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Is Sex Safe During Pregnancy?

If you're pregnant and feeling frisky, fear not! You can scratch that itch without hurting the baby.

Dr. Rachel Rubin
Board certified Urologist and assistant clinical professor in Urology

by Dr. Rachel Rubin 11 min read

Ahh—pregnancy.

A time of hormones, attention to the health of a growing baby and the mother, and preparation. Does sex during pregnancy even fit in?

Pregnant sex tends to bring about a lot of questions:

  • Is it safe?
  • Will, it hurt the baby?
  • Does the baby... know?
  • What positions work best?
  • Is it safe to do oral—what about anal?

Pregnant sex can be anything from erotic to uncomfortable, with a lot of perks and considerations involved.

But there's no reason to be consumed with worry.

Here's an article that covers everything you need to know about sex during pregnancy.

Quick FAQs

Yes, as long as you have not been told by your doctor or midwife that you shouldn't, then go for it.

We've compiled a list of the 10 best sex positions in this article below.

While not everyone is the same, most women can expect to experience greater sensitivity, increased wetness, greater sexual desire, and possibly easier orgasms.

While sex during pregnancy is considered safe in most cases, there are certain things you should know before getting started. For instance, if your pregnancy is considered high risk then you will want to speak to your doctor before engaging in any sexual activity.

Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?

Yes—sex during pregnancy is safe for the pregnant woman, her partners, and the baby—unless a doctor or midwife says otherwise.

Not only is pregnancy sex safe for most women, but it can also be a good thing for your health.

Sex can be good exercise, tone the vaginal walls, and even boost blood flow and keep you feeling calm, especially with orgasms.

There's tons of medically reviewed research on sex and pregnancy, and you can find an article touting the benefits of sex while pregnant in just about every corner of the internet.

So, if you find your sex drive going insane thanks to added hormones and increased blood flow—go for it.

Pro Tip: If you're looking for a way to make sex during pregnancy even more pleasurable than check out Promescent warming female arousal gel.

Oral sex, anal sex, good old-fashioned intercourse—it's all good.

Even better, both the pregnant woman and her partner can find a few benefits that come along with sex during pregnancy.

Best pregnancy sex positions

Once you hit the second trimester and your baby really starts to grow, the typical missionary or normal positions may become awkward, but that's OK.

Look at pregnancy as a good time to get a little creative where sex positions and sexual stimulation are concerned.

Some positions during pregnancy naturally work better than others.

Here are a few ideas.

1. Doggy Style

Sex while pregnant in doggy style

Sex from behind is the perfect go-to option during pregnancy.

When the woman is on all fours and her partner behind her, there's no pressure on the abdomen.

This arrangement also allows more control over penetration depth, which can be important if the pregnant woman feels the penis coming in contact with the cervix.

As a side note, somewhere around the third trimester, doggie style can be a little tedious with the added weight around the midsection.

2. Woman on Top

Sex during pregnancy with the woman on top

"Her on top" is a relatively normal sexual setup, and this is one that works great for sex during pregnancy because:

  • No pressure on the midsection
  • The woman is in control of how deep things get
  • Stimulates the clitoris

During the final month or so of pregnancy, it can be a little more uncomfortable for the woman to be in the standard "on-top" position.

However, this works out well for most of the pregnancy.

3. Floating Sex

 Sex during pregnancy - floating sex position

The body can be a little more buoyant when a woman is pregnant, in addition to being a lot heavier.

So, sex in a bathtub can make the occasion a little more enjoyable and easier for the woman to maneuver in spite of her added weight.

The female partner could use buoyancy to her advantage while on top, for example, to keep added weight off of her partner and move more freely.

4. Spooning Sex

Sex during pregnancy - spooning position

Spooning sex is safe, easy, and comfortable for the person receiving and getting.

The woman's swollen midsection gets ample support, and there's no risk of getting worn out trying to balance on all fours or two feet throughout sex.

This is one sexual position that can work pretty much all the way through pregnancy.

5. Anal Sex

 Anal sex during pregnancy

For those who love anal sex before pregnancy, there's no reason to stop during.

Anal is perfectly safe during pregnancy.

Just be certain that both partners are extra vigilant about cleanliness and not switching between anal and vaginal stimulation to prevent the spread of bacteria.

6. Oral Sex

Oral sex during pregnancy

Oral sex is all good during pregnancy, in the event intercourse gets too uncomfortable or is not recommended—something to keep in mind during the latter stages.

Just make sure the person delivering oral is careful not to blow air into the vagina, which can lead to an air embolism.

7. Seated

Seated sex during pregnancy

A seated position can work well during pregnancy.

The woman can take a seat right at the edge of the bed, and her partner can stand directly in front of her for either penetration or easy access for stimulation.

During the last trimester, the woman may need to lean back a bit and support her weight with her arms or a pillow for open access.

8. Standing Up

Standing sex during pregnancy

Sex while standing can be an option, especially midway through pregnancy.

Standing sex avoids undue pressure on the stomach, and may even be more comfortable for women who deal with extreme sensitivity of the clitoris.

The woman can lean against a wall, using her palms for support, or even prop one leg up slightly on something to spread her legs.

Beyond a certain point, however, when her balance is off due to more center weight, standing sex can get harder to manage.

At this point, it can be better to try something else to prevent a fall.

9. Reverse Cowgirl

Reverse cowgirl sex during pregnancy

For women who are a little self-conscious about their stomach facing their partner during intercourse, the reverse cowgirl is always a good option.

This is essentially the same as "woman on top" except she is turned in the opposite direction.

Once again, reverse cowgirl gives the female control over penetration depth.

10. Side-by-Side

Side by side sex during pregnancy

Side-by-side is a lot like spooning with the exception of the fact that the two partners are almost face to face.

The position can be done lying down, with the man tucked between the woman's legs.

It can be good to add a pillow for midsection support during the latter weeks of the pregnancy.

Are there sex positions to avoid during pregnancy?

Only two positions may cause either discomfort or undue risks during pregnancy: the prone and the missionary position.

The missionary position may actually interrupt necessary blood flow to the baby and mother with pressure on the belly, especially after the 20th week or during the second trimester or third trimester.

Prone involves the pregnant partner lying flat on her stomach, which may prove to be uncomfortable also because of pressure on the belly.

What to expect from sex during pregnancy

So, sex during pregnancy, especially beyond the first trimester, can be different, but that doesn't necessarily mean pregnancy sex is bad.

In fact, some women find their sex drive and sex life to be impressively better during pregnancy. Here's why.

Greater Sensitivity

As the body changes during pregnancy, some areas of the body can get more sensitive to touch.

Genitals - Blood volume increases by about 50 percent during pregnancy, a good portion of that engorges the vaginal area.

You may notice heightened clitoral sensitivity or more feelings of fullness during penetration.

Breasts - As the breasts get prepared for lactation due to hormonal changes, they can swell and the nipples can be extra sensitive.

Cup size may even jump by a few sizes.

While the added sensitivity can be a perk for the pregnant female, the bodily changes can be a perk for her male partner as well.

Some men see a considerable difference in how tight or full the vagina feels even during the first trimester.

Increased Wetness

The vagina is a little, um, self-cleaning.

The lubrications naturally produced by the female body fight bacteria. During pregnancy, these secretions can be even more profound—there's more to protect.

With that being said, pregnant women often have increased wetness, which can be a major bonus during intercourse.

Pro Tip: Even if you're not pregnant and would just increased wetness, VitaFLUX for women by Promescent has been proven to help increase natural lubrication.

Greater Sexual Desire

Thanks to the boost of hormones, a woman may see her sex drive kick into, well, overdrive while expecting.

It's not uncommon for a woman who normally has very little interest in sex to see a major uptick in sexual desire, but this may not be the case for every female.

Likewise, the boost of sexual desire may only be noticeable during certain points of pregnancy.

For example, you may be all over your partner during their first weeks or months, but have no interest in sexual activity at all by the second trimester.

If you are a man finding it hard to hold back because your pregnant partner is tighter, wetter, and sexier than usual, don't forget to grab Promescent Delay Spray so you can still give her all she wants.

Possibly Easier Orgasms

Many women see their sexual sensitivities heighten during pregnancy.

The added blood flow, the boost of hormones don't just sometimes lead to a boost in desire—this may also mean more or better orgasms.

The clit, vulva, and vaginal walls can become more sensitive and engorged than usual, which can mean heightened sensitivity and easier orgasms.

In fact, some women find they are able to achieve orgasm during pregnancy when they've never had an orgasm during sex before.

When you should avoid sex during your pregnancy

All women should heed the advice of their doctor about pregnancy sex—every pregnancy is unique and can come along with unique risks.

In some situations, sexual stimulation or intercourse may not be safe during pregnancy, especially if the pregnancy is considered high-risk.

Some reasons pregnant women may be high risk include:

  • You are expecting multiples (e.g. twins, triplets, etc.)
  • You have experienced vaginal bleeding, cramping, or discharge
  • You've experienced early dilation of the cervix (cervix opening to prepare for delivery)
  • You have a history of miscarriage or are considered at risk of miscarriage
  • You have experienced contractions before 37 weeks of pregnancy (preterm labor)
  • You've been diagnosed with placenta previa (placenta situated too low within the uterus)
  • You have leaking amniotic fluid or your water has broken

Remember also, there can be a difference between strictly avoiding intercourse and strictly avoiding sex.

A doctor may say "no sex," and mean no sex, no orgasm, and no arousal (if possible).

This medical advice may come about if a woman is especially at risk of miscarriage or experiencing preterm labor.

Be sure to talk openly with your OBGYN and ask questions to keep you and your baby protected.

When to Call Your Doctor

You have sex, but strange things start happening afterward—what should you do?

If you have ANY unusual symptoms after sexual activity or intercourse you would not consider normal, call your doctor for medical advice.

Watch out for:

  • Unusual pain
  • Contractions
  • Bleeding
  • Fluid or unusual discharge

While these symptoms may not be anything unusual, some can also signify the onset of labor or problems that could threaten the pregnancy.

Pregnancy Sex Questions & Answers

Does depth of penetration matter?

Not really.

The uterus can move and flex during pregnancy to accommodate penetrative sex, but, rest assured, the baby is protected.

The fetus is cushioned by the thick walls of the uterus, the amniotic sac, and shock-absorbing tissues and fluids.

At best, typical sex may cause some rocking of the uterus and not much else.

About 80 percent of male partners are a little uncomfortable about sex during pregnancy for fear of hurting the baby.

However, it's almost physically impossible for the penis to touch a baby during sex.

Further, the majority of men would not have a penis large enough to pose any significant risk.

Of course, if a woman is accustomed to using sex toys or dildos during sex, it may be best not to get too carried away where depth is concerned.

There are some pretty extensively elongated dildos available that could potentially cause more of a risk.

Does sex really induce labor?

Numerous medically reviewed studies have happened to determine if sex triggers labor.

The conclusion? Maybe, but maybe not.

If you are close to your due date, your OB may tell you to have sex to see if that makes things happen.

However, orgasms don't usually trigger uterine contractions, especially for women who are weeks away from their due date.

Medical professionals will tell you that prostaglandins in semen may promote contractions, but if the baby is not ready for birth, chances are, that's not going to happen.

Should you use a condom?

Any time there is a risk of sexually transmitted infection (STI), you should use a condom, especially during pregnancy.

STIs can lead to serious complications, such as pelvic inflammation that could cause a miscarriage, early uterine contractions, or other problems.

So, if you're pregnant and having sex with new partners or not in a monogamous relationship with your current partner, always grab a condom.

Is a little bleeding normal after sex?

In most cases, no, but this is something to bring up to your OBGYN.

The body changes during pregnancy; the blood flow to the vagina and the cervix change during pregnancy.

Many women experience a bit of spotting after sex, regardless of the trimester, because the increased blood flow makes their interior easier to irritate.

Normal spotting should be minimal and pass quickly.

Anything more should spur you to seek a medical consultation right away.

What's considered unsafe sex during pregnancy?

Sex during pregnancy really doesn't have to change all that much, save for a few little precautions.

If you're feeling a little 50 Shades—that's fine.

Just avoid the belly with floggers and smacks and tuck away restraints that could impede blood flow.

Plus, avoid overly aggressive intercourse, with toys or a penis—you don't want to do anything that could cause damage.

Be extra vigilant about cleanliness with toys or otherwise—some women find they are more prone to infections during pregnancy.

Infections can put the health of the baby and mother at risk.

When can you have sex after giving birth?

The general medical recommendation is to wait six weeks.

By this point, some women are healed and ready to get back into the swing of things.

As a side note, some women may feel ready for sex a little sooner after giving birth.

As long as there have been no complications like severe tearing or infection postpartum, this may be OK, but always get clearance from your doctor first.

What if you just don't feel like having sex at all?

While many pregnant women find sex to be fine and even more fun during pregnancy, it is perfectly normal for some women to lose interest at all.

In some cases, a little added support with some vibrating toys or even Female Arousal Gel can help bring a little spice back to bedroom endeavors.

However, if you're really not into it at all, that's OK too.

Intimacy is not all about sex, and some pregnancies involve lapses of time with little sexual interaction. 

Sex During Pregnancy - Takeaways

So, your sex life doesn't really have to look all that different just because you and your partner have a bun in the oven.

Sex may change during pregnancy, but it doesn't necessarily change for the worse for everyone.

Some women discover sensitive genitals, added blood flow, and heightened hormones make sex even more enjoyable than usual.

There are a TON of great positions to try that work well in spite of a swollen tummy, and take advantage of those hormone boosts and you may see sexual activity reach new heights of pleasure.

As long as your medical team has advised that sex is safe, you're free to get all kinds of frisky—even a little freaky—if that's what you want.

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Dr. Rachel Rubin
Dr. Rachel Rubin

Dr. Rachel S. Rubin is a board-certified Urologist with fellowship training in sexual medicine. She is an assistant clinical professor in Urology at Georgetown University and practices at IntimMedicine Specialists in Washington DC. Dr. Rubin provides comprehensive sexual medicine care to all genders. She treats issues such as pelvic pain, menopause, erectile dysfunction, and low libido. Dr. Rubin is currently the education chair for the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH) and an associate editor for the journal Sexual Medicine Reviews. Dr. Rubin has fellowship designation from both ISSWSH and the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA).


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