Which pregnancy sex positions are safe, and which ones are comfortable? Here's more on sex positions to try when you're pregnant.
When it comes to pregnancy sex, “Is it safe?” is probably the very first question on your mind. But after clearing that up, you might be wondering how to make the whole thing work.
Sex while you’re expecting can be a little different than it was pre-pregnancy. As your tiny baby bump blossoms into a full-fledged belly, not every position might be comfortable — or satisfying — for you and your partner.
Don’t worry, though. Even though having sex while pregnant might seem like unfamiliar territory, there are still plenty of pregnancy sex positions that will feel good for both heterosexual and same-sex couples. And you can use them up until the very end.
Here’s a look at the best sex positions during pregnancy, whether there’s anything you need to avoid and how to stay comfortable trimester by trimester.
What are the best pregnancy sex positions?
The good news: Almost any position works as long as you’re comfortable. The not so good? As your pregnancy progresses, you might find that your ever-growing belly gets harder to maneuver around.
During your first trimester, there’s a high chance that almost any sex position will feel good, assuming you feel good. Nothing kills the mood faster than early pregnancy symptoms like nausea, bloating, constipation and exhaustion. So feel free to stick with the go-tos that you and your partner liked best before finding out you were expecting.
Things can start to change once you reach your second trimester and beyond. Again, as long as a pregnancy sex position Opens a new window feels good, it’s perfectly fine. The same goes for toys like strap-on dildos. Just like in your pre-pregnancy days, as long as they’re clean and feel comfortable, they’re safe to use.
But if it seems like your bump is getting in the way, there are plenty of belly-friendly options for you and your partner to try:
- Side-lying positions: Lying on your side is often the most comfortable, whether you’re facing front-to-front or front-to-back. Both options keep the weight off your back, and you won’t have to worry about holding up the weight of your belly. If you feel pressure on your low back, try tucking a pillow between your knees and have your partner lie behind you.
- Pregnant partner on top: This position doesn’t put any pressure on your belly, and as an added bonus, it lets you be in control of both penetration depth and clitoral stimulation. One caveat: It may not be easy to move into this position during later-stage pregnancy. But if it feels good, go for it.
- Cowgirl-style: This position works because it doesn’t put any pressure on your belly, and it enables you to control the depth of penetration and clitoral stimulation. One thing to keep in mind: Late in pregnancy, when your belly has gotten bigger than you ever thought possible, you could find it tough to maneuver into this position.
- Rear entry: Having your partner enter you from behind, spooning-style, means they can bypass your belly altogether. Try standing with your hands against the wall, or having your partner sit on a chair with you sitting on their lap facing away from them. Getting on all fours is another option. Just rest your arms and head on the bed so you don’t have to hold up all that belly weight.
- Missionary: It’s fine as long as your partner keeps their weight off you by supporting themselves with their arms. If they prefer to have their hands free, try moving to the edge of the bed: Lie on your back on the bed, then scooch down so that your bottom is at the edge of the bed and your legs are dangling down towards the floor. Then have your partner kneel or stand in front of you. Tucking a few pillows under your back can help relieve any pressure.
- Oral sex: Sometimes it’s fun to relax and let your partner do all the work. Since lying flat on your back for more than a few minutes will likely feel uncomfortable starting in the second trimester, try laying on your side or sitting in a comfy chair with your legs. Just avoid oral sex where your partner blows air directly in your vagina, since it can cause a life-threatening air embolism to both you and your baby.
- Mutual masturbation: It can be an equally satisfying option when you’re not in the mood for penetrative sex. Try lying on your side, sitting in a chair, or finding another position that’s comfy.
What sex positions should I avoid during pregnancy?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, there’s almost nothing that’s off-limits. By the second trimester, you'll want to steer clear of any position that puts weight on your belly, like your partner lying directly on top of you or you lying on your stomach, and anything that keeps you on your back for too long.
Other than that, feel free to stick with most of the pre-pregnancy favorites that still work for you. And have fun exploring! Trying new things in the bedroom can make you and your partner feel even more connected.
Are there any risks associated with certain pregnancy sex positions?
Again, almost any position is okay as long as it feels good to you. Assuming you have the all-clear from your doctor, having sex during pregnancy is perfectly safe. That said, there are a few things to consider to avoid putting you or your baby at risk:
- Keep partner-on-top sessions short after week 20. Lying on your back for a few minutes isn’t a big deal. But staying that way for an extended period can make you dizzy and reduce blood flow to the baby, not to mention put uncomfortable pressure on your back.
- Be smart about anal sex. It’s totally fine, but if you want to follow up with vaginal sex, make sure you and your partner wash up thoroughly first to keep any infection-causing bacteria at bay. Also, you’ll probably want to avoid it if you’re dealing with hemorrhoids — which can get uncomfortable.
What pregnancy sex positions are best by trimester?
It’s all about what feels right to you. But in general, here’s what you might find works best:
- First trimester: Your bump is teeny-tiny to non-existent right now, so any positions that worked pre-pregnancy are probably still feeling good.
- Second trimester: As you get bigger, now might be the time to start exploring positions that work around your belly. Since you aren’t huge yet, you might find side-lying, rear-entry, pregnant person-on-top and partner-on-top positions comfortable.
- Third trimester: It’s totally fine to stick with whatever still feels okay, of course. But if some of your second-trimester favorites may have started to get a little challenging, lying on your side with a pillow between your knees and having your partner enter from behind might be the most comfortable, since you won’t have to support the weight of your belly or put pressure on your back.
The main thing to remember: There’s really no right or wrong way to have sex during pregnancy, but the bigger your belly gets, you’ll very likely find that certain positions are just more comfortable. It’s all about listening to your body and doing what feels right — so go for it!