How to Have Safe Sex During Your Third Trimester

Some women experience heightened sexual desire (Picture: Getty/

It can be difficult to know what is right and wrong when it comes to pregnancy and sex, especially during the third trimester.

You start to experience very significant body changes, and there are also a lot of sex and pregnancy myths going around.

We spoke to experts to clear things up.

Do pregnant women want to have sex?

There is a notion that women don’t really want sex during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, and many people assume that couples who were trying for a baby stop having sex once that they designed.

Andrea Maduro, MD, medical adviser at Flo Health, tells that’s not always true.

“Everyone experiences pregnancy – and sex – differently,” she says. “Some women may notice an increase in sexual desire due to changes in their hormones.”

In fact, during pregnancy, your body’s blood volume can increase by up to 45%, which can also lead to increased blood flow to sex organs like the vulva. This means that some may experience heightened arousal during pregnancy.

“However, for some there may be no change, or they may have a decreased libido,” she adds. “A small Spanish study found a greater decrease in libido in those experiencing a difficult pregnancy.

“Another survey found that sexual activity often decreases during pregnancy,” says Maduro.

However, it should be noted that researchers say it could be due to fear or lack of knowledge about sex during pregnancy.

“Ultimately, it varies from person to person and each experience is unique in its own way. However you feel about your libido during pregnancy, it’s perfectly normal and natural,” says Maduro.

How can I have safe sex in the third trimester?

If you’re craving sex during your third trimester, there are a few things to keep in mind so everyone can have fun and stay safe.

There is a common myth that babies can be hurt by penetrative sex. According to another study, 25% to 50% of pregnant women fear hurting their baby during sex.

But sex during this time is actually perfectly normal. Maduro says it’s generally safe to have sex in the third trimester as long as you have a healthy pregnancy. “There is no risk of harming the fetus, as the baby is safe inside a protective sac in the womb where sexual penetration cannot reach it,” she confirms.

Although some complications can occur during pregnancy, sex should be avoided. “If you have an abnormality of the placenta called placenta previa, sex during pregnancy should be avoided. It’s always best to talk to your doctor to determine if sex during pregnancy is safe for you,” she says.

If you’re all set to go, then all sex positions are safe despite what some might think. However, Maduro notes that some positions will be more comfortable or enjoyable for the pregnant person than others.

“A growing pregnancy bump can limit mobility and make certain positions less comfortable. If you feel discomfort, you can use a pillow to help support your body in different positions,” she says. “You may want to adjust sex positions accordingly.”

Some women may also experience symptoms like vaginal dryness during pregnancy, where lube (and a little patience and care) will come in handy.

Marudo warns that if you’re using lube, it’s best to avoid anything containing parabens, as exposure can lead to pregnancy complications for you and your baby.

“Petrochemicals like propylene glycol, benzene, and benzoic acid can also alter the vaginal microbiome, which can be important for your baby’s health,” she explains. “An altered vaginal microbiome can also increase the risk of infections, which can lead to other pregnancy complications.”

She also notes that there hasn’t been a lot of research on how these chemicals can impact a pregnancy, but it’s always best to take precautions, and the best way to do that is to use the safest lubricant: water-based lubricant. .

Can I use sex toys during pregnancy?

Sex toys can perfectly be used during pregnancy, as long as they are safe for the body. It’s important to research what body-safe materials really are because different companies have different ideas of what defines “body-safe” and not all sex toy companies are ethical.

Marudo explains that truly body-safe sex toys will be phthalate-free.

“Plastic toys are best avoided as they can contain phthalates, a group of chemicals that can disrupt hormones. It is also best to avoid plastic jellies as these toys are porous and cannot be properly sterilized which can lead to vaginal infection.

The safest toys for the body are those made of silicone, steel, and medical-grade borosilicate glass, although glass and steel may be a little too much for your sensitive cervix during pregnancy.

Can sex induce labor in the third trimester?

Many avoid sex in the third trimester in case it leads to labor, but Maduro says it’s hard to say how effective sex really is for this because we don’t have a wealth of research or data. on the details. However, sex and orgasm release oxytocin, known as the love hormone, which has been shown to help trigger contractions.

Ultimately, unless your doctor has advised you against all sexual activity during pregnancy, whether or not you have sex in your third trimester is up to you, your partner, and your personal preferences.

As long as you’re having fun consensually and there are no underlying issues, sex in the third trimester can be just as enjoyable as any other type of sex.

MORE: Can you prepare your body for pregnancy by having regular sex?

MORE: Couple trying for their last baby to complete their family end up having quadruplets

MORE: 8 things no one tells you about sex while you’re pregnant


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