man touching pregnant woman

Sex and pregnancy

When you're pregnant you want to do everything right so you can have a healthy baby. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

1. I had hard sex. Could it have harmed the baby?

No. You can have sex any way you like when you’re pregnant, and it can’t do the baby any harm. The baby is completely protected inside your womb. Some women find they feel more sensitive and want to have sex more when they’re pregnant. That’s fine – the happier and more relaxed you are, the healthier your pregnancy will be!

It’s true that an orgasm can sometimes trigger an early miscarriage, but it won’t be the cause. It just sets off something that was going to happen anyway.

Also, after an orgasm your tummy might go hard and feel tight and painful. This is fine, it does no harm at all. Normally when you have an orgasm your womb contracts, but you’re not aware of it. But now you’re pregnant, it’s very obvious. It can be uncomfortable, but it’s completely harmless. It won’t cause a miscarriage or premature birth.

As the pregnancy goes on it can be uncomfortable to have intercourse with the man on top. You’ll need to find other positions, for example lying on your side with your partner behind you. Or you might just feel like having sex in other ways without having intercourse. Or not at all. Just follow your feelings.

The only times you shouldn’t have sex when you’re pregnant is if your waters have broken, if you’re bleeding, or if your midwife or obstetrician says that for a particular reason you have an increased risk of giving birth prematurely.

2. I got drunk – but I didn’t realise I was pregnant. Could it have harmed the baby?

If you drank a lot of alcohol, smoked, got ill or took drugs before you realised you were pregnant, it’s logical you should worry. Luckily in the first two weeks there’s hardly any contact between your body and the fertilised egg.

The exchange of blood between you and your foetus only really starts after the time you know your period is late. So all being well, if you start living healthily as soon as you realise you’re pregnant, a drinking binge the week before won’t have done any harm.

Of course, it’s possible that you might not realise you’re pregnant straight away. You might have had a little bleeding – ‘spotting’ in your underwear – and thought it was a very light period. Or you might have missed a period or two but somehow not taken on board the fact that you’re pregnant.

In this case, there’s no point worrying if anything you’ve done up to now might have harmed your baby. The important thing is to act now, and start following the tips to look after the baby inside you.

3. I’m on the pill and I still got pregnant. Could it have harmed the baby?

So you’re on the pill, or you use another hormonal contraceptive like a contraceptive patch or NuvaRing, but you still got pregnant. You might worry that the contraceptive pill has harmed your baby. The good news is there’s no definite evidence that taking the pill when you’re pregnant can harm your baby – so don’t worry.

On the other hand there’s no definite evidence that taking the pill when you’re pregnant doesn’t harm the baby. (It might say in the instructions with your contraceptive pills that you shouldn’t take them when you’re pregnant.)

If you think you could be pregnant, you should stop taking the pill. But remember you might not be pregnant, so if you have sex, make sure you use another kind of contraceptive.

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