News, Culture & Society

British couples abstain from sex during entire pregnancy

One in six British couples abstain from having sex during the entire nine months of pregnancy, according to new study.

A survey of 2,000 parents shows many were worried about getting too intimate in case they hurt the baby, while one in 10 felt it was wrong to have sex with a baby on the way.

And while expectant couples claim to have had the best sex at around four months, by the sixth month almost one in six had stopped altogether.

More than eight in 10 mothers admitted that during the full 42 weeks, they rarely felt attractive – with overwhelming sickness, tiredness and swollen ankles contributing factors.

In contrast, 65 per cent of fathers said they found their other half more beautiful than ever when she was carrying their child.

More than four in 10 men loved their partner’s bigger breasts, and 34 per cent enjoyed her new curves.

Many British couples are abstaining from sex because they fear hurting the baby, a poll has revealed (stock photo)

Attraction still there 

The study, conducted via, was commissioned by to launch its 42 midwife-approved videos of what happens during each week of pregnancy.

It found a third of women felt they couldn’t match their partner’s sex drive during pregnancy, and a further fifth used their situation as an excuse to get out of having intimacy.

The average woman says her appetite for sex nose-dived four-and-a-half months in, while six months was the point they started to feel less attractive and less sexy.

Three in 10 expectant mothers felt guilty for not being able to keep up with their partner’s needs, but 32 per cent didn’t care how he felt as they were more focussed on their own body changes.

However, researchers found nine out of 10 men polled still fancied their partner just as much when she got pregnant, and 83 per cent still wanted to have sex with her.

One in 10 men even found their sex drive increased when their partner was expecting, although 49 per cent were worried about hurting her and 22 per cent found it frustrating that sex wasn’t as easy.

A third of men found sex exciting during pregnancy as they tried out new positions – with 23 per cent finding the ‘spoon’ the most comfortable, 15 per cent opting for ‘doggy style’ and 14 per cent going with the ‘woman on top’.

Although the majority of men polled felt just as attracted to their other half when she was pregnant, only 26 per cent felt like they could touch her in the same way, and 22 per admitted they found themselves looking at other women during the nine months.


It’s perfectly safe to have sex during pregnancy. Your partner’s penis can’t penetrate beyond your vagina, and the baby cannot tell what’s going on.

However, it is normal for your sex drive to change during pregnancy. Don’t worry about this, but do talk about it with your partner. 

Later in pregnancy, an orgasm or even sex itself, can set off contractions (known as Braxton Hicks contractions).

If this happens, you’ll feel the muscles of your womb (uterus) go hard. This is perfectly normal and there’s no need for alarm. If it feels uncomfortable, try your relaxation techniques or just lie quietly until the contractions pass.

Your midwife or doctor will probably advise you to avoid sex if you’ve had any heavy bleeding in pregnancy, since sex may increase the risk of further bleeding if the placenta is low or there is a haematoma (a collection of blood).

You’ll also be advised to avoid sex if your waters have broken (rupture of membranes) as this can increase the risk of infection. If you’re unsure, ask your midwife or doctor.

Some couples find having sex very enjoyable during pregnancy, while others simply feel that they don’t want to have sex. You can find other ways of being loving or making love. The most important thing is to talk about your feelings with each other.

Source: NHS Choices

There’s no right or wrong founder Siobhan Freegard said women should be reassured that their partners find them attractive.  

She said: ‘Sex in pregnancy is a such a controversial subject. So many mums-to-be struggle with their body image or feeling ill that many will be shocked – and even reassured – to know their partners see them as more beautiful than ever.

‘There’s no right or wrong so the key is to do what’s right for you as a couple while keeping the baby safe.

‘If there’s no medical issue and you are comfortable with it, you can enjoy a great sex life while pregnant – and many mums swear by sex to kick-start labour.

‘However some prefer to wait until the baby is born while others find sex during pregnancy is just too difficult – or even unintentionally funny!

‘Whatever your choice, ensure you discuss it with your partner so neither of you feel your own needs are being neglected. And remember even if your sex life does stop, it’s only for a few months, so enjoy spending quality time together in other ways too.’ 

To find out more about the 42 weeks of pregnancy visit here.