Sex when she’s pregnant – the ins and outs

For some women – it's the horniest they've ever been. Here's how to make the most of it.

sex during pregnancy

Pre-pregnancy sex is great. No contraception! As regular as tachycardia! And if she’s really, really keen to conceive, free from any duty to bring her to orgasm! It’s unreconstructed man heaven.

Retrospectively, of course, when the baby’s arrived, and you’re exhausted, sexless and shit-smeared, it feels like it was the last feast of a condemned man.

But what of the time in-between – when the bun’s rising in the oven? Is the kitchen still open for business?

We asked one of Australia’s leading authorities on sex and relationships, sexologist Jacqueline Hellyer, to guide us through the ins and outs.

First things first: Is it safe?

“Basically, sex during pregnancy is absolutely fine unless the doctor’s told you not to” Hellyer assures. “Occasionally it’s not a good idea, such as if the placenta is over the cervix, the opening – but on the whole, you can’t hurt the baby.”

Even if you’re packing wood like a lumberjack’s lorry and your lady is built like a bonsai branch?

“No, no,” chuckles Hellyer. “It doesn’t make any difference at all.”

With that out of the way, let’s get down to post-baby making, pre-baby business.

Here’s the trimester-by-trimester breakdown for your pleasuring, pleasure.

FIRST TRIMESTER

Pregnancy pushes more blood flow to your lady’s lady parts than usual. Throw in hormonal weirdness and it’s very common for her to be randier than she’s ever been.

Common, but not always – some women’s systems miss the memo entirely, or all the physical change that comes with pregnancy can get in the way.

“Different women have very different pregnancies, and consecutive pregnancies can be different for the same woman. Some women don’t want to have sex at all. For others it’s the horniest they’ve ever been in their lives.”

Now before you go getting too excited… or disappointed…

“The first trimester is the worst trimester, because often the woman is feeling really awful –like a really bad hangover all the time.” Hellyer warns.

“She looks completely normal but there’s a very good chance that she feels completely crap: on the edge of vomiting, fuzzy head, really fatigued.”

Good news: this is temporary for most women – the promised horniness will probably still arrive – although some experience ‘morning sickness’ until delivery. Which sucks, because she’s her same sexy self, but with no hormonal ‘do me here in the supermarket’ spike to speak of.

Things to watch out for:

Her sensitive boobs.

“If she’s going, ‘Agh! Don’t touch my breasts!’ then that’s okay – although it’s a disappointment for the guys, because it’s often the breasts that get nice and full first,” Hellyer says.

But if she does let you caress her chesty whamdanglers, do her the courtesy of being extra gentle.

Think ‘testing the ripeness of an avocado’, rather than ‘what would happen if I tried to make these two things into one massive boob?’.

Things to avoid:

Any position goes during the first trimester, so provided she’s feeling up for it, and the doc’s given the all clear, go for your life.

SECOND TRIMESTER

“The second trimester is normally the best,” Hellyer says. “Most – but not all – women are over the nausea, and they’re not that big yet, so women in the second trimester often feel fantastic and really, really horny.”

The caveat is if you have a toddler in the house at this stage – that changes everything. You might as well give up on daytime fun, take longer showers, invest in Sorbolene. It’s not happening.

However, provided your toddler sleeps pretty well, and not in the same room as you, it could be ‘all systems go!’ – and some of the best, sweatiest, no-holds-barred (other than undue pressure on the belly) sex you’ve ever had.

Think ‘happily drunk enough to know precisely what’s going on and give consent’ coupled with ‘happily drunk and horny enough to throw all caution to the wind’.

It’s a magical time – and if that window opens, make the most of it.

Things to watch out for:

Surging tightness. (No, not in that way).

“When they have orgasms when they’re pregnant, some women find that their tummy goes really, really hard – like it’s locked up – which can be really off-putting,” Hellyer says. “It doesn’t hurt the baby, though!”

If she doesn’t want to have an orgasm, because she doesn’t like her stomach muscles contracting in that way, that’s fine – she doesn’t necessarily have to orgasm to enjoy herself – but just because she’s not going to get over line doesn’t mean you should race to the finish.

Go slow. An important part of intimacy, especially when she’s pregnant, is about making sure she feels loved, and appreciated – especially when she starts getting alarmingly enormous.

Things to avoid:

Her lying on her back.

From about 20 weeks, as much as possible you want to avoid any positions that involve her lying flat on her back. Mostly because it will be uncomfortable for her. But also, there is a low risk that in this position her enlarged uterus could place pressure on the aorta (which supplies blood flow to your baby). Which of course, would not be good.

As I said, it’s a low risk, but a great excuse to be more adventurous.

THIRD TRIMESTER

By now it will begin to feel a bit like boffing a billiard table. Still fun, but you’re going to have to get creative. Also, be prepared to do most of the work, especially towards the end.

“This is a time for you just to explore really tender, gentle lovemaking,” Hellyer says. “We often think that good sex has to be completely shagadelic, but sometimes the most beautiful sex can be very simple and just really connected and not much happening at all.”

Be careful at this stage, because particular angles can feel weird and uncomfortable. Don’t just pump away. Instead, be in the moment and pay attention to what she wants.

Slow and sexy wins the day.

Things to watch out for:

As B-Day draws closer, things may get a bit, ahem… roomier down there.

“Everything’s softening and getting looser to get the baby’s head out,” Hellyer says. “That’s quite normal.”

Don’t go fretting that this is permanent, though, or concern yourself that her once-compact lady bits will resemble a wizard’s sleeve forevermore post-birth.

Vaginas stretch. They also unstretch. The only thing affecting her post-birth looseness, or lack thereof, is her pelvic floor muscles. Which like other muscles, can be worked on and improved with time.

Make exercise suggestions about this once the baby comes home at your peril – and asking the doctor to ‘throw in a couple of extra stitches’ if she has an episiotomy is the biggest no-no in the world.

Things to avoid:

Her lying on her tummy.

By now, she’s not been able to lie on her tummy for a while. In fact, she’s going to start finding many positions (and probably just life generally) pretty uncomfortable, as her increasingly large belly increasingly gets in the way.

“Just try other positions,” Hellyer says. “Side-by-side can be really nice, or more of a scissor-type position can be good. If she’s not too big, then her on top can be good. Some women are fine with from behind, so long as she’s not swaying her back too much.”

Do yourself a favour and come up with a few possibilities in advance – nothing kills the mood like failing at three consecutive positions on the fly.

Other things to avoid include anal (there is a risk of infection if you transfer bacteria to the front bits), as well as blowing during oral sex (because in extremely rare and highly unlikely circumstances it can cause an embolism/blocked blood vessel).

So there you have it, your complete guide to sex during pregnancy. Play your cards right and you’re in for a good time. Enjoy it. Once baby arrives, you may be in for a bit of a dry spell…

RELATED: Will we ever have sex again? A New Dad’s guide to sex post-birth.

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