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When Can't You Have Pregnancy Sex? Plus 11 Safe Alternatives

Although some women find pregnancy sex exceptionally great, others are not willing or able to indulge in it for the duration of their gestation. There are even times when health concerns get in the way, and the safety of the mother and/or baby takes precedent over sexual adventures. So when can't you have pregnancy sex safely, and how can you and your partner stay close in the meantime?

Many women have health complications that take sex off the table until the baby arrives. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you have vaginal bleeding, amniotic fluid leakage, or cervical incompetence, your doctor may advise you to avoid sex for the duration of pregnancy. This is just a smart way to protect your developing baby from potential harm. In addition, if you are diagnosed with placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta covers the cervix, you may also be advised against penetrative sex to avoid further complications, as explained on WebMD.

Additionally, sexual stimulation may help trigger the labor process, so women who are at risk of preterm labor are often discouraged from having sex. According to a piece in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the hormones released during sexual activity may help contribute to cervical ripening. If this happens ahead of schedule, your baby might make an early debut. And if you’re carrying multiples, your physician may suggest you stop intercourse a few weeks before delivery time, as noted in HealthDay. Because having more than one baby make an early appearance would be even more stressful.

Lastly, some women just don’t feel up to sex when morning sickness and other pregnancy side effects are messing with their bodies. "Just not feeling it" is a legitimate reason too. So if you aren't up to sex for whatever reason, here are some fun alternative ways to maintain closeness with your SO.

1. Cuddling

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Even the crummiest day can be improved by a reassuring cuddle session. Whether you're snuggled up on the couch or bed, it's an easy and pleasant way to maintain physical closeness with your partner. Although you may need to be the little spoon in the latter stages of pregnancy.

2. Making Out

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Kick it old school with a good make-out session. It's one way to keep things hot without going all the way.

3. Kissing

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It's a good time for you and your partner to focus on the fundamentals. You can rediscover all the things that make kissing so right.

4. Massaging

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Massages can be very intimate. You and your SO can master the art of the romantic rubdown. This is especially great if you're achy from pregnancy.

5. Talking

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Your pillow talk can be as sweet or saucy as you like. You can take your communication skills to the next level.

6. Foreplay

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Hey, you and your partner can still practice the lead-up to the big event. You may even discover some new tricks you both enjoy.

7. Oral

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No all forms of sex are off the table, so you can work on your oral skills. Just make sure your partner doesn't blow any air into your vagina, which could potentially cause an air embolism, as explained in the Mayo Clinic.

8. Mutual Masturbation

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You can turn solo fun into a doubles event. Your partner might even learn something new about how to get your motor going.

9. Toys

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There's a staggering assortment of toys available. (Seriously: if you haven't checked out the options lately, you might be surprised by the advances in technology.) So maybe penetrative toys are off the table for now, but you and your partner are certain to find other things that strike your fancy.

10. Petting

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Have you done this since high school? It might be a fun move to revisit now, if only for nostalgia reasons.

11. Manual Stimulation

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It's a great time to get handsy. You and your partner can enjoy exploring one another safely. Once the baby arrives, your new skills can still be put into practice. Basically? There is no downside.