Can Having Sex In Your Third Trimester Induce Labor?

Medically Reviewed on 5/25/2022

When is it safe to have sex while pregnant? 

Sex allows you to enjoy physical pleasure and intimacy with your partner with little chance of harming your baby. No medical studies definitively indicate that sex in the third trimester of pregnancy can induce labor.
Sex allows you to enjoy physical pleasure and intimacy with your partner with little chance of harming your baby. No medical studies definitively indicate that sex in the third trimester of pregnancy can induce labor.

No medical studies definitively indicate that sex in the third trimester of pregnancy can induce labor. If you have a low-risk pregnancy, it’s safe for you to have sex whenever you want to. 

Keep in mind, though, that orgasms or sex in general in your third trimester could induce Braxton Hick's contractions. These are mild contractions that are completely normal and nothing to worry about, though, they can be uncomfortable. Try relaxation techniques or simply lie still to keep yourself calm until these pass.   

You can contact your doctor or another medical advisor if you’re unsure whether or not your contractions are signs of actual labor

Sex allows you to enjoy physical pleasure and intimacy with your partner with little chance of harming your baby. Just make sure that your pregnancy is low-risk before engaging in sexual activities.  

Your baby is ordinarily protected by the amniotic sac when you have sex. This sac surrounds the baby and holds in the amniotic fluid. Your baby is also protected by the strong muscles of your uterus and a thick mucus plug at your cervix. 

If you’re having penetrative vaginal sex, there’s no risk of anything — like a penis — coming into contact with your baby.

However, doctors don’t always recommend anal sex during pregnancy. Bacteria in your anus could spread to your vagina and possibly complicate your pregnancy. 

Your partner should also avoid blowing into your vagina during oral sex. In rare cases, air bubbles can create embolisms in your blood vessels. These could cut off circulation to a region of your body, which is dangerous for you and your baby. 

When is it dangerous to have sex when pregnant?

There are some situations when it’s not safe to have sex during your pregnancy. These situations include all high-risk pregnancies. 

You likely have a high-risk pregnancy if you meet any of these criteria: 

  • A history of miscarriage
  • Multiple fetuses — including twins and triplets
  • Previous premature births or pre-term labor (signs of pre-term labor if this is your first baby)
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Unexplained vaginal discharge
  • Placenta previa — a condition where your placenta covers your entire cervix 
  • Leakage of amniotic fluid
  • Incompetent cervix — a condition where your cervix is weak and can open prematurely, increasing your risk of miscarriage and premature labor

Talk to your doctor about how and when it’s safe to have sex if you fall into a high-risk category. It might not be safe at all. In this case, you should avoid both having sex and orgasms in order to keep your baby as safe as possible. 

Will you want to have sex when pregnant? 

It’s normal for your sex drive to either increase or decrease when you’re pregnant. Every person and every pregnancy is different. Listen to your body to know when sex is right for you. 

In the first trimester, symptoms like nausea and exhaustion can make sex difficult. At the same time, your hormone levels are changing rapidly, which can make you want to have sex. How you feel can easily differ from one day to the next. 

Many women find that they’re most aroused during the second trimester. At this point, you’ve gained about three pounds of blood, and most of it is circulating below your waist. This can make it much easier for you to orgasm. Plus, your belly is still at a manageable size, so more positions are available compared to later points in your pregnancy. 

Increasing concerns about the realities of having a baby can decrease your desire in the third trimester. Your belly also becomes march larger and can be difficult to maneuver around when you’re trying to have sex. You can try new positions to make sex more comfortable with your growing belly. 

Examples of comfortable positions include: 

  • Spooning. Lay on your side with your partner behind you. This keeps your growing belly from putting pressure on your body. 
  • Resting on your hands and knees. This position leaves room for your belly to hang down toward the bed, though it may be uncomfortable after you reach a certain size.  
  • Being on top. This gives you the most control over your movements and is an effective way to maximize your pleasure. 

Your partner will likely go through phases of increased or decreased sexual desire too as the reality of your pregnancy sets in. The best way to navigate this potentially confusing time is to maintain clear and honest communication with your partner. Remember that there are plenty of other ways to be intimate besides sex, like cuddling and massage. 


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What are the benefits of sex during your pregnancy?  

There are many benefits to having sex when you’re pregnant. The most obvious is the physical pleasure that’s associated with the activity. 

Other benefits include the facts that: 

  • There’s no need for birth control — though you should still use protection when sleeping with new partners so you and your baby are safe from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). 
  • You can experiment with new sexual experiences — on top of new positions, some people find that their breasts are easier to stimulate when they’re pregnant.
  • Sex is a way to feel close to your partner while you prepare for major life changes.
  • Some women say orgasms are more intense during pregnancy.
  • There’s an increased chance of experiencing multiple orgasms.

When should you get medical help? 

There are some situations involving sex and pregnancy when you will need to seek immediate medical attention. 

Call your doctor or go to the emergency room if you experience any of these symptoms after having sex: 

  • Leaking amniotic fluid
  • Heavy bleeding — as much as you would if you had your period. Spotting is normal and fine.
  • Painful cramps that don’t go away.

You should talk to your doctor at your next medical appointment if you’re starting to feel mild cramping after you have sex. 

You also need to get to the hospital or follow your birth plan if you happen to go into labor while having sex. Although there isn’t a scientific link between sex and labor late in your third trimester, you should still be ready to give birth at any time as your pregnancy approaches full term.  

Medically Reviewed on 5/25/2022

March of Dimes: "Sex During Pregnancy."

Nemours Children's Health System: "Sex During Pregnancy."

NHS: "Sex In Pregnancy."

University of California San Francisco: "Sex During Pregnancy."