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What Are Sex Positions During Pregnancy?

Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on December 18, 2020

Many couples spend a lot of time focused on sex while trying to conceive. But what happens to your sex life once you get pregnant?

Although there are plenty of worries and misconceptions surrounding sex with a partner during pregnancy, it's completely safe in most cases. It may, however, require some extra caution, experimentation, and communication. 

What’s Safe to Try?

As long as you feel comfortable, most sex positions are safe to try during pregnancy, including vaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex, and masturbation

Many people worry about how having sex will affect their baby. It's important to know that babies can tolerate more movement and pressure than we think. However, they prefer not to be in any one position for too long. If your baby is in an uncomfortable position, they will usually let you know by kicking your belly or moving around.

You may want to experiment with different sex positions to find what feels the most comfortable. The ones that feel good may change over time. For example, sex with your partner on top can get more uncomfortable as you get farther along in your pregnancy.

Here are some sex positions that may work well in each of the three stages of pregnancy

First Trimester 

  • Scissor position
  • Missionary position

Second Trimester 

  • Doggy style
  • Cowgirl position
  • Spider position

Third Trimester

  • Spooning
  • Reverse cowgirl

Myths About Sex During Pregnancy

It Harms the Baby

Sex won't harm your baby. The amniotic fluid that surrounds them and the strong muscles of your uterus provide protection. If you’re receiving vaginal sex, your partner won't be able to penetrate past your cervix.

Having sex during pregnancy also won't cause a miscarriage, or loss of pregnancy.

It Raises Your Risk of Going into Early Labor

If you haven't had any complications with your pregnancy, sex or orgasms won't make you more likely to go into premature or early labor. However, in the later stages of pregnancy, having sex or an orgasm can set off mild contractions. These false labor pains, called Braxton Hicks contractions, are your body's way of getting ready for the real thing. If this happens, there is no need to be alarmed. You may want to lie down until the contractions pass or try relaxation techniques.

You Don't Need Condoms  

If you or your partner are having sex with other people during your pregnancy, you should use a barrier form of contraception, such as condoms, to protect yourself and your baby from sexually transmitted infections (STI's). STIs may cause serious health issues for you and your baby, and condoms greatly lower the chances of getting one.

How to Try Sex Positions During Pregnancy Safely

While some couples find sex during pregnancy enjoyable, others may not be up for it. It’s also normal to feel a stronger sex drive at certain points in your pregnancy and be less interested at other times. Try to stay open to what your body is telling you.

It’s a good idea to talk to your partner about how you can stay intimate during your pregnancy. Let them know what you’re comfortable doing and what might feel best to you right now. For some couples, physical closeness in the form of cuddling, kissing, and caressing one another is a good alternative when sex isn’t an option.

Possible Risks

Although most of the time sex during pregnancy is safe, your doctor or midwife may advise against it if:

Show Sources

SOURCES: 

Fairview Health Services: "Are there any sexual positions that aren’t safe during pregnancy?"

KidsHealth: "Sex During Pregnancy."

Mayo Clinic: "Sex during pregnancy: What's OK, what's not."

National Health Service: "Sex in pregnancy."

Women's Health: "The 12 Best Pregnancy Sex Positions, According To Doctors."

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