Who says the fun needs to stop once you have the bun in the oven? Whether you use strap-ons, fingers, a penis, or mouths, you don't have to give up your pleasure to have a safe pregnancy. Of all the changes you'll experience during this time, thankfully, your sex life can mostly stay exactly the same.
Can you have sex while pregnant?
Yes. As long as you're comfortable, it's completely safe to have sex while pregnant.
There may be circumstances in high-risk pregnancies where your doctor advises against sexual activity to prevent contracting (like you do when you orgasm), but that's rare, says board-certified OB-GYN Christine Sterling, M.D. Talk to your doctor if you have any known pregnancy complications. But unless you have vaginal bleeding, your water broke, you have placenta previa (when the placenta covers the opening in your cervix), or if you're at significant risk for preterm labor, OB-GYN Shieva Ghofrany, M.D., says you're free to explore pregnancy sex.
There are actually a lot of benefits of having sex during pregnancy, including:
- Decreases cortisol
- Provides good exercise
- Vaginal increased blood flow
- Orgasms are good for the brain
- Stress relief
- Increases in dopamine and oxytocin (feel-good bonding hormones)
"Pretty soon, you'll have to take a small sexual hiatus—and post-pregnancy hormones tend to intentionally reduce libido—so enjoy this time," adds Nisha McKenzie, PA-C, CSC, NCMP, I.F., founder of the Women's Health Collective.
Best sex positions during pregnancy.
Most sex positions are perfectly safe during pregnancy as long as you find them comfortable, says OB-GYN Diana Okuniewski, D.O., FACOOG, NCMP. That means you have the green light to get creative, plus you can keep your tried-and-true favorites in the rotation if they still serve you well with a growing belly. Even though many pregnancy sex positions present challenges for each trimester, you'll naturally be the most limited in the third—but there are still plenty of workable options.
No matter how far along you are in your pregnancy, here are 11 sex positions to try with a partner:
Best for the first and second trimester, this gentler pregnancy sex position just requires you to lie on your side with a raised leg while your partner does the same but flipped the other direction, with their head by your feet and their feet by your head. To create the scissor effect, slip their lower leg underneath yours—as they inch closer to you, they can (with their vagina) rub against yours slowly or (with their penis) enter your vagina with the slow penetration this position is known for.
2. Doggy Style
This rear-entry sex position is great during all three trimesters and may be especially handy during the third trimester since it takes pressure off your back, pelvis, and stomach. Typically, you'll be on all fours while your partner penetrates or performs oral on you from behind. Based on how far along you are, it might be difficult to hold yourself up, so try to relax your weight on pillows or enjoy this position on the couch.
Since this position allows for deeper penetration, make sure to communicate with your partner about your level of comfort if you're going that route. You can also put a pillow between you two to keep them from going too deep inside you. "There are also rings that can be put on a partner's penis, or on a sex toy that prevents it from going too deep," says women's health expert Wendie Trubow, M.D.
Consider this penetrative sex position a twist on the face-to-face classic: missionary. But instead of you both being vertical, Ghofrany explains you'll have your butt on the edge of a comfortable surface (a tabletop, the bed, etc.) while your partner stands up and enters you. Since your partner holds your legs up and the bed supports your weight, your hands are free to engage your clitoris or caress your breasts.
Definitely explore this intimate sex position in your first and second trimester, but only during your third if you're comfortable and not experiencing dizziness.
If your partner's got a penis or strap-on, the cowgirl is one of the best ways to stimulate your clitoris with friction while you're penetrated. Straddle your partner and face them as they lie beneath you with their legs bent. You can also pull a Missy Elliot and flip that thing back and reverse it: Get on top but backward.
This "riding" sex position is a great option for sex during all three trimesters of your pregnancy. Whether you straddle your partner and face them or their toes, both variations let you keep the weight off your belly, plus you can control the depth and pace of their strokes.
To relieve even more strain, try this: Have your partner grab your hips or waist and hold you up as they (gently) meet you with each thrust—less effort; same pleasure.
If you want to try full missionary, gauge your comfort along the way. While it can be dangerous to lie on your back, Ghofrany says data supports that if a woman is comfortable on her back and not short of breath or dizzy, then it should be OK.
Missionary is best for sex during the first and second trimesters. Any further along, keep this in mind: "As you get closer to 20 to 24 weeks," explains Sterling, "your uterus gets heavy enough to put pressure on the vena cava," which is the major vein that circulates blood from your heart through your body and to the baby.
6. Lotus Position
The lotus sex position is great for the first and second trimester, and potentially the third depending on the size of your belly, and it can be done with or without penetration. Have your partner sit upright in a comfortable position and then sit on their lap or between their legs, with your legs wrapping around their torso. From here, take a page from tantric sex practices and allow elongated eye contact, closeness, kissing, and deep embraces lead you to fulfillment.
7. The Corkscrew
"So many [people] try from behind while lying on their side," Ghofrany says, and it might be because all you have to do during this popular pregnancy sex position is lie on your side and receive penetration from behind. Pregnant people in the first and second trimester will love this relaxing position, but proceed with caution if you're in your third trimester—you might feel some discomfort.
Rest on your hip and forearm close to the edge of the bed (or couch, futon, counter...) with your thighs pressed together, then your partner can massage your body while they penetrate you with a penis or toy. If you can handle it, thrust your hips slightly and match your partner's speed to share the stroke.
8. Stand Up
Among the easiest of the pregnant sex positions here, all you have to do for this one is stand up against a wall or your bed with your legs spread, then your partner will hold your waist and penetrate you from behind with penis or toy. With all the pressure off your belly, use this opportunity to guide the depth and strength of your partner's thrusts. Or, up the ante on your own pleasure with clitoral stimulation.
This position is safe for any trimester, but keeping your balance may get difficult after 26 weeks.
9. The Laptop
Keep this sex position in your rotation during the first and second trimesters. While facing away from your, sit on your their lap while they sit in a chair—ideally, one without armrests—and let them do the rest of the work. Whether you use this position to grind on each other or receive penetration, you have tons of leverage: Being upright provides extra G-spot stimulation, and since your belly is out of the way, you can find the angles you like best. If you're up for it, use your free hands to stroke your partner's perineum, scrotum, or clitoris.
10. Spoon, But Make It Sexy
Third-trimester folks, this lazy, intimate position is all you. Lie on your side with slightly bent knees, then invite your partner to do the same behind you. You'll both face the same direction as your partner enters you from behind with a penis, toy, or fingers, so there's no pressure on your belly, back, or bladder.
Since deep penetration can be hard to achieve with this position, your partner can grab onto your shoulders to deepen their thrust. However, you can also take advantage of this snuggly option to be gently stimulated.
Although spooning sex is great for any stage, it especially lends itself to the increased size or pressure you might experience closer to your due date.
Sex toys to try.
According to McKenzie, pregnant-safe sex toys are the same as vagina-safe sex toys. As long as they're not old, cracked, or filled with bacteria from lack of cleaning, she says toys can "take some of the positioning struggles away as you or your partner can use a toy on you in any position you're comfortable."
Here are a few options to consider:
- Satisfyer Pro 2 Next Generation ($49.95). This waterproof and rechargeable clitoral vibrator uses pressure waves technology to deliver suction and pulsation through 11 levels of intensity.
- Better Love Rabbit Lily Vibrator ($99.99). Also waterproof, the Lily Vibe rabbit vibrator has dual motors and 10 speed modes, plus it's shaped to stimulate your clitoris and G-spot at the same time!
- Fun Factory Bootie Plug ($34.98). Before you dive in, dip your toes into anal sex with this silicone butt plug that's tapered for easy insertion.
Pro-tip: Practice good hygiene and wash your sex toys after every use, especially if you share it with your partner. Additionally, have separate toys designated for vaginal and anal play to avoid potentially spreading bacteria. Preventing infections during pregnancy is important, so make sure you also don't use toys if you're bleeding, in preterm labor, or experiencing any complications.
Tips and tricks to enhance your pleasure.
Sex during pregnancy will likely look different than it did before you began growing something inside you, but it doesn't have to be any less gratifying:
Don't sweat how you look.
The first step is to love and accept your changing body. Ghofrany says the important part to make sex more fun is to get out of your head and try not to be self-conscious—"[that] never helps us feel sexy or relax, and it can impede an orgasm!"
Try pillow support.
To prop your hips up during sex to make penetration more accessible, McKenzie recommends a bolster pillow. You can also "use a body pillow to support your growing belly if you'd like to lie on your side," which you can find at most sex stores, baby stores, or online retailers.
Double up on types of stimulation.
While you and your partner show each other a good time, kill two birds with one stone and stimulate your clitoris while they stimulate your body in other ways. A vibrator would be a great assist in this department, but your finger (or two!) won't disappoint either.
If you're in a giving mood, focus on their pleasure and stimulate your partner's nipples, clitoris, scrotum, or anus with your hands or toys.
Load up on lubricant.
Relieve your body.
"Most of the things that would cause us to not enjoy sex during pregnancy...are nausea and vomiting," shares McKenzie. "Talk to your [OB-GYN] about the best way to control your nausea and capitalize on the times you're not nauseous, if possible."
For other pregnancy pains, like in your back or hip, McKenzie says to consider seeing a physical or massage therapist. And during sex, position yourself on your hands and knees or hands and forearms to relieve the pressure on your lower back.
Incorporate anal play.
Anal sex is diverse, and most of the sex positions mentioned above work with anal. To let your partner enter you from behind, you can lie on your side in a spoon position, get on all fours, stand up, sit on your partner's lap; you name it.
Anal sex works well for the first, second, and third trimesters because of the reduced pressure on your stomach. That said, hemorrhoids are common in pregnancy, so there's a risk that "anal sex may be more uncomfortable and lead to significant bleeding," explains Ghofrany.
Always use lube for anal penetration, and to prevent the spread of bacteria, use condoms and don't move any toys or body parts from your butt to vagina without cleaning up thoroughly.
Skip the penetration if it's not working for you.
Even if your partner has a penis, penetration isn't the only way to enjoy sex. Consider mutual masturbation plus giving and/or receiving oral sex in any of the pregnancy sex positions on our list.
Explore nonsexual intimacy.
The varied experiences you'll have during pregnancy may change your relationship with sex. Sometimes you'll want to engage; other times, not so much. Still, Sterling points out it's important to explore how you and your partner can fulfill each other's needs for intimacy.
Here are some options she suggests:
- Give each other massages.
- Brush each other's hair.
- Get naked and hold each other.
- Lie down together and talk.
- Exchange oral sex.
Plus, don't forget you can always just cuddle. (Here are some of the best cuddling positions if you need some new ideas.)
Things to keep in mind:
Talk to your doctor.
Sterling says it's important to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have around sex during pregnancy and understand their recommendations. For instance, did they suggest you not engage in any sexual activity or that you just shouldn't put something in your vagina?
If your doctor hasn't expressed concerns, don't hesitate to foster intimacy with your partner through sex. Just always exercise caution.
It's particularly important to get input from your doc if you have a high-risk pregnancy or any other complications. If you have a previa, sex or orgasms (which cause the uterus to contract) may trigger bleeding, and if your water broke, you can introduce bacteria into the uterus, Ghofrani notes. In such cases, avoid sexual activity unless your doctor gives you other instructions, says Trubow.
Avoid lying on your back.
In the earlier months, your pregnancy "hasn't reached the level where it compresses vessels," notes Sterling, so you might be more comfortable to explore sex positions while on your back, although nausea and acid reflux can make this difficult.
But typically, "as with any time in pregnancy," says McKenzie, "we try to avoid lying on our back to help keep good blood flow to the placenta," especially if you're closer to your due date.
It's not totally clear whether sex in the third trimester can induce labor.
Okuniewski says sex can "theoretically" stimulate labor due to the physical stimulation of the "lower uterine segment, release of oxytocin with orgasm, the action of prostaglandins in semen, or possible exposure to infection."
However, she says there isn't enough evidence to recommend against sexual intercourse during pregnancy. In fact, it's quite the opposite: A 2001 study showed no increased risk of preterm delivery in women who had sex1 in the third trimester; instead, they might have reduced the risk.
The bottom line.
Now that you know how to have safe sex during pregnancy, try to let go and have fun.
"You've got ~4 cm of cervix, uterus, placenta, and amniotic fluid all protecting the baby," assures McKenzie. "Baby isn't going to feel a thing."
Farrah Daniel is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a bachelor's degree in Digital Media Studies from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Her work has been published at The Penny Hoarder, The Write Life, and elsewhere. Daniel manages and creates content for small businesses, nonprofits, and lifestyle publications. With five years of professional writing under her belt, her diverse portfolio includes topics such as wellness, personal finance, sales and marketing, shared micromobility and equity, and more.