Your Guide to Sex During Pregnancy

Pregnancy sex can be a confusing new frontier for many couples. Your libido is all over the place thanks to fluctuating hormones, your partner may feel weird about doing the deed, and then there’s the issue of figuring out which positions work as your belly grows! Our guide tells you everything you need to know…   When you were trying to conceive, you got busy on the reg. But as soon as you saw those two pink lines appear, you were probably hit with a range of disturbing pregnancy symptoms – fatigue, nausea and sore boobs – that made you feel about as sexy as a beached whale. Not to mention the emotional rollercoaster that comes with the territory: OMG, I’m gonna have a baybeee! Yippeee! O…M…G… wait a second now… I don’t know the first thing about babies! How on earth will I figure out how to change diapers and breastfeed and be a good mom? Halp!   And then there’s your partner who has his own emotions and concerns to contend with. Men often worry that they might hurt the baby during sex or they­ just feel generally weird about it knowing that their future child is, ahem, right there. They might also be uncertain about how to touch you or which positions are comfortable for you.   Fear not – you can still enjoy sex during pregnancy. Here’s everything you need to know.

Is sex during pregnancy safe?

If your pregnancy is progressing normally, it’s absolutely safe to have sex. Your baby is protected by your abdomen, the muscles of your uterus and the amniotic fluid. Sex won’t generally cause a miscarriage – this usually happens because of problems with the baby’s development or chromosomal abnormalities.   While some doctors may advise not to have sex in the last few weeks of pregnancy because they believe it could trigger labor, most studies haven’t found this to be true and sex is generally considered safe up until your due date. The contractions of an orgasm aren’t the same as labor contractions, so you don’t need to be concerned.

  Oral sex during pregnancy is considered safe as long as your partner doesn’t blow air into your vagina (hey, you never know!). An air bubble could potentially block a blood vessel, which could be dangerous for you and your baby. Anal sex should be avoided because bacteria could spread from the rectum to the vagina and cause an infection.   Some spotting or light bleeding can occur after intercourse, but it isn’t necessarily something to worry about. To be on the safe side, talk to your healthcare provider about this and any other concerns you have about your pregnancy or sex during pregnancy. It may also help to bring your partner along to one of your prenatal visits so that he can address any worries he might have.

Your doctor may advise you not to have sex during pregnancy if:

  • You’re at risk for or have a history of miscarriages
  • You’re at risk for or have a history of preterm labor or premature birth
  • You have unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • You’re leaking amniotic fluid
  • Your cervix starts to open prematurely
  • Your placenta is too low in your uterus (placenta previa)
  • You’re expecting multiples
  • Your partner has a sexually transmitted infection

What are the best sex positions during pregnancy?

Most sexual positions are safe as long as you’re comfortable. After about the fourth month of pregnancy, it’s best not to lie on your back for extended periods because the weight of your uterus can put pressure on a major blood vessel known as the vena cavena, which could potentially interfere with your circulation, cause low blood pressure and reduce blood flow to your baby. Plus, it might not feel very comfortable anymore, so it’s best to save the missionary position until after the baby is born.   Instead, give these sex positions a whirl and see which ones feel best for you and your partner.

Spoons: This is one of the best sex positions during pregnancy because it’s gentle, intimate and comfortable for both partners. The woman lies down on her side with her back to the man and he enters her from behind.

Cowgirl: This classic woman-on-top position won’t put any pressure on a growing belly and offers the man a great view.  

Pretzel: The woman lies on her side and wraps her top leg around her partner’s waist while he kneels and enters her.  

Delight: In this intimate position, the woman sits on the edge of a bed and the man kneels on the floor in front of her.  

See-Saw: The sweet See-Saw combines sex and cuddling. The man sits on the bed and the woman sits in his lap with her legs on either side of him. She holds onto his shoulders and can control the movement. See-Saw is best in the earlier stages of pregnancy before the baby gets too big.  

Lap dance: Lap dance might sound kinky, but it simply involves the woman sitting on the man’s lap, facing away from him, with her legs together.  

Standing rear entry: If standing doesn’t feel too difficult, the man can stand behind the woman and enter her. She can stabilize herself by placing her hands on a wall.  

What if I don’t want to have sex during pregnancy or it doesn’t feel right?

If you or your partner don’t want to have sex, don’t force it. There are plenty of other ways to keep the intimacy alive while you’re pregnant, such as kissing, cuddling, and sensual or sexual massage. Try to regularly communicate how you’re feeling to your partner so he doesn’t feel rejected or unwanted, and encourage him to do the same.

When can we start having sex again after the baby is born?

Most doctors recommend waiting four to six weeks after childbirth to have sex. You need to allow enough time for your cervix to close, bleeding to stop, and your C-section scar or any tears to heal. You may want to wait until you get the all-clear from your doctor at your six-week postpartum check-up.   You should also wait until you feel emotionally ready to have sex again. Becoming a parent can be a life-altering experience and it’s normal not to feel like your old sexy self when your boobs are leaking 24/7 and you’re only getting two-hour stretches of sleep at a time. Take your time and try not to put pressure on yourself. Your sex life might never return exactly to what it was before children, but it may get better in some ways. Many parents say they don’t have sex as often as they used to, but when they do, they feel closer and more connected.   Try to embrace the changes as much as humanly possible and be kind to yourself. Remember that men don’t see all the faults we see in ourselves. They don’t see squidgy bellies and wobbly cellulite – they’re just happy to be getting some! Go get him, you hot tamale, you

References: My book, A Fantastic Sex Life… And How to Get It! (published 2013):

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