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Having sex during a healthy, normally developing pregnancy is perfectly fine. Many expectant moms even find that their libido shoots up!

There are some circumstances in which sexual intercourse can place your pregnancy at risk, however. When should you avoid sex during pregnancy? 

Sex and healthy pregnancies

It seems like sex during pregnancy is a really tricky topic for many couples. Some pregnant women should feel like doing the deed, while others would like to have sex much more often than before. So far, so good. Men are especially likely to have weird feelings about sex with their pregnant wife. Why? Some are simply not attracted to their pregnant partner (which is a real shame!), but many others are terrific that sex can hurt their baby or feel they are doing something morally wrong by making love to their partner while she has a baby on board.

Women whose partner doesn't want sex for one of these reasons should probably take him along to the next prenatal appointment so he can have a chat with your OBGYN or midwife about just how safe sex is during pregnancy. Remember, the uterus gets quite huge during pregnant and the baby is totally encased in a large bubble of amniotic fluid. Sex ain't happening anywhere near your developing fetus. Now that we've got that covered, let's take a look at situations in which expectant parents should not be having sex.

When to steer clear of sex during pregnancy

Some medical conditions can turn sex into a no-no. In the first trimester of pregnancy, unexplained bleeding, spotting or cramping may lead your doctor to warn you to stop having sex. In some cases, this bleeding is caused by an irritated cervix. Unfortunately, it can also mean a threatened miscarriage. Refraining from sex will not help prevent one in most cases, but it also is not going to help prostaglandins in sperm can trigger contractions.

Placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta covers most of all of the cervix, is another great reason to avoid intercourse. Sex can make the cervix irritated, which can cause the placenta to hemorrhage where previa exists. Placenta previa means that a baby cannot be born vaginally under any circumstances, and it is dangerous for labor to start. If you have been diagnosed with placenta previa, you will probably be required to be on bed rest or modified bed rest, and you should refrain from any activity that is physically strenuous not just sex. Complications with the cervix itself will also result in doctor's orders to abstain.

An incompetent cervix is a cervix that will dilate early on in pregnancy, for instance. This is often managed with a cerclage, a stitch in the cervix. The cerclage is usually enough to keep baby inside, but moms who have this problem will also need to stay away from physical activities and especially from sex. Women who had preterm labor stopped medically are also not able to have sex, or do much else until their baby is born.

Even when preterm labor is halted, there is a great risk that labor will begin again at any time. Ruptured membranes (when your "bag of waters" has broken) is a wonderful time to stop having sex too. Old wives' tales say that sex may induce labor, but once you're in the middle of it, you can quit!

Sexually transmitted infections deserve a mention as well. If you are pregnant and have an STI, you are hopefully receiving treatment for it. If you have unprotected sex with your partner, there is a chance that you reinfect each other back and forth; not a good idea. Talk to your doctor to find out if condoms may be a good solution.

Finally, you should avoid sex during pregnancy if it just doesn't feel good. Some women experience weird sensations within the vagina or abdomen during sexual intercourse, especially in the third trimester of pregnancy. Backaches are another very common problem that can definitely ruin your sex life. If sex hurts because your pregnant body hurts in general, have a break until your baby is born. Do consider mention weird pains to your healthcare provider, as they may be relevant.