If you have a question about sex during pregnancy that you’ve always wanted to ask but felt uncomfortable, you’re not alone! Read our expert advice on how to keep that loving feeling alive when expecting.
A. Is it safe to make love during pregnancy?
It is safe for most couples to continue making love throughout their pregnancy.
Although orgasm, as well as breast stimulation, can cause the uterus to contract, this will not cause miscarriage. A bit of cramping after intercourse can be very normal. Of course, if cramping continues, or if it is associated with any spotting, you should see your care provider right away.
There’s a very positive side to sex during pregnancy. Physiologically, the increased blood flow to the pelvis, the uterus, vagina and clitoris is enhanced, which congests the pelvis a bit and can increase a woman’s pleasure, causing more intense orgasms. It can also cause a heightened libido.
If your partner is uncomfortable, you may wish to try alternative pleasuring activities, without actual penetration — at least for a while. Manual or oral stimulation is fine during pregnancy. When making love, positions you may find more comfortable are side-lying or woman on top. Allow yourself the time to be alone, without fear of interruption. A relaxing bath and massage can help you to enjoy each other!
If you have had a history of bleeding after the first trimester or was at risk of pre-term labor it’s important you discuss this with her care provider.
B. What positions are most comfortable for making love during pregnancy?
As your belly grows, you may find that making love in the positions you and your partner normally choose is not comfortable. It’s a great time to experiment with some new and different sexual positions.
Imagine going 9 months without sex. Wait-why would you ever want to do that? Pregnancy doesn’t mean sex is out of the question-in fact, that’s when many women find themselves wanting it more than ever. In this excerpt from Be Incredibly Sexy: A Crash Course in Getting Your Groove On—and Keeping It There, author Helena Frith Powell shows you six positions that are perfect for pregnancy.
So, sex and the pregnant woman. The first thing to say is that it is perfectly safe for you and your baby. I don’t advise swinging from chandeliers as you go into the third trimester, but most things are admissible. It is also a good excuse to experiment with some new positions.
There are several positions for pregnant women that are both comfortable and safe. So if you haven’t already tried them, go for it.
Position one: Woman on Top
Lower yourself onto your partner, either facing him or facing his feet. Many women find their nipples are incredibly sensitive when they’re pregnant, so if you’re facing him, make sure he kisses them.
Position two: The New Missionary Position
The classic missionary position obviously doesn’t work with a bump, but this one does. You lie on your back, knees drawn back with your feet resting on your partner’s chest, or with your legs straight up and resting against your partner (a good hamstring stretch this one). Your partner kneels between your legs to enter you, so there is no weight on your stomach. You might find it more comfortable with a pillow under your bottom.
Position three: Side by Side
You and your partner lie side by side, facing each other. You can drape your left over your partner’s body. This is not really very practical in the third trimester as the bump gets in the way.
Position four: Spooning
You lie on your side, in a curled position. Your partner lies behind you and enters you from behind. Penetration is shallow, so this can be a comfortable position during late pregnancy.
Position five: From Behind
You are on all fours on the bed (or wherever), leaning down on pillows with your partner kneeling and entering you from behind. Or, try bending over the bed (supported by pillows) with your partner standing and entering from behind. This is what is medically termed a maximum penetration position, so do tell your partner if it gets painful.
Position six: Sitting
In this position, you straddle your partner while he is sitting on a sturdy, comfortable chair or on the edge of the bed. You can also sit in an armchair, upright or leaning back slightly, with your legs around your partner, who is kneeling in front of you.
QUE: I thought sex when pregnant was bad for you. Isn’t it a bit disrespectful toward the baby?
ANS: Get a grip. I remember when I had orgasms during pregnancy the baby would do a little somersault and my whole tummy would tighten into a min-contraction. It was a wonderful feeling. Remember that if you’re happy then so is your baby. The chemicals released during orgasm relax you and make you happy. That inner peace is transmitted to your baby. Don’t forget that you have a relationship to maintain, as well as a baby to carry. The little newborn wants to come into a good relationship that is alive in every sense.
QUE: I am now about to pop–the thought of intercourse is just too much. What other options are there?
ANS: Don’t forget, sex is not just about intercourse. Try oral sex, mutual masturbation, massaging, and so on.
C. What should I do if making love becomes uncomfortable?
It is normal to experience a lack of lubrication during pregnancy, as hormone levels change. This can make sex quite uncomfortable. The use of a lubricant can help. And don’t forget, sex isn’t limited to intercourse alone. Enjoy alternative pleasuring activities. Manual or oral stimulation is safe and enjoyable during pregnancy.
1. Remember that sex drive waxes and wanes. It is not uncommon for women’s sex drive to decrease during pregnancy. During the first trimester, physical symptoms, such as nausea, fatigue, breast tenderness and cramping may interfere with desire. Emotionally, a woman may feel less than desirable or her thoughts may turn inward toward the baby and less toward her own pleasure. You may find that this situation improves during the second trimester, when symptoms of pregnancy become less troublesome.
2. Let go of the fear. Even though couples know intellectually that intercourse under most circumstances will not harm the pregnancy or the baby, women and men both may have secret fears of being so close to the developing embryo. Thoughts like this can definitely impact your pleasure.
3. Lubricate, lubricate, lubricate. Intercourse may be uncomfortable for some women during the first trimester of pregnancy. Vaginal tissues may become more easily irritated during pregnancy and long sessions of lovemaking or repeat episodes may no longer be comfortable. Additional lubrication may be helpful and make sex enjoyable again. AstroGlide or Slippery Stuff are non-irritating lubricants.
4. Try something new. It can be fun to try some new positions, which cause less irritation. Oral or manual stimulation can provide a fun alternative to intercourse that is safe during pregnancy. On another positive note, the hormones of pregnancy cause increased blood flow to the genitals. This can make it easier to achieve orgasm.
5. Enjoy contraceptive-free sex. Many couples discover lovemaking, free from condoms, diaphragms and gels, to be especially liberating and more fun. It’s a great time to take advantage of spontaneous lovemaking.
6. Talk with your care provider. Be sure to discuss your concerns with your care provider, as there may be a vaginal infection (yeast or another infection), which could possibly be causing your discomfort.
4. I can’t get enough sex now that I’m expecting. Is this normal?
Yes. It’s perfectly normal. After the discomforts of the first trimester pass — and before the last few weeks when any kind of movement tends to be uncomfortable — women often report that they enjoy sex and achieve orgasm much more easily in pregnancy. If your partner isn’t interested in sex when you are, pleasuring yourself is not harmful to you or your baby.
I would consider your “dilemma” to be quite normal in a healthy mutually satisfying relationship. After the discomforts of the first trimester pass — and before the last few weeks when any kind of movement tends to be uncomfortable — women often report that they enjoy sex and achieve orgasm much more easily in pregnancy.
If you have a supportive partner who feels you are still attractive, the psychological barriers can be laid aside. Physiologically, the increased blood flow to the pelvis, the uterus, vagina and clitoris is enhanced, which congests the pelvis a bit and makes orgasm more powerful. It can also cause a heightened libido.
Reassuring your partner that he cannot hurt you and enticing him to find alternative, more comfortable, positions for both of you might help. Sometimes having the woman on top is a better position so she can control the penetration.
If your partner isn’t interested in sex when you are, masturbation is not harmful to you or your baby. Vibrators may be used as long as they are not placed in the vagina. Lubricants such as K-Y jelly or AstroGlide are good.
Of course, if a woman is at risk for pre-term labor or premature rupture of the membranes, she should abstain from intercourse and orgasm.