Is It Safe To Have Oral Sex During Pregnancy?

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Oral Sex Pregnancy

The short answer is probably yes, but it can be a bit more complicated than that. Read on for the particulars of oral sex during pregnancy.

Safety First

The first things to consider for safe oral sex during pregnancy—or at any time—are consent and communication. Are both partners not merely willing, but also excited to engage in oral sex, and to stop when either person wants to? Have you and your partner been open with each other about any concerns or insecurities you might have? If the answer to both of these questions is a resounding “Yes,” then you can move on to the second safety consideration: sexually transmitted diseases or STDs.

Protecting yourself from STDs is especially important during pregnancy because your immune system may be less able to fight off a challenge [1]. Plus, STDs—such as herpes or gonorrhea—can sometimes be transmitted to baby and cause health complications [2]. In the case of STDs, communication is also essential: talk with your partner about sexual health, both yours and theirs.

If STDs are a concern, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should not have oral sex, but it does mean you need to be cautious. To minimize your risk, use protection like a condom or a dental dam every time. Avoid oral sex if you or your partner have obvious signs of an outbreak and in the third trimester, when new infections are more likely to be passed to baby during labor and delivery [3].

Receiving and Giving Oral Sex

Oral sex can be a great option if your growing baby makes other types of sex anatomically challenging, or if vaginal penetration feels like too much or is off the table due to placenta previa.

When receiving oral sex, keep in mind that, because blood flow increases to your genitals during pregnancy, your entire vulva—especially your clitoris—may be more sensitive to stimulation [4]. This increased sensitivity could mean an increase in pleasure for you, but it could also mean that oral sex feels too intense. Check in with yourself and communicate with your partner about what is working for you. And one caution: your partner should not blow into your vagina during oral sex because, on rare occasions, this could cause serious complications for you and your baby [5].

Giving oral sex may be pleasurable for you and your partner. It may also present challenges. For instance, while pregnant, you may be more sensitive to tastes and smells. Feeling nauseated or having a heightened gag reflex may also make oral sex difficult to give to your partner. But if you feel up to giving oral sex, it is important to know that it is safe to swallow semen if you engage in fellatio [6].

Changes in Your Body

Oral sex might work for you and your partner while you’re pregnant, or it might not. Pregnancy is a time of huge shifts in both your physical body and your life. As your body changes, your sexuality also may change. Some women feel sexually energized during pregnancy, as their hormones make sex of all types especially appealing. Some women feel as though sex is the last thing they want or may not even want to be touched.

Still other pregnant people experience insecurities about how their body, especially their genitalia, changes. In addition to making your vulva more sensitive, increased blood flow can change the color of your genitalia, or you may have varicose veins on your labia or inner thighs [7]. And increases or changes in discharge may make cunnilingus a different experience for you and your partner. Don’t be afraid to have open, honest conversations with your partner about any insecurities you may be experiencing. If you have concerns, you can always talk to your doctor or midwife. But most of these changes are normal, and however you feel about them is up to you.

If you enjoyed oral sex before pregnancy, but you do not feel excited about it now, that’s okay. If you can’t get enough oral sex during pregnancy, that’s also okay! The important thing to remember about all types of sex is that consent and communication are key.

Sources:

  1. Healthline, Why Pregnant Women Are More Susceptible to Infection
  2. CDC, STDs During Pregnancy
  3. BabyCenter, Can herpes affect my pregnancy and newborn?
  4. Our Bodies Ourselves, Sexuality and Pregnancy
  5. Mayo Clinic, Sex During Pregnancy
  6. BabyCenter, Is it safe to swallow semen during pregnancy?
  7. Texas Children’s Blog, Changes During Pregnancy
Abby Olena
Dr. Abby Olena has a PhD in Biological Sciences from Vanderbilt University. She lives with her husband and children in North Carolina, where she writes about science and parenting, produces a conversational podcast, and teaches prenatal yoga.

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