Sex During Pregnancy: What’s Safe and What’s Fun

Pregnancy is full of ups, downs, and constant physical changes. The same is true for your sex life while you’re expecting. Every woman’s sex drive is affected differently by pregnancy. The first and third trimester normally bring a decrease in libido as fatigue, morning sickness, and other discomforts of pregnancy are at their worst. Lots of women report an increase in sex drive during the second trimester as first trimester symptoms pass. Regardless of trimester, it is generally safe to continue having sex throughout a normal pregnancy. Here are some things you should know about how to have safe and fun sex while you’re expecting.

Communication is key. During pregnancy, sex often feels different than it usually does. On any given day during any trimester, these changes might make sex more pleasurable or more uncomfortable. Positions you try regularly might start to hurt or feel awkward. You might be more sensitive in particular areas, like your breasts, which can either be a turn off or a turn on, depending on how you feel at the time. Don’t be afraid to be vocal about what feels good and what doesn’t, even if that changes day to day. While it can be awkward to have conversations about sex, it’s also important to do so. You should be open with your partner about your sex drive, how intercourse feels, and any concerns or thoughts you have now that you’re pregnant.

Some positions are better than others. You’ll want to experiment with your usual positions, and maybe try some new ones, to see what feels best for you and your partner. As your bump grows, your sex life will likely adapt along with your changing body. Often, positioning yourself on top is most comfortable, especially as you get bigger. Side-by-side positions are a good bet, too, since your uterus won’t be bearing down on you during sex. Lying on your back should feel fine early in pregnancy, but painful as the weight of your uterus increases. By the third trimester, you might want to avoid any position that leaves you on your back.

Oral sex is still on the table, with modifications. Obviously, there’s no barrier to you performing oral sex on a partner, if that’s what you choose. But you can be on the receiving end of oral sex while pregnant, too. There are considerations for oral sex, though. It’s critical that your partner not blow into or around your vagina. That could cause an air embolism, which could be life-threatening for the baby. Also, if your partner has ever experienced oral herpes, you should avoid oral intercourse during the third trimester.

There are many ways to be intimate. While you’re pregnant, your sex life is likely to undergo some changes, and that’s okay. No matter how you normally get intimate with your partner, you may need to get creative during pregnancy and try something you never have before to stay connected. There are loads of ways to be close with your partner, and you might discover something new that lasts long after the baby arrives. If intercourse isn’t going to happen for one reason or another, try a different way to get intimate. Some options are cuddling, spooning, massaging one another, watching adult movies together, or mutually masturbating.

You’re allowed to feel sexy. Pregnancy can be a hard time for some women, when our bodies don’t quite feel like our own anymore. It’s also a period when we’re acutely aware that we are, or soon will be, mothers. And moms aren’t supposed to be sexy, right? Remember that you’re still you, and you don’t need to feel badly about having a sex drive. Likewise, a lower libido is no reason to stress, either. Whatever you feel about sex while you’re expecting is valid, so don’t let shame hold you back.

Don’t shy away from the topic with your doctor. Like with so many other activities, it’s best to keep your doctor in the loop about what you’re doing while pregnant. You probably won’t need to go into detail, but you should check in with your practitioner to be sure that having sex won’t be harmful to you or your baby. There are some circumstances in which intercourse is not advised, and your doctor knows you and your condition better than anyone.