Your Sexuality During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman laying on bed, husband's head resting on her with hand on her abdomen
Photo: Tricia Shay Photography / Photographer's Choice RF

There is the old saying that medical and religious miracles aside, every pregnancy started with a sex act. That notwithstanding, nothing raises as many eyebrows as the subject of sex during pregnancy. 

One thing to note is that sex and sexuality are very different and that even if you are not having sexual intercourse, your sexuality can still be expressed.

Your sexual practices during pregnancy will depend on several factors:

  • Your previous beliefs about sex
  • Your partner's previous beliefs
  • Physical aspects of your pregnancy
  • Emotional aspects of your pregnancy

There are many reasons why sex during pregnancy can be more enjoyable, even if you are doing it less. There is an increase in vaginal lubrication, engorgement of the genital area helps some people become orgasmic for the first time or multi-orgasmic, the lack of birth control, or if you have been trying for a while, a return to sex as pleasure as opposed to procreational, and other reasons.

On the other hand, there are reasons why sex might not be as pleasurable: fear of hurting the baby, nausea, fatigue, awkwardness, etc.

Although these can be valid reasons, doing research and talking to your partner and practitioner can often help you clarify what is really inappropriate during pregnancy, particularly for you.

Changes for Sexuality in Pregnancy

Change is rampant during pregnancy both in your body and your beliefs. While women may feel large and uncomfortable, men often find the pregnant body very erotic and desirable. Talk about your differences and attitudes towards your body and sexuality.

Make sure that you discuss the feelings that you have about sex and sexuality. These discussions can lead to a more fulfilling sex life. If either of you does not feel like having sex, this can be particularly important. Explain to your partner what is going on and what they can do to help you be sexual. For example, more cuddling, relaxing baths, romantic dinners, massages, mutual masturbation, whatever you and your partner agree upon is exactly what you need.

The hormonal fluctuations of pregnancy also play a part in your reactions to making love, as do the trimesters. Many women are too fatigued and nauseated to be very interested during the first trimester, while the second trimester brings a new sense of delight as her abdomen grows, and again later in the third trimester, the desire may wane as well. You can go from being horny in pregnancy to lacking a libido in 60 seconds.

Okay, so we know that there are wide variances in who is doing it and when. The big question (No pun intended.) is how?

Sex Positions in Pregnancy

Creativity should be your keyword during pregnancy. Or more bluntly put, whatever works! There are many sex positions that are more comfortable as you expand. These include:

  • Woman on top
  • Spooning (Man behind the woman, rear entry)
  • Hands and Knees
  • Side lying, knee pulled up

When You Shouldn't Have Sex in Pregnancy

When not to have sex and/or orgasms during pregnancy:

  • Your practitioner has advised against it
  • You have a history of premature birth or labor
  • Placenta previa (Where part of the placenta is covering the cervix)
  • Your water has broken
  • You are currently experiencing bleeding
  • You or your partner has an active sexually transmitted disease
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Article Sources

  1. Lewis JA, Black JJ. Sexuality in Women of Childbearing AgeJ Perinat Educ. 2006;15(2):29–35. doi:10.1624/105812406X10779

  2. American Pregnancy Association. Having Sex While Pregnant: Is it Safe? Updated July 2015.