Remember that scene in Knocked Up when Seth Rogan’s character freaks out about hitting the fetus with his penis? Yeah, it’s kind of impossible to forget…
Rest assured, research shows pregnancy sex is totally safe. In fact, unless your doctor advises you otherwise, feel free to try out as many different pregnancy sex positions as you want over the next nine months, says Tami Rowan, MD, an OB-GYN specializing in sexual health at the University of California San Francisco. (For instance, if you’re at risk for an early delivery, your doctor may recommend abstaining from sex entirely during the third trimester until around week 36, she says.)
What’s better: The sex can feel amazing—like, even more amazing than before you got preggers. That’s because, during gestation, your body’s levels of estrogen and progesterone rise. Those hormones increase blood flow down there, which, in turn, ups vaginal lubrication and breast sensitivity, says OB-GYN Kecia Gaither, MD, maternal fetal medicine specialist at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
And while all positions are fair game, you’ve probably heard that it’s unsafe to lay on your back after week 20. That’s partially true—this can compress the vena cava, a major blood vessel that can impact circulation throughout your body, as well as to your baby. However, before it gets to that point, it’ll feel uncomfortable. “There’s this stereotype that you have to have sex from the side or behind, but you can have missionary sex if it doesn’t last too long,” says Rowan. “After five to 10 minutes, you may start to feel weird, and you can just shift to your side at that point.”
Another thing to keep in mind: The cells on your cervix are more sensitive during this time, too, so they’re more likely to bleed. You may notice some spotting after sex—don’t freak. Instead, if you spot for any reason, call your doctor (even if you think it’s sex-related), advises Rowan. And, if sex doesn’t feel great now, that’s nbd. Opt for outercourse, oral sex, digital penetration, and anal sex—all safe for pregnant women, she says.
Whatever you choose, do you (literally). “I think it’s so important to have sex during pregnancy because it maintains intimacy in a relationship,” says Rowan. “There’s no reason to be scared of it.” Plus, after you have the baby, you’ll be abstaining from intercourse for about six weeks, so gurl, get yours now. If you’re looking for some expert-approved sex position ideas that feel good and accommodate a growing belly, here are some of the best sex positions during pregnancy to try:
First Trimester: Scissor
This move is not only gentle, but it’s a shallower form of penetrative sex than many positions (you know, in case you’re still a little freaked out about baby getting poked in the head), says Ava Cadell, PhD, a Los Angeles-based sexologist. Plus, all that blood flow down there will make your partner’s pelvis against your clit feel even more amazing than usual.
How to: Sit on the bed facing each other. Lift your partner’s right leg over your left, and lift your right leg over his left. Now lean back, while your partner props himself up with his arms. Then have him gently gyrate into you, rather than aggressively thrust.
First Trimester: X-Files
Soon, it may be tougher to lie on your back for an extended amount of time—so get this position out of your system before you have to switch things up. Plus, in this move, your partner has full access to your breasts and nipples, which will be feeling super-sensitive, thanks to that fun estrogen and progesterone spike.
How to: Lie flat on your back with your legs in the air, criss-crossed or wrapped around your partner’s neck, while they enter you. Crossing your legs makes your vaginal opening even tighter, which will feel intense for both of you.
First Trimester: Cross Buttocks
Yep, this is kind of a crazy sex position, but why not go for it before your growing belly starts to totally take over your bod? Plus, a move like this requires some lubrication (read: lots of it), which all those pregnancy hormones will help you naturally achieve.
How to: Start out in missionary position, but before the action begins, have your partner slide his legs and chest off of your body so that his limbs cross over yours.
First Trimester: Edge-of-Couch Missionary
If you love missionary, then this is a fun (not to mention sexy) way to change things up, says Cadell. Plus, it lets your partner do all of the work, which can be a bonus if you’re exhausted.
How to: Lie down at the edge of a bed, chair, or couch, with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Your partner will get down on their knees or stand, depending on the height of the surface. Have your partner grab your thighs and enter you.
Second Trimester: Doggy Style
Spice things up without going acrobatic. If you feel any ache in your back during this one, consider propping up your chest on some pillows, or trying the next rear-entry variation, says Alyssa Dweck, MD, gynecologist and co-author of V is for Vagina.
How to: Get on your hands and knees, either on the bed or floor. Have your partner enter you from behind. From this position, they can also easily add in some clitoral stimulation to take you straight to O-town.
Second Trimester: Leap Frog
This sex position could also go by “I’m too tired to hold myself up,” but it does more than give you a rest. It’s one of the best positions during pregnancy because, by tilting your pelvis, it changes the depth of penetration to mix ~things~ up. Cadell recommends using a pillow to give your arms and head some extra support.
How to: Lie face down on a bed, with your knees bent and hips raised. Lean forward and prop your body up using your forearms and pillows. Have your partner enter you from behind, while also bending their knees.
Second Trimester: The Hot Seat
“The second trimester will show a little more of a belly bump, but it’s still easy to maneuver around [for sex],” says Terri Vanderlinde, MD, a gynecologist and sexual medicine counselor. Bonus: Your partner’s hands are free to stroke your breasts and clit. And, if you do it in front of a mirror, it makes it extremely sexy and intimate.
How to: Have your partner sit on the edge of a bed or chair and lower yourself down, facing away. This allows for maximum leverage, and you can test out which angles feel most comfortable.
Second Trimester: Cowgirl
Take control for your comfort: This one lets you set the pace and depth of penetration while giving your partner direct access to your breasts, which are more sensitive right now than you ever thought possible.
How to: Have your partner lie down on their back, with legs outstretched. Kneel next to them, then spread your legs and straddle your partner’s hips while facing forward. While kneeling, lower yourself down and begin riding up and down, as slow or fast as feels comfortable.
Third Trimester: Spooning
By lying on your side, you take any pressure off of your back and uterus (yessss) while still managing to get your belly out of the way, says Dweck. You can assume this position any time, but it’s best for the later stages of pregnancy since it’s super-gentle and doesn’t allow for deep penetration, which can become uncomfortable.
Btw, Vanderlinde recommends always having a bit of a tilt, or a pillow, under your left hip to keep the baby’s weight off of your vena cava.
How to: You both lie on your sides facing the same direction, your partner behind you. Bend your knees slightly and push your butt toward him, so he can enter you. Adjusting the lean of your bodies will vary the angle of entry and help with rocking and thrusting.
Third Trimester: Reverse Cowgirl
This variation of your typical woman-on-top sex position keeps you in control while increasing clitoral stimulation, says Cadell. Depending on how much you lean forward or back, you can really change the angle to find just the right spot that feels good.
How to: Have your partner lie on their back with legs outstretched. Kneel next to your partner, then turn and spread your legs, straddling their hips while facing his feet. Kneeling, lower yourself down, and begin riding up and down.
Third Trimester: Table Top
This position is great for the third trimester, since it provides a comfortable position for you and easy access for your partner, says Vanderlinde. (Now, that’s what I call a win-win.)
How to: Sit with your butt on the edge of a bed, bench, counter, or table, with your partner supporting your legs. Have your partner enter you from this position. Easy-peasy.