When you’re 37 weeks pregnant, it can be difficult to feel sexy. But if your pregnancy is healthy and you’ve gotten the go-ahead from your health care professional, sex can be fun and enjoyable.
Just avoid the old-fashioned missionary position (man on top, woman on bottom), which can compress blood flow to momma and baby. Instead, try these five sexy positions:
1. Lie on your side
At this point in pregnancy, it’s a good idea to avoid lying flat on your back (also known as the missionary position) for too long. This position can cause you to become dizzy and reduces blood flow to the baby. You may also find this position uncomfortable if your partner is on top or penetrates you too deeply.
Lying on your side with a pillow between your knees or getting on all fours and having your partner kneel behind you are both comfortable options that keep the weight off of your back. They also allow you to control the level of penetration and make it more comfortable for your partner. You may want to use lubricant during these sessions.
Many women at this stage of pregnancy experience reduced libido, which is perfectly normal. It’s important to remember that sexual intimacy can be achieved in other ways, including cuddling, kissing, and massage. This can be as satisfying for both partners as sex and can also strengthen your bond.
Most experts agree that sex is safe at 37 weeks as long as your water has not broken and you haven’t lost your mucus plug. Some couples also find that sex helps bring on early labor by stimulating the release of oxytocin, which can help your cervix dilate. Orgasm also increases the amount of endorphins that reach your uterus, which can help to relieve contractions and pain.
2. Lie on your back
Pregnancy can bring waves of physical and emotional changes, including in the bedroom. But sex at 37 weeks pregnant is safe for most couples, as long as your doctor or nurse-midwife has given you the all-clear. There are a few important things to keep in mind, however.
For one, if you are at risk for preterm labor (contractions before 39 weeks) or have a condition called placenta previa, lying on your back isn’t advised because it can put too much pressure on the cervix. Also, if you’ve already had a miscarriage or an early birth, you should avoid this position as well.
Other than this, sex is generally safe as long as your water hasn’t broken or you’ve lost your mucus plug, and the cervix isn’t opening too early. Many women report that sex at the end of their pregnancy — orgasm, in particular — can help bring on labor because it encourages the release of oxytocin, a hormone that causes contractions. And semen contains high concentrations of the prostaglandins that help the cervix dilate.
You might find that your desire for sex decreases during the third trimester as your belly grows and certain positions become uncomfortable. It’s normal to have this kind of change in your sexual relationship, and good communication with your partner is essential. You can experiment with different positions to see what feels comfortable and is most satisfying.
3. Lie on your side with your partner
Getting intimate as you near the end of your pregnancy can help you and your partner stay closer as a couple. It can also give you a boost in libido and lead to orgasms.
While it’s safe to have sex during pregnancy, you should avoid positions that put too much pressure on your stomach and uterus at this late stage. For example, the classic missionary position may not be the best choice because it can cause your bump to push up against major blood vessels, which can increase your risk of preterm labor.
On the other hand, rear-entry positions can be good for this late stage. With this position, you can be on your hands and knees or on your bed. “Being on top in this position can be more comfortable, especially for women who are feeling sore,” says O’Reilly. It also allows you to control the depth of penetration and the speed of progression, which can enhance orgasms. And it provides pressure against the G-spot, which can create a different orgasmic response.
You and your partner should experiment with sexual positions to find what’s comfortable and satisfying for you both. It’s important to communicate with your partner and keep an eye out for warning signs of a miscarriage, such as vaginal bleeding, or the onset of contractions.
4. Lie on your back with your partner
At this point in your pregnancy, it’s okay to have sex in most positions, but some that may have worked fine before pregnancy might not be comfortable or safe now. For example, lying flat on your back can put pressure on the large blood vessels (abdominal part of the aorta and vena cava inferior) behind your uterus. This can cause a type of lightheadedness known as syncope.
Spooning can be a good alternative, O’Reilly says. Have your partner curl up next to your back and enter you from the side. This position keeps the pressure off your cervix and allows you to move around to find the angle that feels best.
It’s also a good idea to switch positions frequently as you have sex during the third trimester. This can help you get more satisfaction out of intercourse and avoid uncomfortable changes in vaginal lubrication, swelling, cramping and other normal symptoms that may occur as your pregnancy progresses.
Your libido may change during the second trimester, and it’s fine to stop having sex if you don’t feel like it. If you do want to keep having sex, good communication is essential so that both partners can adjust as necessary. For instance, you might find that you have more energy for non-penetrative sex such as massage, cuddling and kissing.