Sex During Pregnancy

Sex During Pregnancy

Sex during Pregnancy:

The Magic of Hormones Adding a Little Bit of Yes to Sex

By: Ariel Zablocki PT, DPT

Pregnancy brings on many changes to the body. Your typical pregnancy article may highlight the pelvic floor, breast changes, how to keep strong, and getting ready for birth, all valuable and important. I write and educate on those topics often. But today we’re going to spice it up and talk about arousal, desire, and an enhanced orgasms during pregnancy.

First let’s get a myth out of the way:
Penetration is not safe during pregnancy.

It is perfectly safe to have penetrative sex during and throughout your pregnancy as long your birth provider has not instructed you otherwise (1).

Pregnancy will likely cause ebbs and flows in levels of arousal, but an overall elevated libido is common. Enjoy this time to get it on with your partner or solo with yourself.

Libido Throughout Pregnancy:

1st Trimester

It is not uncommon for a first sign of pregnancy to be an increase in desire for sex, feeling horny! Behind the scenes, the body is making significant changes. Estrogen and progesterone rise rapidly to support pregnancy (2). Both of these are feel good hormones and could increase levels of arousal. Think about how estrogen is also elevated during ovulation and how this rise makes you feel about wanting sex.

However, the drastic changes of hormones eventually could lead to morning sickness which expectedly, tends to takes quite a bit of fuel away from the arousal fire. If morning sickness is experienced, most couples report decreased regularity of sex during this time (2).

2nd Trimester

There is increasing blood flow to the vagina and clitoris throughout pregnancy (3). The clitoris grows in size as blood flow increases to the feel good structure (3). This can increase sensitivity to touch and facilitate an ease and strength of orgasm. Now that morning sickness has past, the 2nd trimester is a great time to take advantage of these changes. Most sexual positions will continue to be comfortable at this time of pregnancy but this may change towards the end of
the trimester. Experiment with new positions. The changes to the clitoris might give you a pleasant surprise as positions you didn’t like before may be wildly satisfying now.

Is it safe to use sex toys during pregnancy?

Yes! Toys can continue to be a great addition to both solo play and partner play throughout pregnancy. This includes vibrators, dildos, plugs, and anything else you insert. Experiment with increased nipple sensitivity and try some nipple clamps while you’re at it. Props and pillows can be a great addition during your third trimester for increased comfort in positions you like. It’s important to take special attention to washing toys appropriately at this time.

A selection of sex toys including a vibrator, an anal plug, and nipple clamps


3rd Trimester

Position changes to accommodate growing baby are going to become more important at this time but you could keep it going in plenty of positions. Get creative and do what feels good for both you and your partner. If at any time during pregnancy penetration become uncomfortable, consider other options. External sex could still be equally satisfying. It is possible to have Braxton-Hicks contractions with orgasm during this time. If you feel a hardening of the lower
abdomen, this is likely what you are experiencing.

A pregnant woman holds a heart over her belly

Will sex cause labor to start?
Short answer, no. Penetrative sex, orgasm, or nipple stimulation with not cause premature labor and does not have to be restricted unless you have received instruction stating otherwise from your birth provider (4).

What if you want to start labor with these tricks? Is it worth it?
We’ve all heard that sex, orgasm, and nipple stimulation as tips of the trade for getting labor going. There is not a big body of research supporting this and most research finds not a big positive significance (4). But, yes! Sex and intimacy even if it does not trigger labor will release oxytocin. Oxytocin is our bonding hormone and makes us feel connected to loved ones. It is also needed for uterine contractions, so give it a try!


Enjoy your new found pleasure and as always happy exploring!



The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this article are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other
qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medicaladvice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


All Content Copyright Ariel Zablocki


  1. A partner’s guide to pregnancy. ACOG. (2023, January).,at%20times%20for%20your%20partner.
  2. Fernández-Carrasco FJ, Rodríguez-Díaz L, González-Mey U, Vázquez-Lara JM, Gómez-Salgado J, Parrón-Carreño T. Changes in Sexual Desire in Women and Their Partners during Pregnancy. J Clin Med. 2020 Feb 14;9(2):526. doi: 10.3390/jcm9020526. PMID: 32075159; PMCID: PMC7074242.
  3. Battaglia C, Persico N, Zanetti I, Guasina F, Mattioli M, Casadio P, Morotti E. Morphometric and Vascular Modifications of the Clitoris During Pregnancy: A Longitudinal, Pilot Study. Arch Sex Behav. 2018 Jul;47(5):1497-1505. doi: 10.1007/s10508-017-1046-x. Epub 2018 Mar 9. PMID: 29524055.
  4. Carbone L, De Vivo V, Saccone G, D'Antonio F, Mercorio A, Raffone A, Arduino B, D'Alessandro P, Sarno L, Conforti A, Maruotti GM, Alviggi C, Zullo F. Sexual Intercourse for Induction of Spontaneous Onset of Labor: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. J Sex Med. 2019 Nov;16(11):1787-1795. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.08.002. Epub 2019 Sep 11. PMID:

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