Sex Toys, Vibrators & Pregnancy: Your Guide to Safety and Satisfaction
We all know that pregnancy causes some amazing physical changes. But it can also usher in a wide variety of new thoughts and feelings, too -- not the least of which are sexual. During pregnancy, a woman is likely to have a host of questions about sex: Will having sex hurt the baby? Is it all right to use my vibrator? How can I keep sex satisfying to me and my partner while my body is changing?
Doctors typically touch on the sexual aspects of pregnancy only briefly, unless you make a point to discuss them in more detail. That's why we've created this resource to help you know where to begin when thinking about sex, pregnancy and sex toys.
First Things First: Ask Your Doctor
After you get pregnant, talk with your obstetrician about sexual activity during your very first visit. Most importantly, ask whether or not your doctor feels that it is safe for you to engage in a regular sexual activity. If you're feeling gutsy, ask specifically about sex toy use. My hunch is that after being a bit surprised, she'll be happy you asked and provide you with the needed information.
That said, there has been no scientific research to date on the use of sex toys during pregnancy. As a result, your doctor may not be very knowledgeable in this area. However, if you're approved to continue regular sexual activity, there's no reason to believe that using sex toys would pose any harm to you or your baby, as sex toys mimic the same activities that we experience using our hands, tongues and other body parts.
The one exception to this theory is vibration. However, vibration in and of itself does not appear to be harmful to a pregnant woman's body or the unborn baby, given that the level of vibration emitted through toys is typically quite mild.
For most healthy pregnant women, orgasm is totally safe and can also be a great tension release. However, keep in mind that orgasm is not recommended for those women who are at risk for or have a history of premature labor, or who have early cervical changes or placenta previa (a condition in which the placenta is positioned over the opening of the cervix). Also, there is some evidence to suggest that orgasm during the last stages of pregnancy can bring on early labor. Be sure to discuss these issues directly with your health care provider.
Some women worry that the uterine contractions following orgasm may shake the unborn baby around or out of place. This is simply not true. The baby is strongly rooted into the uterus and an orgasm here and there is not powerful enough to shake it loose. Feel free to have as many orgasms as you like during pregnancy, unless, of course, your doctor has suggested otherwise. Typically, there will be no difference in the risk between having orgasms during penetrative sex play or from clitoral stimulation alone.
Sexual Satisfaction During Pregnancy
It's essential to get the concrete facts from your physician about which sexual activities are okay and which are not okay. If your doctor gives sexual activity the green light, you're free to experiment with new toys, sex positions and sexual patterns (as well as keeping some of the old stuff around, too). There are plenty of issues you'll want to think about to assure you and your partner enjoy a satisfying sexual life during the many exciting months that you are pregnant.
Talk to Your Partner
Once you've been cleared for sexual activity by your doctor, there's another person you'll want to talk with: your partner. You might be a little nervous at first. Sometimes, pregnant women or their partners believe that pregnancy is not a sexy time, assuming that maternal instincts will override sexual desire and needs. This idea is simply not true. On the contrary, pregnancy can be a wonderful time of bonding and closeness for you and your partner, and that closeness includes sexuality. So use this amazing time to bring the two of you closer together.
Before you talk, take some time to do your own soul-searching. Think about how you feel about yourself as a sexual being while you're pregnant. You might even want to make a list of sexual activities that you feel comfortable with during your pregnancy -- as well as a list of those you may not want to partake in. Once you know how you feel, you can begin to share your thoughts with your partner. Know that it's okay to only want certain types of sexual activity during your pregnancy. The important thing will be sharing your wants and needs in a clear and loving way, and caring about your partner's desires, as well.
If your partner wasn't with you at your OB/GYN appointment, you can start the conversation by sharing what you and your doctor discussed. This can open the lines of communication and clear the way for both of you to talk about your sexual and emotional needs over these next months. And remember, great communication often leads to fantastic sexual experiences!
Understand Your Physical Changes
Hormone levels increase by leaps and bounds soon after a woman conceives. These changes will influence your body long before you begin to show. These physical changes may include vaginal dryness or vaginal tightening. Both of these conditions can make vaginal intercourse uncomfortable at times. However, this discomfort can be greatly diminished by using lubricants during all types of sex play, including masturbation and partner sex.
Be Ready For Emotional Changes
Thanks to those same hormones, your emotions can also run high during pregnancy. Feelings can range from a rapid increase or decrease in sexual desire to being sad or anxious about the pregnancy or life in general. Be patient with yourself, and go with the flow during these ups and downs. As for your partner, he or she may well learn how to read you during these emotional times, but never assume the other person knows how you feel. By keeping the lines of communication open, you will make your sexual relationship -- and life in general -- go a whole lot smoother.
If you are a woman who has experienced a pregnancy loss in the past, you may be more apprehensive about engaging in sexual activities, fearing that it will put you at a higher risk for loss once again. Unless your physician has told you not to engage in certain or all sexual activities, try not to worry too much. If for any reason you feel uncomfortable with vaginal penetrative sex, try some other kind of sexual play, like using toys that concentrate only on clitoral or anal stimulation.
Good Sexual Positions for Pregnancy
If you're undergoing a normal, healthy pregnancy, there are no restrictions on the sexual positions you can use. As the pregnancy progresses and your body starts to change, some positions are likely to be more comfortable than others.
Rather than the typical missionary position, rear-entry with the woman standing, kneeling or lying on her side may be more comfortable. Or, try bending over the bed (supported as needed by pillows) with your partner standing and entering from behind. Sitting positions may also be a good option. Have your partner sit on a chair or on the edge of the bed and then straddle your legs around your partner's body.
You may be happy to know that the popular woman-on-top position is another good option during pregnancy. Try lowering yourself onto your partner, either facing forward or toward your partner's feet. This position puts you in the driver's seat, allowing you to have control over the levels of thrusting and penetration.
Using Sex Toys During Pregnancy: Our Recommendations
Below are our suggestions for sex toys that will add variety and pleasure to your sex life at every stage of your pregnancy. If you have any questions about whether a particular type of toy or activity is right for you, consult your doctor.
Your First and Second Trimester
If your doctor has cleared you for penetrative sex and orgasm, anything goes during your first two trimesters! That said, there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind.
1. Keep Toys Clean! You should always keep your sex toys clean and well maintained, but it's especially important during pregnancy. We suggest using a condom on any sex toy that penetrates you, as well as changing the condom when changing orifices or sharing the toy with a partner. We also recommend thoroughly cleaning your toys with an adult toy cleaner like these Adult Toy Cleansers. You may also want to consider adding some pure silicone sex toys to your collection, like this silicone dildo that can be boiled between uses to keep it bacteria-free.
2. Practice More Delicate Nipple Play. Your nipples can become extra sensitive during pregnancy, so you may want to steer clear of intense nipple toys like clamps. Instead, we recommend using a vibrating bullet for less intense nipple stimulation, with the added bonus that it can be used for all-over body play.
3. Stay Lubricated. As mentioned above, add plenty of lube to all aspects of your vaginal play to alleviate any dryness or tightness you might experience. If you've been sensitive to certain lubricants in the past, try a simple, water-based formula like Sliquid.
Your Third Trimester
As long as your doctor has no concerns about orgasm inducing early labor, sex and sex toys are still a go! However, by your third trimester, you may choose to have only non-penetrative sex due to a medical recommendation or your personal choice. If this is true for you, there are still exciting sexual experiences you and your partner can share.
1. Enjoy Mutual Masturbation. Adding toys to mutual masturbation can take your love play to the next level. Try using a pocket rocket or other clitoral stimulator for yourself, and a well-lubricated masturbation sleeve for your man's pleasure.
2. Consider Anal Toys. Pregnancy may become a time when both of you are interested in adding more variety to your sexual repertoire. Anal play can be a great way to experience pleasure and new sensations without having to rely on traditional vaginal intercourse. Our Beginner's Anal Pleasure Kit is a great collection of toys to get you started.
Sex After You Deliver
Your doctor will likely be very clear about this matter, but if not, make sure you ask exactly when it will be safe for you to have vaginal intercourse after you deliver. The typical recommendation is that couples abstain from penile-vaginal intercourse or other penetrative activities for six weeks following your delivery date. Follow your doctor's instructions to the letter so that you can stay healthy and have great sex when you're fully healed.
Once your doctor has given the okay, the rest is up to you and your partner. Remember to go easy on yourself if you need to start out slowly before fully resuming your sexual routine. Your body and life has just gone through some big changes and you should move ahead only as you feel comfortable.
Above All, Enjoy Yourself and Your Partner
Remember, the experience of pregnancy can differ broadly by individual, so be patient with yourself and stay in touch with your feelings. Use this time to be good to yourself and perhaps discover a sexual side of you and your partner that may have been hiding. Have fun, try something new, and enjoy your pregnancy. After all, you have a lot more time to enjoy each other now before your new bundle of joy arrives!