Once you see that little blue line on the stick and know you’re expecting, you’re probably also expecting there will be a lot of changes to your body, your life and your relationship. And let us be the first to tell you, that includes your sex life, too. The good news is, the right pregnancy sex positions can help with the transition—and keep romance in the rotation for those long nine months.
“I find that most clients experience some changes, but it doesn’t mean that sex is off the table,” says Mary-Jean Malyszka, a registered psychologist and certified clinical sex therapist in Calgary. During the first trimester, though, it’s not uncommon for morning sickness and exhaustion to kill the mood. If you’re just not feeling it, that’s normal, she says.
By the second trimester, hormonal changes can start working in your favour, often with a boost in energy and libido. “There’s a lot more blood flow to the genitals and, for some women, that can make sex feel even more pleasurable,” says Malyszka. Some couples also experience a surge in intimacy, which can be a good thing in the bedroom.
“As time goes on, favourite go-to positions or ways to experience sexual pleasure may have to be altered a bit,” says Malyszka. As your belly grows, you’ll need to use positions that work pregnancy sex positions around your bump and support your weight. After week 20, doctors advise against any sex positions during pregnancy that keep you on your back for more than a few minutes because your growing uterus can put too much pressure on the vena cava, the vein that carries blood back to the heart from your lower body. Keep encounters in the missionary position short, or save this move for after your baby arrives.
“Some couples feel anxious about the baby’s presence during sex,” says Malyszka. Don’t worry: Not only is sex safe during pregnancy, but in some ways, it can be good for your baby, too. “Sometimes babies actually enjoy the extra movement,” she says. “You might notice that they’re more active after sexual activity.” Some moms-to-be also worry that an intense orgasm in late pregnancy could trigger labour, but this isn’t usually a concern, unless you have a history of preterm labour. If you have any concerns, talk to your healthcare practitioner. Assuming that you’re experiencing a healthy pregnancy, sex during all stages is safe, and it can be amazing. The key is to listen to your body, keep open communication with your partner and do what feels good, says Malyszka.
The top 5 pregnancy sex positions:
1. Woman on top
This pregnancy sex position is a classic. By sitting up and straddling your partner, you have the advantage of being in control of the pace and ability to move around to find the best angles. If possible, rest your hands or forearms on the headboard to help support your weight.
2. Rear entry
Position yourself on all fours, using pillows to prop you up so that you’re comfortable, and have your partner enter you from behind. Since this sex position allows for deeper penetration, it’s possible that you’ll notice some spotting after sex during pregnancy, especially toward the end of the third trimester, when your cervix starts to soften. “Light spotting is normal, but check with your healthcare practitioner if you’re concerned,” says Malyszka.
3. Standing against the wall
Stand facing a wall with your legs spread. Rest your hands or forearms on the wall, around shoulder height, to support your upper body. This pregnancy sex position allows your partner to enter you from behind, bypassing your belly.
Lie comfortably on your side (with a pillow between your knees, if it feels better for your back) so that your partner can curl up and enter you from behind. This keeps pressure off your belly. Keep in mind that if there’s any anal penetration, your partner will need to wash thoroughly before entering the vagina to wash away any infection-causing bacteria.
5. Side by side
Lie down facing each other in a slight V-shape, with your heads farther apart, and put one leg up over your partner’s leg. This sex position works during all stages of pregnancy but is great toward the end because it doesn’t require a lot of energy to manoeuvre and you can wedge pillows under your belly and behind your back for maximum comfort. Bonus: You can look each other in the eye for added intimacy.
Hot tip: Request a sexy rubdown
It’s important to remember that you don’t need penetration to experience sexual pleasure with your partner. “There are so many different ways to approach pleasure and connecting,” says Malyszka. “If a woman isn’t interested in sex but feels OK being touched, massage can be wonderful,” she says. You can work out the sore spots and connect with your partner at the same time.