Is There A Downside To Sex During These Months?

Is it safe to continue to be sexually active as your pregnancy progresses? Obstetrician/Gynecologist David Barrere tells you what's safe, what to watch for, and the effect of an orgasm on your uterus.
David Barrere, MD

Your question
Is it safe to have an orgasm during pregnancy?

The expert answers
Orgasms cause the uterus to contract, sometimes with great intensity, lasting for one-half to one hour after intercourse. Contractions are more frequent as the due date approaches, but may be present in the early second trimester. In general, these contractions do not result in a change in the cervical dilatation or effacement.

If contractions persist for more than an hour after intercourse, or if there is an increase in pelvic pressure or heavy vaginal bleeding, you should contact your caregiver immediately.

For most women, intercourse results in no problems. However, in certain high risk pregnancies (premature labor, incompetent cervix, multiple gestations, placenta previa), "pelvic rest" is advocated to decrease the possibility of premature labor or bleeding. There currently is great debate over the relationship of intercourse to premature labor.

Chemicals present in seminal fluid, called prostaglandins, also cause increased uterine activity. For some women near term, unprotected intercourse can result in more contractions that may cause cervical dilatation or effacement. However, it is impossible to predict who would benefit from having intercourse to stimulate the onset of labor.

Quite often, the mother's pregnant abdomen can cause intercourse to be awkward, and some couples worry that intercourse may, in some way, harm the fetus. In an uncomplicated pregnancy, intercourse is completely safe for both mother and

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