Mamazine Moment, Pregnancy, The Journey

Pregnancy Sex 101: How to Enjoy Intimacy During Each Trimester

Amanda Kohr, Sex With Emily | September 28, 2021

Even in 2021, the topic of pregnancy sex is rather taboo, although we’ve suddenly forgotten how the pregnancy happened in the first place. The time-worn cliche of having to “say goodbye to your sex life” once you’re expecting a child is not the reality for many. As long as you’re safe and communicative, sex during pregnancy can be lots of fun – and yield lots of benefits: stress reduction, pain relief, and lower blood pressure, to name a few.

That being said, while the baby develops from trimester to trimester, parents change during pregnancy, too. Here’s what you should know before navigating intimacy throughout pregnancy:

During the First Trimester

We won’t sugarcoat it: the baby-carrying individual will probably feel exhausted.

  • That’s because their body is not only growing a new person but an entirely new organ (the placenta)—which requires lots of energy. They may also experience morning sickness, breast tenderness, and an aversion to foods they previously loved. But mostly, they’ll feel unbelievably tired.
  • Here’s something cool though: blood is starting to flow like crazy to a pregnant person’s nether regions. The result? Many pregnant people report intense sex dreams, and you’ll probably love masturbating right now. (See: blood rush.) Supporting partners: the first trimester is also a fantastic time for giving oral sex.
  • Now is also a great time for orgasm-inducing missionary and any other sex positions that allow the pregnant individual to conserve energy.

During the Second Trimester

Some energy returns!

  • Body changes are more noticeable now (aka the “bump”), but the pregnant person should feel relatively comfortable. Many pregnant individuals feel their best during this trimester, especially since you’ve got some sex things working in your favor.
  • A white vaginal discharge called leukorrhea will appear, and this increases vaginal lubrication. The clitoris and vagina become more engorged, enhancing the effect of orgasms.
  • You might start noticing backaches and heartburn, as the baby grows bigger and bigger. Sex standing up can be especially hot here, as can back massage and temperature play. Sucking on ice is both soothing for heartburn and lovely for oral.

During the Third Trimester 

Things are starting to get crowded.

  • This is a time many parents worry that vigorous sex could induce pre-term labor. Not to worry: having sex won’t induce delivery until your body is ready.
  • Because the bump is turning into a full-blown baby, this is a time many pregnant individuals start sleeping on their side and having sex on their side.
  • Spooning is a perfect option in the third trimester, and if you’re up for it, reverse cowgirl. Both positions allow freedom for the belly, while still allowing for optimal penetration.

For all trimesters, the bottom line is that most sexual positions can still work—but if it doesn’t feel right, stop and try something else. Also, a few safety tips: don’t have sex if your water has broken (chances are sex will be the last thing on your mind, but doing so could send bacteria to the vaginal canal), take precautions with anal (as in, wash thoroughly after anal and before transitioning to vaginal intercourse), and don’t have a partner blow into your vagina during oral. Something called an “air embolism” can occur, which can restrict blood flow to the baby carrier and baby.

If you have concerns or questions specific to your particular health needs or restrictions, make sure to talk to your doctor to make sure you’re engaging in intimacy in ways that are safe for you and your baby.

This article was adapted from a piece originally featured on Sex With Emily.

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