Sex during pregnancy: what are the most comfortable positions when your belly starts to grow

  • READING TIME 5 MIN
  • PUBLISHED November 02, 2023
  • AUTHOR Donna

Key takeaways

  • Doesn’t matter in which trimester you’re in, pregnancy sex is never off-limits, as long as you feel comfortable and safe.
  • Certain belly-friendly positions are still more comfortable for most pregnant women+, especially when your belly becomes bigger and it gets a bit more complicated to manoeuvre freely.
  • As your pregnancy progresses, it’s also important to have an open discussion about what positions work for you and your partner and what doesn’t feel that good.

Sex during pregnancy: what are the most comfortable positions when your belly starts to grow

There’s a persistent myth going on that penetrative sex during pregnancy is risky and may even hurt the baby, which is not true. Research shows that pregnancy sex is safe and pregnant women+ should feel comfortable doing it as they please. 1 2 The growing baby is well-cushioned and protected by the muscles in the uterine walls and the amniotic sac fluid. 3 Oral sex is also safe to practice. 4 Having said this, your doctor may recommend abstaining from sex, particularly during the third trimester, if you’re at risk for an early delivery or any other pregnancy complication.

Sex in pregnancy can feel better and many pregnant women+ say their orgasms are more intense as changes in hormone levels boost their libido and make them more sexually aroused than ever. Hormones also increase blood flow, upping your vaginal lubrication and breast sensitivity. Research in the Journal of Perinatal Education even suggests that the heightened libido offers an opportunity for women+ to “expand their sexual repertoire”. This is perhaps even more true after the early symptoms (think tiredness and nausea) subside a bit and you start to feel more comfortable in your body. 5 Aside from feeling amazing, pregnancy sex also has other benefits. For example, it helps to strengthen the pelvic floor, a group of muscles that support your lower organs, such as the uterus.

But it’s not always a joy ride, of course. Sex during pregnancy might feel uncomfortable at times. Your belly is growing, certain parts of the body become extremely sensitive and, at times, you may experience lower sex drive due to fluctuating hormone levels. You’re also more likely to bleed as the cells on your cervix become more sensitive, too. If you notice spotting after sex, don’t panic, but still pay your doctor a visit to determine the cause of bleeding.

Pregnancy sex in each trimester: what to consider

During the first trimester, almost any sex position will likely feel good, provided you feel good too. Typical (early) pregnancy symptoms like nausea, bloating or exhaustion are not exactly turn-ons.

But as the baby bump starts to grow, having just about any kind of sex might become more complicated. By the second trimester, you’ll want to avoid sex positions that put weight on your belly or anything that keeps you on your back for too long. Side-lying, rear-entry, pregnant person-on-top and partner-on-top positions are considered as most comfortable.

In the third trimester, some of your second-trimester favourites may become even more challenging. Sex experts suggest trying to lay on your side with a pillow between your knees and having your partner enter from behind. This way you won’t have to support the weight of your belly or put pressure on your back.

What sex positions are best during pregnancy

Everyone has their own sex favs, but most people find certain belly-friendly positions more comfortable when they become bigger. If you and your partner feel like it, you could also take pregnancy as an opportunity to experiment and jump over the previously uncharted territories to boost your pleasures. Here are some suggestions.

Side-lying position

Cowgirl style

Reverse cowgirl

Side-lying position

Lying on your side keeps the weight off your back and releases the tension you may feel because of the extra weight in your belly. If you feel pressure on your lower back, tuck a pillow between your knees and have your partner lie behind you. Your partner can stimulate your clitoris with hands while entering from behind. The second variation of the position is to face front-to-front which can bolster intimacy.

Cowgirl style

Another pregnancy-friendly position that doesn’t put any pressure on your belly, but it gives you control of penetration depth and speed. One study of Taiwanese pregnant women+ found out that cowgirl increases sexual satisfaction by controlling penetration by being on top of their partner. 6 The position is suitable for the entire pregnancy period but you could find it a bit more complicated to manoeuvre in your last weeks.

Reverse cowgirl

You’re also on top of your partner but this time you’re facing their legs. Reverse cowgirl can offer thrilling sensations without compromising the benefits of classic cowgirl. For additional support, you could put your arms behind you, as you shift your weight back toward your partner. Another variation of the position will have your partner sit on a solid chair, which offers more stability and control as it allows you to have your feet firmly on the ground.

From behind

Tabletop position

Missionary

From behind

Bypass your belly altogether by having your partner enter you from behind. Doggy-style keeps pressure off your stomach and it’s more comfortable to hold the extra weight on all fours. Another possibility is to stand with your hands against the wall. You can also consider using wedge pillows to support the belly or body weight while receiving stimulation from behind.

Tabletop position

The tabletop is also a great position for having pregnancy sex, also in the third trimester. You should sit on the edge of a bed, counter or table, with your partner supporting your legs. Bring pillows or a sex wedge and place them behind you so you’re not lying flat on your back.

Missionary

Although the classic of sex positions will have you lying on your back, it’s still not completely off-limits during pregnancy. Just make sure that your partner keeps their weight off you by supporting themselves with their arms. Alternatively, you could place yourself on the edge of the bed and have your legs dangling toward the floor. Your partner can kneel or stand in front of you. To relieve pressure, tuck a few pillows under your back.

Use missionary in your second and third semesters a bit more cautiously though. It could potentially compress the vena cava and reduce blood flow to your baby. But you’ll most likely already feel uncomfortable before it gets to the point of pain.ScissorsOral sex

Cowgirl style

Reverse cowgirl

Scissors

The scissor position is a more gentle, shallower form of penetrative sex. It’s a great option for having non-penetrative sex, too, without compromising the pleasures as it provides full-on stimulation on the clitoris and labia.

Oral and other types of non-penetrative sex

Sex doesn’t have to be penetrative, of course. There are other great ways to be sexually intimate and have a good time. Consider oral, sensual touch, massages or manual stimulation.

Don’t forget to talk

Finally, communication is crucial to having a great time. As your pregnancy progresses, have an open discussion about what works for you and your partner and what doesn’t. Speak up if something doesn’t feel good or you would like them to continue doing. And most importantly – have fun!

REFERENCES

  1. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/a-partners-guide-to-pregnancy#:~:text=Is%20it%20safe%20to%20have,can%20have%20sex%20throughout%20pregnancy
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3080531/
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/sex-during-pregnancy/art-20045318
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/sex-during-pregnancy/art-20045318
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595041/
  6. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0092623X.2010.510776?src=recsys&journalCode=usmt20
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