Many women continue to have sex during their pregnancy right up until their due date. It is important to understand that sex cannot hurt your baby or your pregnancy. Your baby is surrounded by an amniotic sac, the uterine muscles and the amniotic fluids, which provides a safe cushion. There is also a mucus plug that blocks the cervix and keeps out any sperm or infectious fluids. Some women notice cramping after sex while pregnant and wonder if this is harmful to their baby.

It is actually very common for an orgasm to cause some minor contractions of the uterus. The prostaglandins in your partner’s semen and rubbing the nipples can also cause the uterus to contract. Most often this is very normal, only temporary and won’t hurt the baby. However, if pain is severe and prolonged you should contact your doctor. Read on to see why this happens, signs to watch out for and what to do.

When to Worry About Cramping After Sex While Pregnant

If you experience cramping after sex while pregnant, you usually don’t need to worry. Cramps last about one to two hours and are mostly mild. The combination of prostaglandins from your partner’s semen and the muscle contractions from an orgasm can cause the uterus to mildly contract. The increased blood flow in the pelvic area and to the reproductive organs causes a mild backache and cramps.

You may even notice a little light spotting after sex. This is from a combination of more blood flow to the fragile cervix area and the penis causing some friction in the area. Mild spotting, cramping and backache can often be alleviated by resting with your feet up and drinking extra fluids. If the bleeding is more period like and the cramping gets more severe, call your doctor. Bleeding the amount of a period could mean the placenta has started to detach. If you see fluids leaking, your amniotic sac may have ruptured. While these could be an emergency, don’t allow it to stop you from having sex if your doctor gives the okay. These events are actually quite rare.

Other Signs You Should Worry

  • More than four labor-like contractions per hour
  • Passing blood clots or grayish material
  • Sharp pain in your lower abdomen
  • Dizziness with bleeding along with severe pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Your baby moves less than normal
  • Light spotting that lasts longer than 3 days
  • Pain that does not go away with rest

Other Moms' Story: Normal Cramping vs. Abnormal Cramping

37 weeks pregnant:

“At 37 weeks of pregnancy, the cramping that I feel after sex is scary. I almost always think the contractions will continue and send me into labor. When I timed them, they were coming about 15 minutes apart so I called my doctor. He said that was too far apart to be labor contractions and that it sounded like contractions caused by sex. My doctor did advise to cut down on sexual activity due to my ‘high risk’ status.”

20 weeks pregnant:

“I am around 20 weeks pregnant and I notice some cramping after orgasm. My uterus balls up on me and becomes hard as a rock. It is actually really cool to see because I can see right where my baby is. It doesn’t scare me at all and I feel like my baby is safe. I asked my doctor about sex during pregnancy and he said the only bad thing is if my partner blows air into my vagina during oral sex. Just letting you know so you can be cautious of that.”

5 weeks pregnant:

“I am at 5 weeks and 5 days of pregnancy and found that when I am on top during sex I experience cramping after orgasm. Only for about 3 to 5 minutes and the pain was actually quite bad. I felt this pain right before my period, so it seemed pretty normal. However, the pain made me feel like crying. My partner rubbed my back for me until the pain went away and it was really helpful.”

Having Sex During Pregnancy: Precautions and Tips