10 best pregnancy sex positions

Medically reviewed Dr Juliet McGrattan (MBChB), words Karen Gordon
Photo credit: Kathrin Ziegler - Getty Images

From Netdoctor

Wondering whether having sex during pregnancy is safe? Curious about the best pregnancy sex positions to accomodate your bump? Finding positions that are both comfortable and pleasurable may not be easy, but it's possible – and, for the majority of women, totally safe.

In fact, thanks to the additional hormones swirling around your system – your body's levels of estrogen and progesterone rise during pregnancy – sex is not only possible, but can potentially be more incredible than ever. Outercourse, oral sex, digital penetration, and anal sex are all safe for pregnant women.

Is have sex during pregnancy safe?

When a couple becomes pregnant for the first time, it is normal for them to be concerned about any possible effects that sex might have on their unborn chid. Common questions include: Will pressure on the womb hurt the child? Is there any risk of infection? Can an orgasm cause a miscarriage or premature childbirth? Are some sexual positions safer than others?

According to the NHS, it's perfectly safe to still have sex during pregnancy, unless your doctor or midwife advises you not to for health reasons. For example, if you're at risk of an early delivery, the doctor might ask you to abstain in the later stages. However, having sex will not hurt the baby and rest assured, your partner's penis cannot penetrate beyond your vagina.

When is sex during pregnancy not safe?

In some circumstances, a doctor or midwife might advise couples not to have too much sex during pregnancy – for example, if there's bleeding during pregnancy or after intercourse. The cells on your cervix are more sensitive during this time, so they're more likely to bleed.

Any spotting should be reported to your doctor or midwife, who will examine your cervix and possibly suggest an ultrasound. If the bleeding is recurrent, it may be suggested that you have less intercourse, but that does not mean that other types of sex – for example, outercourse, oral sex, and anal sex – are forbidden during the remainder of the pregnancy.

However, if your placenta is lying over the cervix – a condition known as placenta praevia – you may be advised to avoid intercourse altogether.

Comfortable sex positions during pregnancy

During the first three months of pregnancy, the foetus takes up so little space in the womb that it can't be seen or felt. But once the stomach starts to grow, sex can feel a little uncomfortable if the man is on top. Here, sex and relationship educator Tracey Cox recommends the following sex positions to try during pregnancy:

1. Woman on top

This one's super simple – get him to sit on a stable surface or the floor, with his legs straight out in front or crossed, and climb on top of him. Try leaning back on your hands to open up more space for your partner to stimulate your clit.

2. Reverse cowgirl

Alternatively, have him lie flat while you climb on top, facing the opposite direction, for a reverse cowgirl. 'This works because there's no pressure on your stomach and it's up to you to control the pace and depth of penetration,' says Cox.

3. Sex on a (sturdy) chair

You can do this two ways, advises Cox. Either sit with your back to him or face him straddled. Just make sure your feet can touch the floor, so you feel grounded. 'You control the action by bouncing up and down, using your feet as leverage,' says Cox.


4. Spooning

Lie on your side, with your legs drawn up towards your chest, while your partner penetrates you from behind. 'This provides support for her tummy, is relaxed and loving with shallow penetration,' says Cox. This is great for all three trimesters, but especially for the third when your bump is too big to get close and face to face, and the position isn't too strenuous either.

5. Side-by-side

A variation on spooning that's slightly more intimate, because you're facing one another. Think of missionary position, but with you both lying on your side. Support your bump further by placing a pillow or towel behind your back or beneath your stomach.

6. Doggy style

This position usually involves shallower penetration than a face-to-face position – but bear in mind you can't control the movement as much. As your belly grows, this position can become trickier, so you may find it suits the first two trimesters best.

'As the pregnancy progresses, try getting lower by leaning on your forearms and using pillows underneath as support,' says Cox. Penetration in this position can be deep – if it's too much, try putting a pillow between your bottom and his lower tummy.

7. Scissors

To get into position, lie at opposite ends of the bed with your legs scissored together. 'You can do it in the comfort of your bed and it makes for slower, gentler sex,' says Cox. Again, you can put a pillow under your bump to support it during sex.

8. Edge of the bed

Sit on the edge of the bed, then lie back, and have your partner kneel or stands on the floor in front you. 'It gets the bump out of the way and alters the angle of the vagina for less deep penetration,' says Cox.

You can wrap your legs around your partner's waist, bringing him in and controlling his thrusts and how deep he goes. If you start to feel dizzy lying flat – common towards the later stages of pregnancy – use a few pillows behind your upper back and head to prop yourself up.

9. Kneeling reverse cowgirl

Have your partner kneel on the bed, and lower yourself down onto his lap, facing away with your legs either side of his. This way, you set the pace and depth of penetration, and your partner has direct access to your breasts and clit.

10. Amended missionary

Missionary isn't totally off the cards, you just need to make it more comfortable. Lie down at the edge of a bed or sofa with your feet planted on the floor. Have your partner get down on their knees or stand and enter you, holding onto your thighs.

Oral sex during pregnancy

Generally, receiving oral sex during pregnancy is not something to worry about, explains gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Karen Morton, of Dr Mortons The Medical Helpline.

'If the pregnant woman is sleeping with a long-term partner, they will have been exposed to the herpes virus before if it is there in the lips or the genitals,' she explains.

However, if you're pregnant and sleeping with a new partner, ensure they are tested for STIs first.

Additionally, you should not receive oral sex from someone with a visible cold sore, whether you're pregnant or not, Dr Morton adds.

Last updated: 29-06-2020

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