Is pregnancy intercourse safe?

One of the most common things pregnant folks want to know is whether it’s safe to have intercourse. The short answer to this question is yes — in most cases, intercourse and other types of sexual activity during pregnancy are safe. But let’s take a closer look at the facts.

Babies are well-protected and can’t be touched

If you’ve ever wondered if your baby can be hurt or touched during sex, we’ve got good news. The womb is like a well-protected castle, with shields and barriers to safeguard the inside from potential intruders. At first, your baby is so microscopically small it’s protected by your uterus and surrounding muscles and structures. As they grow, your baby gains another layer of protection – they are surrounded by amniotic fluid inside the amniotic sac. 

Not only that, but the vagina is long enough to keep your baby separated from any penetration. However, to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which can pose a risk to the baby and your pregnancy, consider using condoms.

Babies have no idea what’s going on

If you’ve forgone pregnancy sex for fear your precious baby-to-be will be scarred for life, you wouldn’t be the first. But fortunately, this isn’t a realistic possibility. For starters, developing babies have absolutely no idea what sex is, nor can they see what’s going on outside your belly.

What’s more, the amniotic fluid provides cushioning and space to float around, almost like a waterbed. Your little one is not aware or bothered by what’s happening.

Orgasms won’t make you go into early labor

There’s some suspicion that late in pregnancy, intercourse can induce labor because it triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin. While it’s true oxytocin can stimulate uterine contractions (whether you’re pregnant or not), there’s no evidence it actually leads to labor.

Certain things do make pregnancy sex unsafe

Although sex is generally safe during pregnancy, some factors can make it unsafe. Pregnancy intercourse might not be safe if:

  • You or your partner have been diagnosed with an STI
  • You have any increased risk for bleeding, like placenta previa
  • You’re at risk for preterm labor
  • Your water already broke
  • You’re carrying multiples
  • You’ve been diagnosed with cervical insufficiency
  • Your healthcare provider advised against it
  • You feel unsafe. Call the National Sexual Abuse Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or contact them via chat at

The bottom line with pregnancy sex

There are lots of myths about the safety of intercourse during pregnancy, but for the most part, it’s something you can enjoy if you’re up for it. If you’re ever unsure, it doesn’t hurt to ask your OB provider if it’s safe for you.

Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team

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