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The Best Sex Positions During Pregnancy

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When it comes to pregnancy sex, “Is it safe?” is probably the very first question on your mind. But after clearing that up, you might be wondering how to make the whole thing work.

Sex while you’re expecting can be a little different than it was pre-pregnancy. As your tiny baby bump blossoms into a full-fledged belly, not every position might be comfortable — or satisfying — for you and your partner.

Don’t worry, though. Even though having sex while pregnant might seem like unfamiliar territory, there are still plenty of positions that will feel good. (And you can use them up until the very end.)

Here’s a look at the best sex positions during pregnancy, whether there’s anything you need to avoid and how to stay comfortable trimester by trimester.

What are the best sex positions while you’re pregnant?

The good news: Almost any position works as long as you’re comfortable. The not so good? As your pregnancy progresses, you might find that your ever-growing belly gets harder to maneuver around.

During your first trimester, there’s a high chance that almost any sex position will feel good,  assuming you feel good. Nothing kills the mood faster than early pregnancy symptoms like nausea, bloating and exhaustion. So feel free to stick with the go-tos that you and your partner liked best before finding out you were expecting.

Things can start to change once you reach your second trimester and beyond. Again, as long as a position feels good, it’s perfectly fine. But if it seems like your bump is getting in the way, there are plenty of belly-friendly options for you and your partner to try:

  • Side-lying positions: Lying on your side is often the most comfortable, whether you’re facing front-to-front or front-to-back. Both options keep the weight off your back, and you won’t have to worry about holding up the weight of your belly. If you feel pressure on your low back, try tucking a pillow between your knees and have your partner lie behind you.

  • Woman on top: The classic “cowgirl” position works because it doesn’t put any pressure on your belly, and it enables you to control the depth of penetration and clitoral stimulation. One thing to keep in mind: Late in pregnancy, when your belly has gotten bigger than you ever thought possible, you could find it tough to maneuver into this position.  

  • Rear entry: Having your partner enter you from behind means he can bypass your belly altogether. Try standing with your hands against the wall, or having your partner sit on a chair with you sitting on his lap facing away from him. Getting on all fours is another option. Just rest your arms and head on the bed so you don’t have to hold up all that belly weight.   

  • Man on top: Missionary-style is fine for a quickie, as long as your partner keeps his weight off you by supporting himself with his arms. If he prefers to have his hands free, try moving to the edge of the bed: Lie on your back on the bed, then scooch down so that your bottom is at the edge of the bed and your legs are dangling down towards the floor. Then have your partner kneel or stand in front of you. Tucking a few pillows under your back can help relieve any pressure.

What sex positions should I avoid during pregnancy?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, there’s almost nothing that’s off-limits. By the second trimester, you’ll want to steer clear of any position that puts weight on your belly, like your partner lying directly on top of you or you lying on your stomach, and anything that keeps you on your back for too long.

So feel free to stick with most of the pre-pregnancy favorites that still work for you. And have fun exploring! Trying new things in the bedroom can make you and your partner feel even more connected.

Are there any risks associated with certain sex positions?

Again, almost any position is okay as long as it feels good to you. Assuming you have the all-clear from your doctor, having sex during pregnancy is perfectly safe. That said, there are a few things to consider to avoid putting you or your baby at risk:

  • Keep man-on-top sessions short after week 20. Lying on your back for a few minutes isn’t a big deal. But staying that way for an extended period can make you dizzy and reduce blood flow to the baby, not to mention put uncomfortable pressure on your back.

  • Be smart about anal sex. It’s totally fine, but if you want to follow up with vaginal sex, make sure you and your partner wash up thoroughly first to keep any infection-causing bacteria at bay. Also, you’ll probably want to avoid it if you’re dealing with hemorrhoids — which can get uncomfortable.

What positions are best by trimester?

It’s all about what feels right to you. But in general, here’s what you might find works best:

  • First trimester: Your bump is teeny-tiny (to non-existent) right now, so any positions that worked pre-pregnancy are probably still feeling good.

  • Second trimester: As you get bigger, now might be the time to start exploring positions that work around your belly. Since you aren’t huge huge yet, you might find side-lying, rear-entry, woman-on-top and man-on-top positions comfortable.

  • Third trimester: It’s totally fine to stick with whatever still feels okay, of course. But if some of your second-trimester favorites have started to get a little challenging, lying on your side with a pillow between your knees and having your partner enter from behind might be the most comfortable, since you won’t have to support the weight of your belly or put pressure on your back.

Can I still have sex at 40 weeks and beyond?

Yes can, unless your doctor has specifically told you otherwise. That said, sex at 40 weeks pregnant and beyond might come with a few surprises. For instance, you might experience slight spotting now that your cervix has started to soften. Don’t worry — it’s normal.

The main thing to remember: There’s really no right or wrong way to have sex during pregnancy, but the bigger your belly gets, you’ll very likely find that certain positions are just more comfortable. It’s all about listening to your body and doing what feels right — so go for it!

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Health information on this site is based on peer-reviewed medical journals and highly respected health organizations and institutions including ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists), CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), as well as the What to Expect books by Heidi Murkoff.

View Sources

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