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Dads-to-be: sex during pregnancy

Sex during pregnancy can be different due to changes in hormones, body shape and libido. Take time to talk to each other and discuss different ways to have sex as well as feel close.

This article covers:
Will sex harm my baby?
What if my partner does not appear interested in sex?
My partner wants more sex than ever before
Further information

It's important to talk about your feelings about sex to your partner during the pregnancy. It can be dispiriting if she's feeling bloated or tired, and if she thinks that you don't find her attractive anymore, it can be another blow to her confidence.

Some women experience an increased sex drive, or find it returns in the second trimester. Your partner’s body shape is changing, so you may need to introduce a few changes to your love life, such as trying different positions. You could also try non-penetrative forms of sex when you are pregnant, such as mutual masturbation, oral sex or a sensual massage.

Below we answer some common questions dads have about sex during pregnancy.

Will sex harm my baby?

Many dads worry about harming their baby during sex. Although this is a common concern, unless advised otherwise by your GP, there is normally no need to worry. Your baby is protected by the amniotic sac and the cervix sealed by a mucus plug to prevent anything getting in, including your sperm.

Although you may feel your baby move when you have sex this is not because they are distressed but more due to the rocking they might feel and the increase in mum’s heart rate. Babies in the womb are already used to hearing sounds and feeling movements from the outside. They have no concept of 'sex' and certainly won’t be able to see or feel your penis.

What if my partner does not appear to be interested in sex during pregnancy?

Talk to your partner and follow her lead during pregnancy. Lots can change so try not to take anything for granted. For instance, she may have enjoyed having her hair stroked before pregnancy but she may hate it now.

If your partner shows concerns about putting on weight; her fears of 'being fat' may also be heightened. Be sensitive to this and try and cut back on what you might think are harmless jokes about her size or weight. Penetrative sex isn’t the only way of expressing how you feel and creating a sense of togetherness. There are different ways to demonstrate attraction and feel close; you may find a kiss and cuddle is just what your partner wants.  

You could also try and make time to just be together, such as relaxing on the sofa, going for a walk or going out for meal together.

My partner wants more sex when she's pregnant than ever before

While some women go off sex when they are pregnant, other women experience an increased sex drive, or find it returns in the second trimester. Some women may be feeling physically more sensitive due to increased levels of hormones circulating in the body, plus the increase of blood flow to the breasts and genitals. This is an ideal time to experiment with different positions. However, be sure to continue letting your partner take the lead and remember that her breasts could be very tender.

Further information

NCT's helpline offers practical and emotional support in all aspects of being pregnant, birth and early parenthood: 0300 330 0700. We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth, labour and life with a new baby.

NHS choices has a short article on sex when you are pregnant .