Maybe during pregnancy you feel bloated, tired, and nauseated, and sex is the furthest thing from your mind. Maybe you're at a point at which hormones are sending your libido into overdrive, and you can't get enough. Either way, you do you: Sex during pregnancy is perfectly safe, although doctors do recommend that you skip missionary position come the third trimester, since
lying on your back can reduce the amount of blood going to your baby and put strain on your hips.
Even if you're raring to go, though, intercourse can become uncomfortable or logistically difficult later in pregnancy, which is why we tapped sex therapist
Vanessa Marin and Jessica Shepherd, MD, an OB/GYN at the University of Illinois at Chicago to give us pointers on the best positions for people who are expecting. Click through for their picks and insights on how your libido can shift as you're waiting for baby.
Doggy style sex is great during pregnancy, because it doesn't put any pressure on the abdomen, Dr. Shepherd says. Having sex bent over can feel animalistic (they don't call it doggy style for nothing), so it's a great reminder that mothers-to-be are still people with urges. But you don't have to be penetrated to "do it" doggy style. In the oral sex variation, you simply bend over on your hands and knees (like you would in regular doggy style), as your lover positions themselves behind you to pleasure you with their mouth.
If your favorite position is off limits or too difficult during pregnancy, try using a vibrator with your partner (or solo). Dr. Shepherd says using vibrators during pregnancy is generally safe. So even if you can't lie on your back for your beloved missionary pose in which you and your partner usually incorporate clitoral vibration, you don't have to leave your toy in your underwear drawer gathering dust.
Pregnancy is the perfect excuse to stay on the couch, and you can do just that in this variation of doggy style. To get into coach potato position, kneel on your hands and knees on your couch as your partner penetrates you from behind, also kneeling. It's really just the couch variation of the type of doggy style sex commonly done in bed.
Since lying on your back is ill-advised during the third trimester, Dr. Shepherd says sex positions like this pose can typically be both enjoyable and not physically inhibiting.
Since you shouldn’t lie on your back during the third trimester, propping pillows under your back can allow you to still enjoy missionary intimacy from a more upright angle, Dr. Shepherd says. Splurge on a specialty
sex pillow or simply grab the pillows already on your bed, and insert them under your back until you're seated upright, leaning against the pillows, as your partner penetrates you in a modified missionary position. If you still feel too reclined even after adding pillows, save this one for the first and second trimester, just to be safe. More
In this position straight out of the
Kama Sutra, the pregnant partner leans back against their lover's lap and opens their thighs to allow for manual clitoral stimulation or use of a vibrator, which Dr. Shepherd confirms is safe during pregnancy. Peasant pose is a gentle reminder that sex doesn't need to be penetrative to be enjoyable. More
Do what feels comfortable.
Your main guide in the bedroom when you're pregnant should be how you feel. Listen to your body: What feels most comfortable? What turns you on? With that said, keep in mind that later in pregnancy, you should...
Avoid lying on your back.
When you lie on your back, your uterus presses on the vein that delivers blood from your lower body back to your heart. Doing so for extended periods of time could make you dizzy, place stress on your hips, and reduce the flow of blood and nutrients to your growing baby, and so during the third trimester, it's safest to avoid sex positions in which you're on your back.
Face to face.
Sometimes, eye contact is just what you're looking for. "This position is ultra-romantic and sensual," Marin says. "Your little belly will barely get in the way, and you can still be super close." Stare deep into your partner's eyes and share this moment of calm before the baby storm.
In this position, the penetrator sits cross-legged and the penetratee sits on his or her lap, facing each other. "This is another super romantic one," Marin says. "Wrap your arms around each other and peek down at your growing belly."
Woman on top.
"You're in control of the angle and the pace, so you can make it comfortable for you," Marin points out — deep penetration may not feel as good to you as your pregnancy progresses. Being on top also offers you plenty of clitoral stimulation.
In The Drape, the pregnant partner lies at the edge of the bed, with legs bent over the edge and feet on the ground, while the other partner stands. "This position requires you to have a bed or sofa that's waist-height for your partner, but it can be really comfortable," Marin explains. "Plus, both of you have easy access to your clitoris." Win-win.
"This position can be great for slow, sweet, Sunday-afternoon sex," Marin says. "Your belly won't get in the way" — making this position great for late in pregnancy — "and you can even use one of those pregnancy pillows for extra support." Sometimes, low-impact sex is the best sex.
"Hey, pregnant ladies can get down and dirty, too!" Marin says. Doggy-style won't put pressure on your belly, "and you'll get to feel like your old sexy self again."
"If you're starting to feel self-conscious about your belly during sex — there's no need to be, but lots of women do — try turning around when you're on top," Marin suggests. "You'll get a different angle, and your partner will get a really hot view."
"Being pregnant can do a real number on your sex drive," Marin says. "Some women report feeling exceptionally horny in the first trimester, minus all the unfortunate morning sickness. Other women feel their libidos kick into overdrive around the second trimester. Things generally slow down around the third trimester, but every woman is different."
There's no right or wrong here — do what makes you feel best. And check in with yourself emotionally. While "anxiety about being a mom and all the changes ahead can make you shut down," Marin explains, "feeling closer and more connected to your partner can make you feel more libidinous." Don't be surprised if you feel both within moments of each other. One universal upside to sex during pregnancy: Worrying about getting pregnant is not a factor.
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