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The Best Sex Positions During Pregnancy

Some tried-and-true positions for the first through third trimesters.

Sex may beget pregnancy, but pregnancy doesn’t always lead to sex. It’s true, gas pains and mood swings aren’t exactly erection inducers. And yeah, the fear of potentially harming your unborn child for a moment of selfish delight doesn’t help either. But the fact of the matter is that if everyone is happy and healthy, sex during pregnancy is perfectly safe — and perfectly fun. Both partners just have to be willing to work with the developing circumstances. Basically: as a woman’s body begins to change, so shall the way you attempt to enter it. To help you out, here are some tried-and-true positions to try during each trimester of her pregnancy.

The Best Sex Positions for the First Trimester

Missionary

Really, there’s not much you can’t do in the first trimester that you wouldn’t be able to do with someone who wasn’t carrying a uterus full of your DNA. There are a lot of options on the table during this period, so you may as well start with some that are going to be more of a challenge down the line. If you like missionary, then get it now. As a woman journeys further into her pregnancy, she’ll want to avoid putting any unnecessary pressure on her belly. That means positions that require you to get on top will be more of a challenge further on.

“Missionary lets both partners make and maintain eye contact during penetrative sex, which, for those who enjoy it, can help facilitate a deeper intimate connection,” says sex educator Anne Hodder. “During the beginning stages of pregnancy, keeping that level of oxytocin flowing can be especially beneficial for anyone who might be having an uncomfortable or anxious first trimester.”

Legs Over the Shoulders

This one tends to be a crowd favorite. Though, admittedly, most people in that crowd aren’t carrying around a weighty development in their womb. Think of this as an elevated missionary position. The woman lies on her back, while the man gets on top. Instead of placing her legs on either side of his waist, she aims little further north, and lets them settle comfortably on his shoulders. “This is a great way for couples to enjoy the feeling of deeper penetration,” explains Hodder. “By putting your legs on your partner’s shoulders, you’re shortening the length of the vaginal canal and making it easier for your partner to penetrate you more deeply.”

Something Crazy (While You Can)

Acrobatic sex isn’t typically on the table for heavily pregnant women. But newly pregnant women can still indulge. If you and your partner fancy yourself bedroom adventurers, now’s the time to harness your wild side. “For those of you who are feeling strong during the first trimester, there’s no reason not to experiment with sex positions that will be more difficult to manage with a bigger belly,” says Hodder. “Once you’re officially a parent, finding and making time for sex – at least, non-quickie sex — will be difficult, so take advantage of the time you still have!”

The Best Sex Positions During the Second Trimester

Edge of the Bed Sex 

Remember when we said missionary might be a hard position to entertain as her pregnancy advances? Well, here’s somewhat of a cheat. “This is a great way to modify face-to-face positions so you can make eye contact and watch each other experience pleasure while taking pressure or weight off your growing belly,” says Hodder. “Depending on how high you (or your partner) hold your legs up, you can adjust how deep they can go — even the slightest angle adjustment can completely transform how it feels for you both.”

Lotus

You sit with your legs crossed. She lowers herself down onto your lap. With this position, she can control the movement, and go at a pace that is comfortable for her. It also gives her enough room to lean back in case her belly starts to get in the way. According to Hodder, this position can help facilitate orgasms that might be more difficult to come by in other positions.

Spooning

Who doesn’t love sex while spooning? It’s intimate, and it’s easy. In this position, she can lie on her side, giving her belly enough room to breathe while you cuddle up behind her. It may take a few attempts to get the rhythm going, but once you find your pace, you’ll discover how pleasurable low-maintenance positions can be. For maximum pleasure, Hodder suggests starting off slow. “Just like with any position, communicating with your partner about how each move feels, whether to slow down or speed up, or how hard to thrust is essential to assure that you both can enjoy a safe and pleasurable experience,” she says.

The Best Sex Positions During the Third Trimester

Oral

“This is a major milestone in the pregnancy and it’s important to remember that sex doesn’t have to be all about penises in vaginas,” says Hodder. If your partner no longer finds traditional intercourse enjoyable, then try some activities that don’t involve penetration. “Massage your partner’s body, touch and caress sensitive areas like the nipples and inner thighs, and be open to [giving] oral or manual pleasure with the sole purpose of making her feel loved, cared for, connected, and open — emotionally and physically.”

Creative Rear Entry 

It’s there’s one thing to say about sex during the third trimester, it’s that creativity is key. And rear entry is popular during this phase because it doesn’t require your body to get too tangled up in hers. Plus, as Hodder notes, “This position gives you the opportunity to check out your partner’s beautiful back and butt!” You could try entering her from behind while she’s standing with her hands against the wall. If that gets stale, then try having her lean over the edge of the couch. You won’t know what you can accomplish until you try.

Woman on Top

At this point in the pregnancy, her belly will likely make a lot of positions impossible to perform. With you flat on your back, she will have as much room as she needs to navigate sex. “It allows you a full view of the beautiful, magical life-growing process that your partner is going through,” says Hodder. She also notes that this position makes it easy to see, touch, massage, and squeeze your partner’s body in whatever way she finds pleasurable.