You and your partner might’ve had plenty of bedroom sessions while you were trying to conceive. But now that you’re pregnant, your feelings towards sex may not be quite so straightforward.
It’s completely normal if you feel uneasy about having sex during pregnancy, and it’s also understandable if you have lots of questions. Is it safe? Is it possible to do it comfortably? And above all, is it even worth it if you’re feeling tired and would rather just conk out early?
Fortunately, there are plenty of guidelines regarding sex during pregnancy — and some amazing benefits, too.
Is sex safe during pregnancy?
The short answer: yes. However, it’s always a good idea to get the green light from your practitioner first, just to ensure you don’t have any complications.
Another reason to discuss sex with your practitioner is if you have a history of miscarriage or are at a higher risk for one. If that’s the case, she may suggest avoiding sex for the first few months.
Can sex during pregnancy hurt my baby?
If your practitioner has given you clearance to have sex during pregnancy, then it’s perfectly safe. The amniotic sac keeps your baby warm and protected while you and your partner heat things up beneath the sheets. And if you’re concerned that your intimate activities might poke baby in the head, let us assuage your fears: Your baby is nowhere near where the main event takes place.
It’s also normal if you’re wondering if sex during pregnancy means you always have an audience. But fear not: Your baby can’t see what you’re up to, and has absolutely no idea what’s going on. Even if she’s kicking up a storm after you orgasm, that’s not a reaction to your pleasure — it’s just a normal fetal response to uterine activity. In fact, baby might be enjoying the undulating motions synonymous with sex.
More About Sex During Pregnancy
What are the benefits of sex during pregnancy?
Sex during pregnancy can come with some pretty sweet perks. Here are a few benefits of pregnancy sex that just might make your time in bed even better.
- It’s a safe, partner-bonding experience. Pregnancy is an emotional roller coaster, for both you and your partner. Being intimate with one another is a great way to stay connected to each other during this exciting time.
- It’s great for your physical health. One 30-minute sex romp can burn around 50 calories, and it lowers your blood pressure, too!
- It can ease pain and discomfort. Since orgasms signal the release of oxytocin, a hormone that can increase your pain tolerance, they can help with those backaches and other pregnancy-related pains.
- It improves sleep. Not only does pregnancy sex help you relax, but it releases the above-mentioned feel-good hormones as well.
- It’s a mood-booster. Even if you’re super excited about your pregnancy, those pesky hormones can still cause anxiety and the blues. The release of oxytocin that comes with an orgasm isn’t just beneficial for physical pain — it can help increase your feelings of love and joy, bringing you closer to your partner.
- It may help labor along when you’re ready to go. Having an orgasm spurs your uterus to contract. Unless you’re nearing the tail-end of your pregnancy and your body is ready to begin the birthing process, these contractions aren’t strong enough to make you go into labor But if you’re up for sex at the 40-week mark, there’s no reason not to go for it.
- It may ease your postpartum recovery. Because pregnancy sex can help tone your pelvic floor, you’re preparing your body for both childbirth and recovery — just by having orgasms! You can also try doing kegels during sex if you want to get those vaginal muscles in shape even more.
Will sex feel different during pregnancy?
It might, as you’re also accommodating surging hormones and a rapidly changing body shape. It can feel uncomfortable, exasperating or awesome. Some expectant mothers will experience an increased sensitivity due to engorged genitals that can result in more intense orgasms. But for other women, those physical changes cause them to feel less satisfied than usual.
If you’re in the latter category, there are a few things you can try: Because the vagina and vulva are more swollen right now, lubricants can help if you’re experiencing discomfort during sex.
If you’re experiencing any pain, however, be sure to contact your practitioner.
What are the best sex positions during pregnancy?
Whatever feels comfortable to you is okay during pregnancy, but that might mean you’ll have to experiment with some new positions as you accommodate your growing baby bump. Also, by the second trimester, make sure you’re not engaging in positions that put weight on your belly or have you on your back for long.
Some of the best sex positions for pregnant women include:
- Side-lying. This is a great option because it keeps the weight off both your back and your belly. If you’re experiencing pressure on your lower back, tuck a pillow between your knees and have your partner lie behind you.
- Woman on top. This position also doesn’t put any pressure on your belly, and as an added bonus, it lets you be in control of both penetration depth and clitoral stimulation. One caveat: It may not be easy to move into this position during later-stage pregnancy.
- Rear-entry. This position means your partner doesn’t have to maneuver around your belly, which can make things a little easier for you both. Plus, there are a bunch of fun and frisky ways to try this — standing with your hands against the wall, sitting on your partner’s lap or even getting on all fours (just make sure you’re resting your arms and head on the bed so you’re not holding all that belly weight).
- Partner on top. In the mood for a quickie? Then go missionary — just as long as your partner keeps his or her weight off you. Remember, too, that after the fourth month, it’s not a good idea to be flat on your back for a long time.
Will I experience changes in libido during pregnancy?
It depends. Some pregnant women experience an increased sex drive during pregnancy thanks to higher levels of estrogen. On the positive side, that extra blood flow to your vulva and breasts makes them more sensitive, which can result in more intense sensations and orgasms.
But a decrease in your sex drive is just as normal in pregnancy, and if you find yourself consumed with symptoms like nausea, fatigue or bloating, it’s totally okay to not be in the mood. Instead, you can stay connected to your partner through non-sexual activities like cuddling, kissing or talking.
Can pregnancy sex cause me to go into labor prematurely?
Not unless your practitioner says you’re at high risk for premature labor or have a problem with the placenta. While an orgasm can cause your uterus to contract, it won’t trigger labor.
However, if you’re full-term or past-term, some experts do encourage women in late-stage pregnancy to have sex as a way to jump-start labor.
Are there any health risks associated with having sex during pregnancy?
Although the amniotic sac protects your baby from infectious organisms, sexually transmitted infections remain a significant health risk during pregnancy. There are that can be dangerous for babies, including chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV, so if you think you’re at risk, talk to your practitioner about getting tested.
This goes for any new partners as well. It’s recommended that you use condoms during pregnancy if you’re not in a mutually monogamous relationship.