause miscarriage. Miscarriage is mostly caused by medical problems of the developing fetus. When it occurs during the earliest stages of pregnancy, miscarriage is often the result of chromosomal abnormalities.

Will intercourse hurt the baby?

A growing baby is so well protected by its mother’s body that sexual intercourse cannot harm it. It will never be touched. Amniotic fluid surrounds and cushions it, pregnancy-strengthened uterine muscles protect it, and a pregnant woman’s closed cervix means nothing gets in till the baby comes out.

Is sex safe when pregnant?

Sex is safe during a healthy pregnancy, even if a little spotting or bleeding occurs. Spotting is fairly common in early pregnancy and is usually nothing to worry about. If it happens, do let your doctor know about it. It could be a normal response to changing hormones but it could also signal an underlying medical condition that requires attention.

If cramping or bleeding occur during or after sexual intercourse, put that part of the love life on hold until after discussing the symptoms with a physician. Most women will be given a clean bill of health and the OK to proceed with the fun and games but some complications of pregnancy may require abstinence for the duration. A new diagnosis or history of these medical conditions usually requires abstinence until after delivery:

  • Placenta previa: The placenta blocks part or all of the neck of the uterus
  • Premature rupture of membranes: Rupture of membranes of the amniotic sac and chorion that is expected to occur with the onset of labor.
  • Cervical Insufficiency (aka incompetent cervix): Dilating or thinning of the cervix that is expected to occur with the onset of labor

Where a history of preterm labor is present, follow your doctor’s advice about sex during pregnancy.

Source:  Weng, Tara. "What You Need to Know About Pregnancy and Sex." Huffington Post. 7 Oct 2013. Web. 18 Oct 2013.