Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions

anonymous on September 1, 2011

How can I have sex with a pregnant belly?

Now that my belly is getting bigger, my partner and I are having a hard time figuring how to have sex comfortably during pregnancy. Do you have any ideas?

answered by Annette Fuglsang Owens, MD, PhD on September 1, 2011

You asked a great question that’s common among couples who are expecting a baby.Indeed, there are a few different positions that tend to work better as your belly grows.

You can try having intercourse where you’re on top and your partneris lying down or sitting in a chair. This position takes pressure off the belly, and gives you a little more control over how fast, slow or deep you go, as well as the angle of penetration.

Spooning is another option, where you both lie on your side with your partner behind you. This also takes pressure off the belly and may be more comfortable for you. Also,because penetration usually isn’t as deep in this position, it may actually be less stressful for your partner since he may worry less about making you uncomfortable.

You might try using a pillow under your pregnant belly to see whether that helps make you more comfortable in this position.

A third option is for the man to enter from behind while you support yourself on your hands and knees.This tends to be an option during the first and second trimester, but might not be comfortable in the third trimester.

Oral sex and other types of intimacy are also alternatives if intercourse becomes uncomfortable.

In other words, different things work for different couples. So it’s a good idea to experiment until you find what’s most comfortable and satisfying for you and your partner as your belly continues to grow…and to keep the lines of communication open between you as your body continues to change during pregnancy.

One more thing I’d like to mention for your consideration…

During the last trimester, it’s important to protect yourself from getting a newherpes infection through oral or vaginal sex. Why? Because any new infection can be very dangerous during this critical period, potentially causing harm to you and/or your baby during delivery or soon thereafter. So if it turns out that you do have an active herpes infection before labor, you’ll need to have aC-section.

Of course, if you’re in a monogamous relationship where both of you know each other’s health history, it’s unlikely that you’ll catch a new infection at this point. But if your partner gets cold sores on the mouth area, or a new infection in the genital area, it’s best to avoid contact so that you and your baby stay healthy.

You can learn more about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy inthis fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thanks again for your question, and I wish you and your partner a healthy, mutually satisfying sex life as you anticipate the birth of your baby.

Annette Fuglsang Owens, MD, PhD

Dr. Owens is an AASECT-certified sexuality counselor. Her areas of expertise include the medical aspects of human sexuality and sexual problems, as well as the impact of STDs ⎼ and other diseases, illnesses and disabilities ⎼ on sexuality. Dr. Owens was educated at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

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