Sex During Pregnancy: Is Sex Still Okay in Late Pregnancy?

I am pregnant with my second child and have never had any pregnancy complications. My husband told me that having sex from six months on is harmful to the baby. My doctor said that unless there was a specific problem, there was no need to abstain. I can't seem to convince him that the doctor is right. I am very frustrated and feeling very insecure and unattractive because he will not make love with me.


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

There is not one woman, I'm sure, who has not felt unattractive and undesirable when she was pregnant. Our standards for beauty do not include the pregnant form.

You are right. There is no harm in having intercourse right up to the time of labor unless you have experienced bleeding, are at risk for premature rupture of the membranes or have any undiagnosed leaking of fluid. There are instances when the male partner has a history or an active case of a sexually transmitted disease, e.g. herpes, when intercourse is not recommended.

If your husband is uncomfortable with the idea of making love in late pregnancyt, he is not alone. Men experience conflicting emotions during their partner's pregnancies.

If you can, read Woman's Experience of Sex by Sheila Kitzinger. She has a wonderful chapter on the emotions of pregnancy and sexuality during pregnancy. Her book, "Your Baby, Your Way" (out of print) also has several excellent pages on this topic.

Editor's note: A study in the February, 2001 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology rebuts the assumption that sexual activity during late pregnancy (29 to 36 weeks gestation) can increase a woman's risk of preterm delivery. In fact, researchers found that intercourse, as well as orgasm, during late pregnancy was associated with a reduced risk of preterm delivery.

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