Sex can feel like somewhat of a new experience if you’re pregnant.
Unless you have medical issues that prevents you from having sex – and your healthcare provider would tell you if this is the case – you can safely have sex throughout your pregnancy. You might find that you and your partner have to change things up a bit when you’re really tired, or your belly is getting especially big, but with some small adjustments, you can get as frisky as you like.
It’s different for everyone, but many pregnant women do, indeed, feel like getting frisky, especially during the second trimester, although it’s also completely normal to have less of an interest in sex during pregnancy. But if you’re feeling in the mood, take advantage of those good vibes!
When is it not safe to have sex during pregnancy?
If you have a low-risk pregnancy without complications, you’ve got the green light to move ahead in the bedroom. Your healthcare provider will let you know if it isn’t safe to have sex – if, for example, you’ve been experiencing unexplained bleeding, amniotic fluid leakage, if your cervix is opening prematurely, if the location of your placenta placenta isn’t ideal, if you’re carrying multiples, or if you have a history of preterm labor or premature birth.
But if your provider does suggest that you abstain from sex for health reasons, make sure you understand the specifics of exactly what is off-limits. Is it vaginal penetration? Orgasm? Something else?
Make sure you know just what you can and can’t do, because there may be some ways you can continue to get intimate. And know that cramping during or after intercourse and orgasm are normal, but if your experience bleeding or pain, it’s a good idea to touch base with your healthcare provider.
Do you need to use protection?
Even though you don’t need to worry about using protection to prevent unwanted pregnancy – that’s obviously not a concern right now – you do want to use protection if there is any risk of sexually transmitted diseases or sexually transmitted infections. This is especially true if you’re not in a mutually monogamous relationship, or if you have sex with a new partner while pregnant. STDs and STIs can pose a risk to you and your baby’s health, so you’ll want to take precautions as needed.
What are the best positions?
For the most part, you should let comfort be your guide as you decide what sex positions are best for you – what’s comfortable during the first trimester might be less so by the third.
Early on, you might find that anything goes and you can be as acrobatic as ever, but when your due date is fast approaching, you might find that your belly gets in the way of some of your usual positions and it’s hard for you to move around as easily as you used to.
In the third trimester it’s also not advisable for you to lie on your back because your uterus can compress certain blood vessels in this position, so you might want to try lying on your side, getting on all fours, or using pillows to support you.
Have fun, experiment, and see what works for you. And do let your partner know what feels okay and what feels not okay, even if things that you used to do and used to like don’t feel so hot right now. This is a fine – and fun – time to try something new when you need to get creative and mix things up.
Is anything off limits?
Vaginal sex is fine unless your healthcare provider has told you otherwise, and so are oral and anal sex. There are a few caveats though. If you’re on the receiving end of oral sex, your partner shouldn’t blow air into your vagina, which could cause a blocked blood vessel, and if you have hemorrhoids, anal sex might be uncomfortable. It’s also not advisable to follow anal sex with vaginal sex, as this could lead to vaginal infection.
What if you’re just not interested in sex?
There are a number of reasons why you might just not be in the mood right now. Lots of women experience fatigue, discomfort, mood swings, or a waning libido during different stages of pregnancy.
If you’re not feeling frisky – or if sex is off limits for medical reasons – there are still a lot of other ways you can connect with your partner – you can kiss, snuggle, massage, talk, laugh, and be as creative as you might normally be between the sheets to find other ways to connect. If you or your partner find sex stressful because it brings up anxieties about soon being a parent, know that these feelings are natural too.
What about after the baby arrives?
Once baby arrives, it will actually take a little while before you can have sex again. Whether you deliver your baby vaginally or by C-section, you’ll need some time to heal up down below. Your healthcare provider will see you several weeks after delivery to assess how you’re healing and will give you the go-ahead for sex when you’ve healed.
But even once you get the a-okay for this sort of intimacy, you still may not feel like it – whether because you’re tired, sore, or uncomfortable – and physically things may feel different than they did before. When that time does come, you can ease the transition by communicating with your partner and take things slow.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “C-section recovery: What to expect.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, March 20 2015. Retrieved September 27 2017. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/labor-and-delivery/in-depth/c-section-recovery/art-20047310.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Postpartum care: What to expect after a vaginal delivery.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, March 24 2015. Retrieved September 27 2017. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/labor-and-delivery/in-depth/postpartum-care/art-20047233.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Sex after pregnancy: Set your own timeline.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, July 2 2015. Retrieved September 27 2017. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/labor-and-delivery/in-depth/sex-after-pregnancy/art-20045669.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Sex during pregnancy: What’s OK, what’s not.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, July 31 2015. Retrieved September 27 2017. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/sex-during-pregnancy/art-20045318.
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “FAQ032: A partner’s guide to pregnancy.” ACOG. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Retrieved September 27 2017. https://www.acog.org/-/media/For-Patients/faq032.pdf.