If you have a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy, orgasms—with or without intercourse—don’t increase the risk of premature labor. Likewise, sex isn’t likely to trigger labor even as your due date approaches.
If You’re Close to Your Due Date
While there’s no need to time yourself like Olympian Usain Bolt in a 100-meter dash, you or your partner do want to start noting how long the contractions last and the length of the time between them (measured from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next). Are these contractions coming in regular intervals, spaced closely and so painful that it’s hard to talk during them (as opposed to little twinges)? You’re considered to be in active labor if you have contractions that last for about a minute and come regularly more often than every five minutes.
If you’re very uncomfortable during the contractions or if you live far from the hospital or birthing center, your doctor or midwife may recommend that you come in. You’ll be assessed every two hours to determine whether or not you’re in active labor.
A Note About Bleeding
Bleeding, whether or not it’s accompanied by contractions, is always worth discussing with your doctor or midwife. But not all causes are serious: For example, it’s common to experience a small amount of bright red bleeding during intercourse, especially during the first trimester. This bleeding is caused when capillaries in the cervix, which are swollen during pregnancy, become irritated and burst.
Common pregnancy symptoms like spotting and contractions can be harmless or signs of trouble. Here’s how to tell the difference.