Updated: Mar 10, 2021
Written By: Ashley Paul
Fact-Checked By: Dr. Tara Scott, OB-GYN
Getting a positive pregnancy test after you have been carefully planning for a baby is one of the best emotional highs in life (aside from actually seeing your new baby face-to-face). Happy accidents count too! But, do our sex lives have to come to a halt once conception has been confirmed and we know that we are in fact pregnant?
Of course not! Below you will find a user-friendly guide on how to achieve safe and rewarding sex during pregnancy.
Is It Safe To Have Sex During Pregnancy?
There are a lot of harmful myths in circulation regarding what a woman can and can’t do while pregnant. For instance, the concept of “eating for two” is false because there is no evidence to prove that this is even necessary. In fact, overeating is unhealthy for you and your new child. As long as you have a healthy, balanced diet you are basically in the clear.
The same goes for pregnancy sex myths. Have you ever heard a man ask, “What if I poke and injure the baby during sex with the tip of my penis?”
During a normal, low-risk pregnancy it is crucial for both the woman and her partner to understand that penetration and the movement of intercourse will not harm the baby. The baby is shielded by your rigid cervix, abdomen, the muscular walls of the uterus, and is insulated by the fluid in the amniotic sac.
Dr. Jacques Moritz, MD, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at Mount Sinai Morningside in New York City reassures us that, “...sex is totally fine in a normal pregnancy without complications.”
If your obstetrician has given you the okay for safe sex then go for it because there are many benefits to getting it on while pregnant.
Benefits Of Having Sex During Your Pregnancy:
- More intense orgasms. In your second trimester, hormones and increased blood flow contribute to a higher sex drive.
- After an orgasm, soothing hormones like oxytocin are secreted, which can help decrease pain, inflammation, and high blood pressure.
- Sex counts as a workout! Burning calories can directly lower blood pressure. High blood pressure can be problematic during pregnancy.
- After an orgasm, you will be able to fall asleep faster and have a more restful sleep.
- Improves labor and recovery time. During an orgasm, the contractions of your pelvic floor muscles cause them to grow stronger. This in turn helps to calm labor pains while simultaneously improving bladder control, meaning fewer leaks.
- Boosts your self-confidence. Let’s get real, during pregnancy your body changes. Change can be difficult and plenty of women may start to doubt if they are even still attractive. Of course, they are! If you're pregnant use positive self-talk during your inner dialogue. Say to yourself: “I have not let myself go. I am just temporarily carrying a tiny human inside of me. I am proud of my bump!” Amp up your self-esteem even more by getting down and dirty with your partner. You will realize that you are still able to be a vixen in the sheets!
How To Have Sex During Your Pregnancy
When it comes to having sex with a belly bump, the rule of the land is that comfort is the number one priority. If a sex position feels good then it is fair game.
Oral sex or the use of vibrators and dildos is also completely safe during any of the three trimesters. When you are receiving cunnilingus make a point to tell your partner that blowing any air up into your vagina is off-limits. The act of blowing air into your vagina can cause an air embolism which can be fatal for you and your child.
Most doctors recommend that women avoid sleeping on their back after the fourth month of pregnancy. In the same vein, it makes sense to avoid lying down flat on your back in the missionary position. When you are on your back the weight of the baby and uterus can compress a major blood vessel called the vena cava, which can be dangerous for both you and your growing baby. Also, avoid lying flat on your stomach as it can definitely cause pain.
Use the same common sense you used before you became pregnant to avoid sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Pregnancy doesn’t make you resistant to STIs like the hepatitis B virus, herpes, HIV, gonorrhea, genital warts, or chlamydia. Acquiring an STI while pregnant can cause an array of health problems for you and your little one.
It is especially important to use a condom if:
- You are not in a monogamous relationship that is mutually exclusive.
- You have multiple sex partners. Assume that they are having sex with others as well.
- You have a new sex partner.
Comfortable Pregnancy Sex Positions
Sex from behind, colloquially known as “doggy style” is a great fit for you and your baby bump because you are supported by your hands and knees, and pressure is kept off of your belly. Feel free to use this classic position during the first and second trimesters. During the end of the second trimester, your belly can throw off your balance which can be potentially dangerous.
A fabulous way to keep sex safe after the fourth month is to experiment with being on top. The cowgirl and reverse cowgirl positions are my favorite and I’m not even pregnant! It is both comfortable and fun to be able to control how much penetration you are getting. Your vagina needs time to “tent” or expand so it is an asset to be in command sometimes. You can even tease your man by going in a little and taking it away a tad to build up the erotic anticipation. Use your intuition and move in whatever way that makes you feel good.
The results of a Taiwanese study showed proof that pregnant women who are able to control the amount of penetration by being on top of their partner had greater sexual satisfaction. Being on top is fine for any trimester, however, take care to avoid deep penetration during the third trimester because the cervix can be quite sensitive at that time.
I bet that even the strongest athletes among us have dealt with the dreaded leg cramp that can accompany a long cowgirl session. But there is no reason to fret because lying together sideways, aka “spooning sex” is a perfectly great way to get sexual satisfaction.
The side-by-side sex position is just like spooning except you’ll be face to face with your partner. Shanna Katz Kattari, a sexologist and instructor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work recommends, “For any pregnant person, positions on their side will feel better, and they can prop up their bellies with extra pillows or a rolled-up towel.” She adds, “These side positions can be used for penetrative sex with hands and toys, as well as for both giving and receiving oral sex.”
Hear that, ladies? That means that 69 is on the menu too. Side positions can be utilized during any trimester and they are the safest choice for your third trimester.