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Being pregnant is probably not the way you expected to wind up with three people in your bed. But if you’ve got a bun in the oven, you’ve got someone else to think about besides your partner.
Pregnancy hormones affect everyone differently. Some women will have no sex drive at all during their kid’s 9-month stay, while others will be totally fired up.
If you’re looking to get busy with a bump, here’s everything you need to know to have the best sex ever.
First things first: Is sex during pregnancy even safe? The short answer is yes, you can still have sex while pregnant, as long as your healthcare provider hasn’t told you otherwise.
But there are some situations and types of sex to take note of before doing the deed with a baby on board.
Figuratively speaking, of course — we’re all for getting busy, on or off tables. However, there are instances when sex while pregnant isn’t a great idea.
Here are some things to consider before you get down to business:
High-risk pregnancy sex
If your pregnancy is high-risk, it’s very likely your doctor will tell you to skip this after-hours activity. They might also advise you not to have sex while pregnant if you have a history of premature births, preterm labor, or miscarriage.
You’ll need to avoid sex during pregnancy if:
- you’ve experienced abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge during your pregnancy
- you’ve been diagnosed with placenta previa (the placenta is low in your uterus and covers part of your cervix)
- you have an incompetent or weakened cervix (your cervix starts to open early from the baby’s weight pressing on it)
- you or your partner has an STI
- your water has broken
If you aren’t high-risk and you’re in the clear to knock boots while pregnant, there are still some exceptions and modifications you’ll need to make to keep you and baby safe.
Anal sex and pregnancy
It is absolutely possible to enjoy anal sex while pregnant, but it’s worth noting that it comes with a few risks.
For one, it poses a higher risk of infection. Two infections, Giardia and Group B Streptococcus (GBS), can be dangerous to you and the developing fetus. Although it’s rare, GBS can even infect an infant during delivery if the expectant parent is infected.
Pregnancy also makes you more prone to hemorrhoids, which could rupture during anal sex and cause bleeding and infection.
STIs can be transmitted more easily through anal and oral sex. If you or your partner has an STI, take precautions to reduce the risk of transmission, including using a condom or another barrier method any time you have sex.
The hidden dangers of oral sex when pregnant
Oral sex is generally considered safe during pregnancy, but there are a few things to be mindful of when giving or receiving.
If you’re on the receiving end and you’re pregnant, make sure your partner doesn’t blow air into the opening of your vagina.
If air gets trapped in there, it can form a bubble and move through the placenta, which can lead to fetal development issues or death. Trapped air can also rupture blood vessels, which can cause bleeding.
Obviously, any position that involves you lying on your stomach is out.
Missionary can also be uncomfortable and even dangerous later in pregnancy, because it’s best not to lie on your back at that point. When you lie on your back, the weight of the baby puts pressure on important blood vessels. Leave missionary behind after week 20.
If you’re in the clear to get it on and are ready to heat things up, remember that it’s going to be a bit different from your pre-pregnancy sex seshes.
So much is changing in your body while you grow your offspring (thanks, hormones!). This includes how your body reacts to sex and what sex positions are physically possible.
Before you get busy, keep these hot tips in mind:
Pregnancy can kill your sex drive, and that’s OK
Thanks to nausea, low energy, and overall discomfort during pregnancy, your sex drive might take a nosedive. And even if you feel physically up for sex, you may hit emotional roadblocks due to all the big changes happening around you.
Breathe. This is all pretty standard pregnancy fare, and it’s not the end of achieving that O!
Whether you’re overwhelmed, physically uncomfortable, or just not feeling your sexiest, try having a heart-to-heart with your partner, a friend, or your healthcare provider. They can help you get back on that horse.
You might get tired faster
The lack of energy that goes hand in hand with creating life might make you extra tired during sex. If you need to take a break during a romp, that’s perfectly normal. Take a breather, mama, and then get back in there.
Your boobs might be sore
Hormones and your new cup size can make your boobs very tender. If you’re used to having your partner cop a feel, it might be uncomfortable during pregnant sex. That goes for any nipple stimulation as well.
Your genitals will be more sensitive (for better or worse)
When you’re pregnant, your body increases the blood flow to your pelvic area to accommodate your growing offspring. Your nether regions can become engorged, which can cause discomfort if you’re unlucky or increased sensation if you’ve won the pregnant sex jackpot.
This increased sensitivity can make it easier to reach climax during sex. Either way, be aware that it may take some trial and error to find that sweet spot.
You might feel more wet down there
During pregnancy, you’ll often have more discharge to help combat bacteria and infection, which basically means free lube. 🙌
Now’s the time to get on top
It’s perfectly safe for you to take control during pregnant sexcapades, and — bonus! — it might even be better for you. Getting on top lets you control the speed of the action and adjust for your comfort. It also gets that belly out of the way.
In your third trimester, be wary of really deep penetration, which could irritate your cervix or cause bleeding. Facing away from your partner while on top is an option that can help you avoid too-deep penetration.
Spooning is your new best friend
Pregnancy is the perfect time to have lazy sex without worrying about your growing bump.
Get on your hands and knees
Going at it doggy style during the first and second trimesters can help alleviate pressure on your bump. But it can become uncomfortable during the third trimester when your belly gets bigger, and the deep penetration can hit your cervix.
Don’t get too kinky
If you’re into spanking or being tied up à la “50 Shades of Grey,” make sure nothing is hitting your abdominal area or constricting blood flow.
It might help with headaches
Pregnancy comes with its share of negative side effects, including headaches. It might not be quite what the doctor ordered, but sex could be the headache remedy you need. A 2013 study found that partners dealing with headaches felt better after sexual activity.
There are also a lot of myths surrounding pregnancy sex that need debunking. Here are some of the top pregnancy sex myths you don’t need to worry about.
Myth 1: Vaginal or clitoral orgasms can lead to miscarriage or hurt your baby
When you orgasm, your uterus contracts. This can occasionally turn into Braxton-Hicks contractions (aka fake, practice contractions) in your third trimester, but having an orgasm shouldn’t put you into early labor or cause a miscarriage.
Unless your healthcare provider has told you to avoid sex during pregnancy, orgasming shouldn’t cause any problems.
Myth 2: Sperm can help induce labor
Yes, sperm has properties similar to those of some drugs used to induce labor, but there’s little to no evidence that sex induces labor.
Myth 3: Deep penetration hits the baby
Let’s have a brief biology lesson. Your kiddo is tucked away in your uterus, which is blocked by your cervix and is not in your vagina. Thus, it’s not possible for your partner to poke your baby during sex. We promise.
Myth 4: Sex will increase your heart rate to unsafe levels
Getting a little hot and bothered during your pregnancy is totally OK if you’re in good health. Similar to keeping up with your regular exercise during pregnancy (which is fine), elevating your heart rate during sex shouldn’t be an issue.
As long as you’re not doing anything out of your normal sex routine that would cause massive strain, carry on.
If you’re getting it on during your pregnancy and are still concerned about the health of your unborn child, monitor how you feel. Pay attention to what’s happening with your body during and after sex.
After sex you might have light spotting, which is normal. But heavier bleeding any time during your pregnancy means something is wrong.
Causes for concern during pregnant sex include:
- pain or burning
- sores or open wounds on your genitals
- excessive bleeding
- sex without a condom or another barrier method with a new partner or current partner who has an STI
- leaking amniotic fluid
- your partner accidentally blowing air into your vagina
- bleeding after anal sex
If you experience any of these red flags, call your healthcare provider. If everything seems just fine, keep on gettin’ busy with a baby on board.