Even if you're not sure whether or not you ever want to have kids, you've probably thought about the changes the human body goes through when pregnant. From breast sensitivity to all the hormones, there are plenty of resources to learn more about these changes. But when it comes to having sex during pregnancy, it's hard to find the info you need.
“The hormonal context of pregnancy increases both libido and pleasure and can lead to stronger, longer and more frequent orgasms for women," Leah Keller, certified personal trainer and founder of Every Mother, an evidence-based pre and postnatal fitness exercise program, tells Bustle. "For both pregnant women and their partners, the mental shift is very significant. For some, the stress of trying to conceive has now ended and they can enjoy sex in a way that had been elusive due to the pressure and hope for a certain outcome. For others, anxiety about this new chapter of life and/or concern about hurting the baby can make it difficult to relax."
Okay, so that's the psychological part. But what about the physical? Does the bump get in the way? Could you hurt the baby? Keller says it can be tricky — but figuring out sex while you're pregnant is worth it.
“Bio-mechanical changes can make it difficult to find a comfortable and ergonomic position — but this can also present a fun challenge that introduces variety and innovation to an otherwise routine sex life," Keller says. "We all tend to fall into comfortable habits with our partners, which is normal and healthy. But it’s also wonderful to mix it up a bit to keep things fresh and exciting.”
Ready to approach pregnancy sex as a fun and interesting change? Here are Keller's tips for each trimester, including positions you should try as your belly gets bigger.
“First trimester, energy is low and both fatigue and nausea are common," Keller says. "This is also a time when expectant parents feel greater anxiety about the viability of the pregnancy. While breasts have increased in size, they have also increased in tenderness. Some women feel self-conscious about shifts in body shape or early weight gain that hasn’t yet manifested as a clear pregnancy bump. First trimester is probably the most challenging (and least sexy) trimester. That said, this varies a lot from person to person.”
Position to try: Spoon
Spooning isn't just for cuddling! Let your achey body take a little break by utilizing this position in the first trimester.
“Lie on your side, curled up with knees bent," Keller says. "Your partner lies facing your back and enters you from behind. Steamy and cuddly all at the same time!”
“Second trimester is almost universally the most comfortable and invigorated trimester," Keller says. "Parents can relax and trust that the pregnancy is here to stay, announcing the happy news to friends and family. Nausea and fatigue decrease, and the body begins to take on a classic pregnancy look. The body is still quite comfortable and the belly manageable. Most women enjoy the best pregnancy sex during second trimester.”
Position to try: Cowgirl
Keller says that the second trimester is often the sexiest, so why not celebrate by getting right on top?
“You on top, riding your partner," Keller says. "This position gives you the most control over depth of penetration and intensity of stimulation. You can face either way. Partner may be lying in bed or seated upright in a sturdy chair. Play around with it! It’s also a bit of a workout.”
“Third trimester starts strong, riding the same wave of heightened energy, sex drive and pleasure that made sex during second trimester so enjoyable," Keller says. "As the due date nears, energy tends to wane a bit, and the biomechanical challenges grow bigger. Many women enjoy truly phenomenal sex all the way through pregnancy, with a slight tapering in the final weeks.”
Position to try: Froggy style
You're familiar with doggy style, but during your third trimester it's time to get familiar with froggy style!
“This is essentially doggy style, with you on all fours… but on the forearms instead of the hands," Keller says. "This avoids placing pressure on your wrists and allows you to rest more fully. You can even place a pillow under your belly for added support. If you are in your third trimester (and baby is low), try widening your stance. This will help with penetration.”
And there you have it: What to expect — from sex — when you're expecting. Are you ready to give it all a shot?