Kristen Curette Hines/Stocksy
You made it! After 40 weeks of pregnancy (some sweet and exciting, others excruciatingly long…), your due date has finally arrived. Except your baby still isn’t here yet. So is it okay to have sex while you wait for her arrival? And if so, could getting busy help to speed things along?
Sex at 40 weeks pregnant can come with some big questions and unexpected surprises. Here’s exactly what you need to know about getting it on, and if doing so will help get that baby out.
Can I have sex when I’m 40 weeks pregnant?
You sure can. As long as your doctor hasn’t specifically told you to steer clear of sex, it’s perfectly fine to do the deed at any point during your pregnancy. Including at the end.
That said, just because you can have sex at 40 weeks doesn’t guarantee that you’ll want to. A watermelon-sized belly, ginormous tender breasts and swollen everything can be kind of a mood killer — so don’t feel bad if the whole thing sounds about as fun as going to the dentist. In those last days of pregnancy, plenty of women just don’t feel up for sex. No big deal.
But if you’re raring to go, then go! After all, this could be the last chance you’ll get for a while. Once you give birth it’ll be four to six weeks before your doctor clears you to have sex again (and maybe longer than that before you’re actually in the mood).
Can I have sex when I’m past my due date?
Yes, you can even have sex when your due date has come and gone. As long as you keep feeling up to it, have fun! The only reason you’d have to abstain from sex at any point during your pregnancy — even at the very, very end — is if you get an order from your doctor.
Can sex at 40 weeks induce labor?
Maybe, maybe not. The good news is that if your cervix and uterus are ready and labor is imminent, sex at 40 weeks could get things moving. The bad? If the conditions (and your cervix) aren’t quite ripe yet, getting busy won’t change anything. Sorry, Mama, but your body — and your baby — are calling the shots here.
What are the benefits of having sex at 40 weeks pregnant?
Sex will serve up the same benefits at 40 weeks as it did throughout your pregnancy: It can help you feel more relaxed, improve your sleep and even temporarily ease some of those pregnancy-related discomforts, just to name a few.
That’s not all. There’s a good chance you have a lot on your mind these days, and sex can be a fun way to take a quick break from all that. It’s a little like pressing the pause button on that constant stream of questions about when the baby will get here, how labor will feel, whether you have enough onesies and so on.
What are the risks of having sex at 40 weeks pregnant?
Healthwise, there aren’t any. It’s perfectly safe to have sex at 40 weeks pregnant.
But that’s not to say that having sex now will feel exactly the same as it did earlier on. The increased blood flow that might have made sex extra pleasurable in your second trimester may have progressed to a feeling of numbness. You might also notice some slight spotting if your cervix has started to ripen.
It might be different for your partner, too. Extra vaginal discharge is normal these days, but it can create extra slippery conditions that could make it tougher for him to keep his erection. (To combat this, make sure he’s good and ready before you actually get going.) He might also notice that he feels your cervix, even if he’s never felt it before.
What are the best positions for sex at 40 weeks pregnant?
Any positions you liked earlier in your pregnancy are still safe now. It’s really all about finding ways to maneuver around your belly and stay comfortable. For some couples, rear-entry or woman-on-top positions are still doable. For others, side-lying positions are the only way to work it.
So give it a try and see what feels good. Even if everything is awkward by now, you’ll still probably get a memorable laugh from it. And if nothing seems quite right, remember: This won’t last forever! In the meantime, stay close with cuddling, touching, kissing or even just slow dancing in the kitchen to your favorite song.
Bottom line: Sex at 40 weeks pregnant can be a great release. But if it’s not working for you — whether you’re not in the mood or it just feels like a challenge physically — don’t worry. Instead, try to cherish these final days of your pregnancy and find other ways to connect with your partner (while you still have some peace and quiet!).
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Health information on this site is based on peer-reviewed medical journals and highly respected health organizations and institutions including ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists), CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), as well as the What to Expect books by Heidi Murkoff.
- What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 5th edition, Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel.
- WhatToExpect.com, 8 Benefits of Sex During Pregnancy, June 2018.
- WhatToExpect.com, Sex Positions During Pregnancy, September 2014.
- What ToExpect.com, Is Sex During Pregnancy Safe?, July 2016.
- WhatToExpect.com, 10 Pregnancy Sex Problems — and How to Fix Them, June 2018.
- WhatToExpect.com, Increased Sex Drive During Pregnancy, May 2018.