How to Use Sex Toys During Pregnancy Safely

Want to keep using sex toys during pregnancy? Good news: There are plenty of safe ways your naughty novelties can enhance pregnancy sex.

Couple in bed
Photo: Erica McConnell

News flash: Bullets, eggs, rabbits, rings, and other playful bedroom things may cause mind-blowing sexual pleasure. This is especially true during pregnancy, when your privates are engorged, lubricated, and potentially ultra-sensitive, thanks to a surge in the hormones estrogen and progesterone. So, your sensations (and orgasms) are likely to be extra, extra fabulous.

Plus, enjoying sexual pleasure during pregnancy helps to keep you connected to your body—and your partner, if you have one—in a way that's not all about the baby. And unless your doctor has instructed otherwise, there's no reason to abstain from your erotic toy chest during pregnancy. Learn more about how to safely use sex toys during pregnancy.

Are Sex Toys Safe During Pregnancy?

For most people, it's perfectly safe to use sex toys (and engage in your preferred sexual activities) while pregnant. "Anything you've used before, chances are that you can still use it," says sex educator Lou Paget, author of Hot Mamas: The Ultimate Guide To Staying Sexy Throughout Your Pregnancy And The Months Beyond.

The trick is to modify its use, as needed. "As with non-pregnancy toys, listen to your body," Paget says. "While pregnant, you're likely to feel sensation more intensely, so you might need to try a different toy or a smaller toy, or to use it in a new and different way."

The main reason using sex toys or other sexual play might not be recommended is if you have a high-risk pregnancy, particularly if you're at risk of preterm labor. However, this is not usually the case. If your doctor does ask you to avoid certain sexual activities, be sure to clarify the reason and what exact limitations they suggest. It's possible that some activities will be off-limits (such as those involving vaginal penetration), but that others will still have the green light.

Tips for Using Sex Toys During Pregnancy

Sex toys come in many shapes and sizes for your various erogenous zones. Some vibrate, and some don't. Some stimulate you inside; some stimulate you outside. (And some do both!) None of them are strictly off-limits during pregnancy, but there are a handful of guidelines that will keep sex safe, comfortable, and fun while pregnant.

As a general rule, never do anything that doesn't feel good or makes you uncomfortable, and always reach out to your medical provider if you have any questions, experience bleeding, or have other issues of concern, including pain or unusual soreness.

Here's what you need to know before you're ready to play.

Keep it clean

Hygiene cannot be underemphasized here, especially when it comes to sex toys that are used internally. Always clean your toys with hot, soapy water and dry them completely, both before and after each use. Store them in a clean place (don't toss them into a night table drawer that also houses your pedicure tools, for example).

Don't mix and match

During pregnancy especially, don't use toys in or around your vagina that also make a rear entry. Introducing fecal bacteria into the vagina can set you up for a vaginal infection. If you're engaging in anal play, proceed with great caution, as many pregnant people develop hemorrhoids that can bleed when pressure is applied—with a toy or anything else.

Read labels

Many erotic lotions and lubes contain scents, flavors, colors, and other ingredients that can irritate sensitive tissue or cause infections, which can be especially dangerous during pregnancy. "If you wouldn't put it in your eye, don't put it down there, either," Paget advises. (That's good advice even when you're not preggers!)

Watch out for products with ingredients like menthe (mint) for "cooling," capsaicin (hot pepper) for "warming," and anything made with sugar, which could cause a yeast infection. Look for any fine print that says "Not to be used during pregnancy" or "For external use only." Leave those products on the shelf.

Check materials

Some plastic toys can contain phthalates, compounds that have the potential to disrupt hormones in the body (which is why they're no longer allowed in baby bottles, pacifiers, and other infant products). If you're shopping for a new plastic toy, make sure it says "phthalate-free."

Be gentle

Depending on what kind of sex play you're into, it also may be wise to take things a bit slower or gentler than normal, especially at first. Try things out on the softer side to see how you feel—then go from there. Keep in mind, for example, that a dildo is harder and more rigid than an erect penis, and your cervix is more fragile during pregnancy, so start slow and avoid going too deep or pushing too hard. "Your choice and your comfort are the guides when it comes to thrusting," Paget says.

Go easy elsewhere on your body, too. Now may not be the best time to try nipple clamps, for example, as your breasts can be incredibly sensitive. And be careful with bondage, as your joints are looser than usual in preparation for childbirth, and you could accidentally overstretch and get injured.

Get creative

If your doctor has said no intercourse, you might discover that you enjoy stimulating other erogenous zones, and there are toys for those, too. If you've been advised to avoid sex completely, consider putting old toys to new use. "The large Hitachi wand that was a favorite before for genital stimulation may make the grade now for lower back and leg massages," Paget says.

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