8 of the best sex positions for pregnant women

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8 of the best sex positions for pregnant women
At times, sex during pregnancy might feel uncomfortable due to changing hormones.Getty Images / Flashpop
  • Some sex positions to try while pregnant include penetrative options like reverse cowgirl and sex from behind as well as non-penetrative options like oral sex or mutual masturbation.
  • Sex while pregnant is not only mostly safe, but it offers benefits like pain relief and greater intimacy between you and your partner.
  • You can also step it up a notch in the bedroom by adding sex toys, like vibrators, to your routine.

According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), a pregnant person can have sex safely throughout pregnancy, unless their healthcare provider offers other direction.

Muscles in the uterus and amniotic fluid in the uterus work to protect the growing baby throughout pregnancy and during penetrative sex. Oral sex is also safe, according to the Mayo Clinic, and so is anal sex.

"For the vast majority of people, sex is something that can actually happen throughout the pregnancy, up until the moment of delivery," Dr. Ina Park, associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UCSF and author of Strange Bedfellows, told Insider.

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At times, sex during pregnancy might feel uncomfortable due to changing hormones, a lower sex drive, and a growing belly, according to the Mayo Clinic. But experimenting with different sex positions can reduce discomfort and help a partner maneuver around your growing belly.

8 different sex positions and methods to try while pregnant (Penetrative and non-penetrative options)

1. Standing and from behind

When to try it: First and second trimesters

  1. Stand on the ground while facing a wall.
  2. Plant your hands against the wall and lean in slightly for added stability.
  3. Have your partner enter you from behind, holding your hips for added support.

2. From behind

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When to try it: First, second, and third trimesters

  1. Kneel on the bed while putting your hands against the headboard or wall for support. During the first trimester, when your belly isn't as heavy, you could also get on all fours.
  2. Have your partner enter you from behind.
  3. This is also a useful position, in reverse, if you are penetrating your non-pregnant partner. Be sure to keep your belly elevated away from bumping into their booty as you penetrate them, you may need to stand on something higher up or have them move their body lower down.

3. Pregnant person on top

When to try it: First, second, and third trimesters

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  1. Your partner lies on their back with their knees straight or bent.
  2. Straddle your partner, facing them and bending your knees, so they can penetrate you. Either of you can stimulate your clitoris from this position.
  3. Optional: Lean back to take extra weight off your belly, and widen your leg stance for deeper penetration. For more shallow penetration, narrow your leg stance or lean forward.

4. Reverse cowgirl

When to try it: First, second, and third trimesters

  1. Your partner lies on their back with their knees straight or bent.
  2. Straddle your partner, facing away from them, so they can penetrate you. They may be able to stimulate your clitoris, you may be able to stimulate your clitoris yourself
  3. Use your hands to stabilize yourself as you lean back, which is especially helpful during the third trimester as your belly becomes heavier.
  4. This can be a useful position, in reverse, if you are penetrating your non-pregnant partner, but be cautious of their booty pressing on your belly.

5. Oral sex

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When to try it: First, second, and third trimesters

  1. Sit on a couch, chair with a back, or at the top of your bed against the headboard or wall.
  2. Lean back slightly and relax while your partner goes down on you.
  3. To go down on your non-pregnant partner, kneel on top of a pillow and bring their body to you. This is often best with them at the end of a bed, edge of a couch, or with them seated on a chair.

6. Anal sex

When to try it: First, second, and third trimesters

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Anal sex is fine during all trimesters, Park told Insider, but if you notice bleeding or bloody stool afterwards, don't proceed until the bleeding clears up. This likely also means you need more lube and relaxation before penetration. Pregnancy may also cause hemorrhoids which are important to get checked out.

  1. Use lots of lube. Kneel on all fours with your partner behind you, or lay on your side in a spooning position. In the third trimester, spooning for anal sex is best to prevent pressure on your belly. You can also try similar positions to #1 and #2.
  2. Your partner can then enter you from behind.
  3. This is also a useful position, in reverse, if you are penetrating your non-pregnant partner.

7. Mutual masturbation

When to try it: First, second, and third trimesters

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  1. Lay down facing your partner.
  2. Use your hands, and toys if you'd like, to pleasure your partner while they do the same with you.

8. Spooning

When to try it: Second and third trimesters

If your belly feels unwieldy during your second and third trimesters, spooning is the perfect position for feeling comfortable and intimate with your partner, Jess O'Reilly, a sex educator and Astroglide's resident sexologist, told Insider.

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  1. Lay on your side and have your partner lay behind you.
  2. Your partner can penetrate you, reach over you and stimulate your clitoris, or both.
  3. Similarly, if you enjoy penetrating your non-pregnant partner, you can change your angle so your belly is less in the way.

Tools for enhancing sex during pregnancy

Though you don't need to shell out money for pregnancy-specific sex toys or tools, a few items you already own could make sex during pregnancy more comfortable and pleasurable, Park said. Be sure to always wash the toys between uses and never go from anus to vagina with the toys.

She said sex toys are safe to use while pregnant, and vibrators are especially helpful for clitoral stimulation.

If you feel uncomfortable pressure on your uterus, a common pregnancy-sex symptom due to increased blood flow to the area, Park suggested having spooning-style sex while propping up your belly, which can alleviate the sensation.

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Sex positions to avoid while pregnant

Laying on your back during sex after 20 weeks can compress your vena cava, the major blood vessel that helps with circulation through your body and to the baby. These positions are safe any time before 20 weeks.

Sex during pregnancy benefits

When you have an orgasm, your body releases the hormone oxytocin, which can promote pain relief and increase feelings of intimacy between you and your partner.

You also release the hormone dopamine when you orgasm, which boosts sleep and feelings of happiness.

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If you're near your due date, orgasming during pregnancy may help to put you into labor more quickly. That's because your uterus contracts when you orgasm. But this won't cause you to go into labor prematurely.

Sex during pregnancy potential risks

Though rare, sex during pregnancy comes with potential risks, especially for people with a history of miscarriage, preterm labor, placenta previa, venous air embolism, or pelvic inflammatory disease, according to the National Institutes of Health.

According to Park, any bleeding during sex is a sign you should stop. If the bleeding occurred during penetrative sex, wait for it to stop before having sex again, and if it doesn't stop or is heavy for multiple days, see a doctor right away. In rare cases, it could be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

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If you bleed during anal sex, wait for the bleeding to stop before having sex again. If your amniotic fluid leaks after sex, it's also a sign to stop.

You can still get sexually transmitted infections while pregnant, so use condoms if you have more than one sexual partner, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Insider's takeaway

Pregnancy can make certain sex positions more difficult than normal. If your go-to positions are no longer working, try experimenting with methods like reverse cowgirl or sex from behind while standing.

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However, if you find yourself not as interested in sex during pregnancy, that's alright. According to O'Reilly, it's normal to be disinterested in sex during your pregnancy.

"This is a good time to start thinking about yourself first. So maybe look at other ways to maintain the connection, whether it's kissing, cuddling, hugging, touching, flirting, or being playful. If you find yourself not in the mood for intercourse, because of the way your body's feeling or because of pressure on the bladder, I just encourage you to tune into pleasure," she said.

If you're unsure where to find inspiration for sex while pregnant, consider books like "Your Orgasmic Pregnancy."

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