When you’re so pregnant you need help tying your shoes, you’ll need to get creative when you’re in the mood for sex. Culturally, pregnant people are often considered asexual, so there’s not much information out there about how to make the most out of sex when your body is as pregnant as can be. The truth is that 30-50 percent of people have sex during the last trimester of pregnancy.
Some people even use penetrative sex in an attempt to jump start labor. A pregnant person who orgasms experiences the release of oxytocin. Toward the final weeks of pregnancy, orgasm can cause a pregnant person’s uterus to contract and possibly even get labor started if it’s almost time. Sex is a commonly used practice to start labor, but the science isn’t really conclusive.
Even if it doesn’t get labor going, sex can still feel fabulous and give you and your partner some quality together time before baby arrives. Luckily, there are some sex positions that can make pregnancy sex as good as sex before pregnancy, if not better.
The truth about pregnancy sex positions
“Sex during pregnancy for some folks can be ahhhhmazing!” says Barbara Davis, a Certified Doula-Labor and Childbirth Educator. The best positions for sex during pregnancy are going to vary from person to person and couple to couple, says Davis. “The biggest rule here is to get creative and do what works for YOU!”
Best penetrative sex positions for pregnancy:
1. Rear entry
The baby bump can definitely get in the way toward the end of the third trimester. Davis recommends trying doggy style on all fours or, if that's too much weight to support, prop yourself over a birth ball, stack of pillows, or even try standing over the edge of the bed (or table or desk).
2. Cuddle up
Spooning, or side-lying, is another great position for third trimester sex. All of the skin-to-skin contact also promotes the release of the feel-good hormone oxytocin.
3. Climb on top
Perhaps the most popular third trimester position, being on top enables the pregnant person to control the depth and speed of penetration. Since pregnancy can cause extra sensitivity in the vulva, vagina and clitoris, being in control can make all the difference. If you’re into nipple play, this is the prime position. Nipple stimulation is another oxytocin producer, and can (possibly) bring on labor if the time is right.
4. Reverse cow-person
Riding on top can be challenging if you have any of the typical pregnancy soreness in your hips. If that’s the case, reverse it! Turn around so your back faces your partner. You can also support your breasts/chest in this position by holding them up with your hands. Davis says this is a good move if they are super sensitive or leaking colostrum.
Whether you lean on the counter top or the back of a couch, standing with your partner entering from behind can be both comfortable and erotic. If the counter or couch isn’t comfy enough, grab a pillow for softness and support and place it under your chest.
6. With props
If you’ve tried prenatal yoga, you know it takes a lot of props to make some yoga poses comfortable for pregnant people. The same applies to sex positions. A yoga bolster can be your best friend when it comes to creative pregnancy sex positions. Place it under your butt for a “legs up” position to give your partner more room to enter without crowding your belly. Or lean over a bolster long-ways to support your weight instead of doing doggy style on all fours.
7. Chair position
The non-pregnant person sits in a chair (on a couch, chaise, etc.) while the pregnant person sits on top of them. The pregnant person can lean back to make room for their belly, while supporting their weight with their arms on the partner’s legs or knees. Ideally, the pregnant person’s feet will touch the ground, also supporting some of their weight.
Are there any positions that aren’t safe during pregnancy?
Sex during pregnancy is some of the safest sex you can have, considering there’s no risk for you to become pregnant (again). As long as your healthcare provider has given you a thumb’s up, there’s no reason that having sex while pregnant could hurt you, your partner or the fetus. (Just keep in mind that you’ll still need to use a condom to protect yourself from STIs.)
Sex and placenta previa
There is one condition that makes all sex positions an absolute no-go during pregnancy. Placenta previa occurs when the placenta covers the cervix, the opening that connects the vagina and the uterus. The placenta houses the fetus’s blood and nutrients.
If you have placenta previa, nothing should be put into the vagina at all, including penises, sex toys, and fingers. This condition is diagnosed by an ultrasound at your healthcare provider’s office.
Oral sex and pregnancy
Whatever kind of pregnancy kink you’re into, just be sure to avoid forcefully blowing air into the vagina during oral sex. Although rare, there have been reports of this sexual behavior leading to a serious condition called venous air embolism (VEA). It’s unlikely oral sex can lead to harm, but just keep in mind that blowing air into the vagina directly isn’t a good idea.
Is bleeding after sex something I should worry about?
Blood volume increases gradually throughout a pregnancy, so there’s enough blood to supply both the parent and the fetus. All of this extra blood gets distributed throughout the body, even to your cervix. This makes the cervix more sensitive to touch.
It’s common to notice some spotting after sex or even after being checked at your healthcare provider’s office during a prenatal visit. However, if the bleeding is more than just spotting, contains clots, or is accompanied by pain, call your provider immediately.
Is it normal for sex to hurt during pregnancy?
Sex might feel “different” or “weird,” but it shouldn’t hurt. Pain during sex could indicate an infection. A common infection during pregnancy is called cervicitis and it involves inflammation of the cervix. This infection can make sex excruciating. It can be caused by STIs, but in some cases it occurs because of the lowered immune system caused by pregnancy. It requires treatment or it could lead to preterm labor.
Otherwise, the vagina might just feel tight or dry during sex. Try adding your favorite lube and really take your time warming up. Many pregnant people agree than when penetrative sex just doesn’t feel good, the head-between-the-thighs position is the best way to go. Some pregnant people can feel uncomfortable lying flat on their backs for too long, so get creative with this one, too. Try side-lying or oral from behind when you’re no longer comfortable on your back.
The ultimate pregnancy sex position
Your hormones are flowing, your blood is pumping and some of your curvy body is more delicious than it’s ever been. Pregnancy is the time to get down with your changing body and make yourself feel good. Experiment with yourself and explore all the ways your body is changing. Some pregnant people find that orgasm from masturbation is some of the most mind-blowing orgasm they’ve ever experienced.
The most important thing to remember about sex and pregnancy is however you feel about it, is the right way to feel. It’s okay to take a break from sex if you or your partner aren’t into the idea. And it’s also okay if pregnancy and a growing belly makes you and your partner hornier than ever. Wherever you fall on the spectrum is totally fine, and chances are, you’ll find yourself at different places on the spectrum as you move through the trimesters of pregnancy.