About DadPad, Parenting Advice

About DadPad: Sex in Pregnancy – new app content

Posted on 30th September 2022

As this week started with World Contraception Day on Monday, we thought it as good a week as any to launch the latest content for the DadPad app, covering the all-important issue of sex in pregnancy.

This is a topic that the midwifery team at Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) suggested to us when we were working together to populate their DadPad app, which launched last November.  We’ve been working on the content and are delighted to have been able to set it to ‘live’ on their app this week.

Covering three key areas – when to avoid sex in pregnancy; possible side effects of sex in pregnancy; and positions for sex during pregnancy – it aims to answer the most common questions and concerns for expectant parents, and encourages them to always speak to their Midwife or other healthcare professional about their worries, especially if baby’s mum has had her pregnancy identified as being ‘high risk’.

We spoke to Midwife Katy at MTW to find out a bit more about this topic, which is of crucial importance to many expectant couples:

Why did you and your team feel that this was an essential new topic to add to the DadPad app?

We recognise that sex during pregnancy can sometimes be a source of anxiety for many reasons, but we wanted to reassure parents-to-be that – for most couples – it is completely safe.

Some expectant parents – both mum and dad – will find that their sexual desire changes through pregnancy. It’s really important that, as a couple, you discuss your thoughts and feelings around sex and intimacy, and respect each other’s wishes and concerns.

As a dad-to-be, you and baby’s mum can also always discuss your sexual activity with your family’s Midwife or Obstetrician (a specialist pregnancy doctor) who would be more than happy to answer any questions either of you might have.

What would you say are dads’ (and mums’) most common concerns in relation to sex during pregnancy?

Some parents-to-be are worried that, by having sex, they can hurt their unborn baby or cause labour to start early, but this is unlikely.

If, though, your partner has a pregnancy that has been deemed to be ‘high risk’, because of specific risk factors, then it may be a good idea for her to have a chat to her Midwife or Obstetrician to make sure there’s nothing to worry about.

There are certain risk factors, for example, where it is advised that a couple should abstain from sex, including:

  • if mum’s waters have broken (this is because intercourse can increase the risk of infection); 
  • if mum has a low-lying placenta;
  • if mum has experienced heavy bleeding during her pregnancy; or
  • there is a high risk of mum going into labour prematurely.

Other worries common in expectant parents relate to which positions to be in during sex, especially as pregnancy advances and the bump gets bigger! Some positions might need to be adjusted: for example, when in the missionary position, it might be a good idea to put a pillow underneath your partner’s bottom to keep her at a slight tilt, which will stop the weight of the bump pressing on her spine and major blood vessels. You should also be mindful not to use your partner’s bump to support your weight when having sex.

Many pregnant couples find that lying side-by-side or having sex from behind is more comfortable, especially in later pregnancy. You could also explore other ways of being intimate together that do not involve penetrative sex.

Always remember that patience, communication and understanding are key to navigating a sexual relationship both during pregnancy and after the birth of your baby.  

Do you have any other general advice for a dad-to-be who wants to know more about sex during pregnancy?

Firstly, there are some possible side effects of sex during pregnancy, including light vaginal bleeding, mild contractions (known as Braxton Hicks) and infection.  Mum can also sometimes experience some pain/sensitivity, which can often be eased by exploring different positions or by considering using lubrication. If you or your partner are concerned about any of these, please always consult a health professional, such as your Midwife or GP.

It is also important to remember that – for some women – their sex drive increases when pregnant, whilst for others it decreases.  For some, it will fluctuate depending on the stage of their pregnancy. 

As an expectant dad, you might also find that your own concerns or worries about sex in pregnancy change in a similar way. You may have a lot on your mind as you contemplate the changes coming up in your life, and what’s going on in your partner’s body. You may feel worried about possibly hurting your baby or your partner, or feel self-conscious about the baby ‘hearing’ things (it can’t!). The best thing to do is to speak honestly and openly to each other about how you’re both feeling. 

The good news is that the ‘Sex in Pregnancy’ topic is now available for all dads using the DadPad app for Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells, and we hope that other DadPad app areas will be adding this new content to their apps very soon!

For any commissioners wanting to add the new topic to their app in the meantime, please do get in touch with the team at DadPad so that we can organise this for you.


References and further reading:

NHS (2021) Sex in Pregnancy.

Emma’s Diary (2020) Sex During Pregnancy

NCT (2021) Sex in trimester one, two and three of pregnancy.