Maybe you’re experiencing that third-trimester surge of passion (hey, it happens—or so we’re told) or maybe those extra curves are giving you a confidence boost (more power to you). Or perhaps you’ve heard that having sex can help induce labor and at 40 weeks, five days and three hours, you’re ready to try anything to get that baby out. Whatever the reason, finding a sex position while pregnant that is doable, safe and enjoyable can be tricky. We’re here to help.
1. Side by Side
This one’s great because it allows moms-to-be to control the thrusting and doesn’t put any pressure on the abdomen. To try it, lie side by side, facing each other, while your partner slides his leg over yours (you can keep your legs straight or bent at the knee—whatever is most comfortable). According to Gersh, this side by side position is actually one of the best ones for pregnant women. “The advantage of the side by side position is that penile penetration is shallower and so the pressure on the cervix is lessened, and there is absolutely no body weight of the partner on the pregnant uterus,” she explains.
Similar to the side by side position, this one also keeps the weight off your belly (and has the added bonus of being so snuggly). Lie on your side (you can even use a pregnancy pillow if you want for extra support) with your partner behind you so that you’re both facing the same direction. Your partner can adjust the angle of penetration until you hit the sweet spot.
3. Woman on Top
Many women find that as they move along in their pregnancy, deep penetration just doesn’t feel as good anymore. Enter this guy, which is also known as the “cowgirl.” Have your partner lie down while you sit on top of him. You won’t put any pressure on your bump and it will also allow you to control the speed and intensity of the action. For those women who might feel self-conscious about their bellies (which they totally shouldn’t but is a perfectly normal reaction), try the “reverse cowgirl,” i.e., turning around when you’re on top. (Hey, we’re sure your partner will appreciate the view.)
4. Doggy Style
“The so-called doggy-style positioning is also a possibility if being on her hands and knees is comfortable for the woman,” says Gersh. To do it, simply get into position in bed with your partner kneeling or standing behind you. Another variation of this is the “couch potato,” which is essentially the same thing except the woman kneels on the sofa instead of the bed (this can be helpful if your bed feels too hard or soft).
5. Sit Down
“Another position that avoids pressure on the woman’s uterus is having the woman at the end of the bed and the male standing, with penetration accomplished with the pregnant woman’s legs bent at the knees or frog-legged,” explains Gersh. This one works best if you have a bed or sofa that's waist-height for your partner. If this one feels too unbalanced, try propping yourself up with some pillows and holding on to the frame (or your partner) for support.
6. Add Pillows
You know that you shouldn’t lie on your back in the third trimester, but you can still enjoy a modified missionary position if you want—just make sure to prop yourself up using lots of pillows so that you’re at an upright angle and so your partner isn’t lying on top of you or your stomach.
7. Lotus Flower
Take a note from the Kama Sutra with this sensuous maneuver. In this position, your partner sits cross-legged while you sit on his lap with both of you facing each other. Wrap your arms and legs around his back, pulling him into you. This one is less about penetration and more about rocking and grinding. Many couples love it because of how intimate it is (also, it gives your guy the perfect opportunity to give your back a rub).
Lastly, is it safe?
Yes, sex during pregnancy is perfectly safe. But it might be a little different than what you’re used to. That’s because as your bump continues to grow (and grow), some positions may not be as comfortable or enjoyable as they once were. The main factor to consider is not placing any undue pressure on the uterus. “It’s also vital that there is no decreased blood flow to the uterus from the pregnant woman being flat on her back,” explains Felice Gersh, M.D. and author of PCOS SOS. This is not an issue in the first trimester but something you’ll want to avoid after 20 weeks of pregnancy. That’s because when you lie on your back, your uterus can press down on the vein that delivers blood from your lower body back to your heart (called the vena cava). This can cause dizziness and shortness of breath, as well as disrupt blood flow to your growing baby. But don’t worry—there are still plenty of ways for you to have some fun between the sheets.
A few more things to keep in mind
Stay clear of chemical lubrications, warns Dr. Gersh, which can irritate the area. She also cautions against orgasms if there are any signs of preterm labor (that’s because it can increase the risk for early labor). But as long as your doctor has given you the go-ahead, there’s no reason why you can’t continue to enjoy sex throughout your pregnancy.