Where Does Sperm Go During Pregnancy? Is It Safe?

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Vaginal sex is considered safe during pregnancy unless suggested otherwise by your gynecologist. A doubt may arise as to what happens to the semen or sperm during pregnancy. You may also have concerns regarding its effect on the growing fetus. Unprotected sex and semen have no adverse effects in non-complicated pregnancies.

This post talks about where sperm goes during pregnancy and whether it affects you or your baby.

In This Article

Where Does The Sperm Go If You Are Already Pregnant? 

Sperms deposited in the vagina will be denied entry by the mucus plug
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Your baby is floating inside an amniotic sac protected by the amniotic fluid, and the cervix is covered with a mucus plug. Semen with sperms deposited in the vagina will be denied entry by the mucus plug and eventually come out of the body via the vaginal opening. The mucus plug is intended to keep bacteria or other potential sources of infection away from the uterus, and the same applies to semen. (1).

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In the last weeks of pregnancy, intercourse can dislodge mucus, and sperm can enter the uterus (10). However, it can’t reach the fetus as the amniotic sac protects it.

Can Sperm Reach The Baby Or Cause A Second Pregnancy?

The hormone levels are not conducive to implantation even if sperms reach ovum
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The penis cannot penetrate far enough to reach the fetus, so there’s no way for the sperm to reach the fetus (2). The conception of a second child during pregnancy is known as superfetation. It may happen in some mammals but is an extremely rare phenomenon in humans, with less than ten cases reported in medical literature up to 2008 (3).

When you are pregnant, the hormonal levels change to support the pregnancy or gestation and not ovulation. Therefore, the ovum is not released, and the mucus plug already prevents the entry of sperm. Additionally, the hormone levels are not conducive to implantation if the sperms find their way to an ovum by chance (4).

Is Sperm Safe For Pregnancy? 

Unprotected sex and sperm are considered safe in a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy. However, you may need to consult your doctor if there are any conditions or risks associated with your pregnancy or if you have pain or bleeding during sexual activity.

Unprotected intercourse and exposure to sperm from an infected partner may increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). During pregnancy, you are more prone to infections, and some of them may be dangerous for both mother and the growing fetus. It may eventually increase the risk of premature birth or spontaneous abortion (miscarriage).

The risks decrease if (5):

  • Your partner is monogamous (having one sexual partner) and has been tested negative for STIs.
  • You use protection, such as condoms, every time you have penetrative sex.

    The risk of miscarriage decreases if you use condoms during sex
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Is Semen Beneficial To Pregnancy?

Experts have reported some potential benefits of sexual activity and sperm during pregnancy. Semen may benefit pregnancy in the following ways.

  • Semen contains many protective and immune-tolerance-inducing substances that modulate the maternal immune system. Extensive paternal sperm exposure (exposure to sperm of one particular person) for more than 12 months pre-pregnancy may decrease the risk of preeclampsia (sudden high blood pressure and protein in urine) (6) (7).
  • Human semen contains prostaglandins (hormone-like substances) that may ripen the cervix and help in inducing labor. Additionally, sperm and sexual intercourse may produce a physical stimulation in the lower uterus and cause the release of the hormone oxytocin, a major hormone involved in labor, due to orgasm. So, sometimes, penetrative sex is suggested as a method of starting labor in uncomplicated pregnancies, though more extensive research is required in this area (8).
  • Orgasms release endorphins, which boost your mood and happiness while helping you bond with your partner emotionally (9).

protip_icon Trivia
A psychologist has theorized that continuous semen exposure during pregnancy could help prevent morning sickness.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I develop a sperm allergy when pregnant?

Although very rare, some women may develop a sperm allergy called seminal plasma protein allergy (SPPA). Women with SPPA may have an immune reaction to semen, causing various symptoms, including inflammation, itching, and anaphylaxis (11).

2. How long does sperm stay in a pregnant woman?

Studies reveal that strong sperm motility may be found in the woman’s cervix for up to five days (12).

3. Can too much sperm affect pregnancy?

Although sperm volume is unlikely to affect pregnancy, engaging in frequent intercourse may cause discomfort during pregnancy. Therefore, consider the safety aspects and your health status and speak to your doctor if you have any further concerns.

Many women feel apprehensive about engaging in sexual activities due to various fears and doubts, such as where sperms go during pregnancy and if having sex harms my fetus, among others. In addition, health concerns such as morning sickness, altered libido, and weakness could also make you disinterested in having sex when pregnant. Nonetheless, sexual intercourse and sperm are considered safe while pregnant unless you have complications. However, for some women, a doctor may advise staying away from sex if they have pregnancy-related complications such as placenta previa, infections, amniotic fluid leakage, or excessive bleeding.

Infographic: Superfetation vs Superfecundation

What are superfetation and superfecundation? Our infographic will help you understand these pregnancy phenomena with ease. Take a print and pin this infographic if you feel you might want to share it with a friend with similar questions.

Sperm during pregnancy (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

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Key Pointers

  • Sperm entering the vagina during pregnancy is usually discarded from the vaginal opening.
  • The mucus plug, which covers the amniotic sac, prevents the entry of sperm into the uterus.
  • The immune-tolerance-inducing substances in sperm may benefit a mother’s immune system.
  • Consult your doctor to learn if unprotected sex is safe during pregnancy.
sperm during pregnancy_illustration

Image: Dall·E/MomJunction Design Team


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Mucus Plug.
  2. Sex during pregnancy: questions and concerns.
  3. O. Pape et al.; Superfetation: Case report and review of the literature.
  4. Reshef Tal and Hugh S. Taylor Endocrinology of Pregnancy.
  5. STDs during Pregnancy – CDC Fact Sheet.
  6. Daniele Di Mascio et al.; Type of paternal sperm exposure before pregnancy and the risk of preeclampsia: A systematic review.
  7. Louise C. Kennyand Douglas B. Kell Immunological Tolerance Pregnancy and Preeclampsia: The Roles of Semen Microbes and the Father.
  8. Sexual intercourse for cervical ripening and induction of labour.
  9. Sex during pregnancy.
  10. Mucus Plug.
  11. B G Ludman; (1999); Human seminal plasma protein allergy: a diagnosis rarely considered.
  12. S.S. Suarez and A. A. Pacey; (2006); Sperm transport in the female reproductive tract.
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