In the mood, but concerned that sex is risky now that you’re pregnant? It’s probably OK to give your libido the green light, according to a primer on sex in pregnancy published January 31, 2011, in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Based on current evidence, researchers from the University of Toronto found that engaging in sex during pregnancy is generally safe, with few complications.
In women with low-risk pregnancies, frequent intercourse was associated with an increased risk of premature labor only in women with lower genital tract infections. In higher-risk women—carrying more than one baby or with a history of early labor—researchers found only limited evidence to guide current recommendations that these women abstain from intercourse.
"Sex in pregnancy is normal," writes the study’s authors. "There are very few proven ... risks to intercourse in low-risk pregnancies, and therefore these patients should be reassured.”
For women with high-risk pregnancies, or a known history of preterm labor, “there is no evidence to suggest a clear benefit from restricted sexual activity; however, this is a simple intervention that causes no harm and may be a reasonable recommendation until better evidence emerges," writes lead researcher Dr. Clair Jones, Department of Obstetrics, Mount Sinai Hospital and University of Toronto.
Researchers also put to rest a popular old wives’ tale by finding no evidence to the theory that having sex near a woman’s due date can trigger labor. For low-risk women, researchers recommend that moms-to-be simply use their own comfort level and readiness as a guide for intercourse and sexual activity during pregnancy.
Unsafe sexual activity? Even for low-risk women, certain types of sexual activity that push air into the vagina may result in a uterine blood clot and should be avoided.