Do This, Not That: Sex Positions to Skip When You're Pregnant

What's safe (and what isn't) when you're having sex during pregnancy.

couple in bed Ocean Photography/ Veer

If your doctor gives you the green light to have sex during pregnancy, go for it! "In a normal pregnancy, there's no reason to refrain from intercourse as long as you want it, and as long as it's comfortable," says Chicago-based ob-gyn Lauren Streicher, M.D., author of Love Sex Again.

Staying comfortable is the rule, and that may be a challenge both in the beginning of your pregnancy, when you're feeling bone-tired and barfy, and at the end of your pregnancy, when you're huge and (again) feeling exhausted. The key is to find sexual positions that feel good at every stage.

Read on for our trimester-by-trimester guide to getting busy -- with sex positions that will work for each of those nine months.

    Sexual Positions During the First Trimester

    It's perfectly normal (and understandable!) if first-trimester fatigue and morning sickness have you feeling less than sexy. But if you are in the mood, first-trimester sex has its advantages: Most women are naturally well-lubed, have no big belly to work around, and may be extra-enthusiastic, thanks to the surge in pregnancy hormones that make your lady parts engorged and extra-sensitive.

    Sex positions to try: "Anything goes during the first trimester," Dr. Streicher says. So go ahead -- scissor, get acrobatic, play with sex toys, or explore the entire Kama Sutra! If you're tired, the missionary position is a beautiful thing -- just lie back and enjoy the ride. Spooning can also be a great lazy-day option.

    Sex positions to avoid: Good news -- there are no no-nos! And if you're worried that having sex during pregnancy will bring on a miscarriage, rest assured. "When you look at the data on miscarriage, or early pregnancy loss, there doesn't seem to be any connection," Dr. Streicher says. So talk to your doctor if you're concerned, but know that unless you have a specific medical condition, sex during the first trimester should be perfectly safe.

      Sexual Positions During the Second Trimester

      Welcome to the "honeymoon trimester" for pregnancy sex! You'll likely have passed the morning-sickness-and-fatigue stage, and may suddenly feel much more energized. Add in raging pregnancy hormones and, hello, you're ready to bring sexy back.

      Sex positions to try: Here's your chance to do fun poses that may get more challenging in the third trimester, thanks to your growing belly.

      • Sit and stare. With your man sitting in a chair, straddle him face-forward, so you can gaze into each other's eyes.
      • Hands and knees. This version of "doggy style" facilitates deep penetration, something you may not find comfortable in your third trimester.
      • Reverse spooning. Lie on your sides, facing one another. Enjoy this face-to-face pose while you still can!

      Sex positions to avoid: Once you're 20 weeks along, avoid positions that have you lying flat on your back, such as the missionary position. "When you lie on your back, the enlarged uterus puts pressure on your aorta, which compromises blood flow to the placenta," Dr. Streicher explains. (Hate to give up that one? Then try wedging a pillow under your left hip. "It displaces the baby off the aorta," Dr. Streicher says.)

        Sexual Positions During the Third Trimester

        Sex can still be great when you're in the homestretch, but your ballooning belly may force you to get creative in bed.

        Sex positions to try: Ultimately, the ideal pose places no pressure on your belly and lets you control the depth of penetration. Some sex positions you may find most comfortable at this stage include:

        • Spooning, or side entry, which involves no weight on your belly and shallower penetration
        • Woman on top, where you're in control
        • Rear entry -- whether you're kneeling over a bed, chair or sofa, sitting on your partner's lap (facing away from him) or standing up (perhaps resting your hands on a wall or the back of a sofa)
        • Seated on the edge of a bed or chair (or the kitchen counter -- whatever works!) with your partner facing you, kneeling or standing as needed to adjust to the right height

        Sex positions to avoid: Although no positions are technically unsafe (other than those that have you flat on your back), some women don't like the feeling of very deep penetration. And while a recent Parents.com poll of pregnant women revealed that back-door sex was suddenly very enticing, tread carefully. "There is a risk of infection, for starters," says Ari Brown, M.D., co-author of Expecting 411: The Insider's Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth, as bacteria can spread to your vagina. And, practically speaking, many pregnant women suffer from hemorrhoids. "The last thing you want is to flare those up with intercourse and make them bleed," Dr. Brown adds.

        Lastly, a note about oral sex: It's totally fine to give and receive during any trimester, but your partner should never blow or otherwise force air into your vagina, as in very rare cases it could cause a dangerous embolism (when a burst of air blocks a blood vessel).

          Pregnancy Sex Tips: Fun Sex in Your Third Trimester