It seems like there are more "cannots" than "cans" when it comes to being pregnant. There’s a laundry list of things you can’t take pleasure in — alcohol, sushi, turkey sandwiches — but what about a different kind of pleasure altogether? Can you still have unprotected sex while pregnant? Surely that’s at least one thing you can still enjoy, if you're up for it, right?
The answer to this question is yes — as long as your partner doesn’t have STDs, you both are strictly monogamous (or use protection during other encounters if you’re not), and your doctor doesn’t have you on pelvic rest for any reason. Which, let’s be honest, if you’re on pelvic rest, you won’t be having any type of sex, protected or not.
Dr. Adrienne Zertuche, an OB-GYN at a Division of Atlanta Women’s Healthcare Specialists, tells Romper, obviously, STDs can be transferred to you from your partner, but they also can be transmitted to your baby. “Some can infect the baby while it is still in the uterus and cause major birth defects (e.g., syphilis), some can infect the baby during labor and delivery and cause serious infections in the neonatal period (e.g., chlamydia, herpesvirus), and some can lead to lifelong infection in the baby (e.g., HIV, hepatitis B). Therefore, it is vital to be screened for STDs in pregnancy and, unless you are in a strictly monogamous relationship, to use condoms or other barrier methods for every sexual encounter," she says.
As far as sperm affecting the baby — and possibly putting you into preterm labor — that’s a big no, according to Zertuche. “Most women can have sex all the way up until the day they go into labor,” she says.
Plus, Zertuche says it’s incredibly rare for you to get pregnant while you’re already pregnant if that was your fear. “There are only a dozen or so documented cases, and in most of those women, the pregnancies occurred within a few days or weeks of one another. You can have sex during pregnancy without worrying about conceiving a second child,” she says.
So when should you not have sex, unprotected or not? “If you have ruptured membranes, preterm contractions/labor, vaginal bleeding, placenta previa, or other similar complications of your pregnancy, it is probably best to abstain. You should talk with your obstetrician if you have any doubts about the safety of sex in your situation,” Zertuche says.
So have fun and don’t worry about using protection if you’re in a strictly monogamous relationship. You won’t conceive another baby while you’re pregnant, and those swimmers will have no effect on your unborn baby. Plus, if you’re up for it, it's a fun way to pass the time and relieve some stress before baby comes.
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries: