Pregnancy changes a lot about your body. You may find that a growing belly and unfamiliar symptoms mean you have to adjust the way you sleep, the way you sit, and yes, the way you have sex. If you’re someone that enjoys backdoor play, you may wonder if you can still engage in anal sex while pregnant.

According to Leah Torres, an OB-GYN that specializes in reproductive health, “there’s no reason why anal sex wouldn’t be safe,” if you’re having a normally progressing pregnancy (That being said, you should always talk to your doctor.) She adds that there’s no risk to the fetus during intercourse in general, and cites many health benefits to having sex with a partner, including that it promotes bonding between people, relaxes the person carrying the baby, and decreases stress levels.

One thing to look out for during pregnancy that would make anal sex unsafe is the presence of hemorrhoids, a lovely side effect of pregnancy that some people experience. If you have hemorrhoids, you should avoid anal sex. Another thing that would make anal intercourse a no-go would be a diagnosis of placenta previa, which, while uncommon, makes sex unsafe for the pregnant person and the fetus.

If you do want to have anal sex, the same rules apply as when you’re not carrying a baby.

1. Use Lube


Unlike the vagina, the anus doesn’t self-lubricate. That means that you have to add your own lube if you’re going to be inserting anything anally. There’s no such thing as too much lube during anal sex (or any sex, really). According to Good Vibes, silicone-based lubricants make a great choice for anal play because they’re super slick and don’t dry up.

2. Go Slow


It can take time for the anus to adjust to being penetrated. Go as slowly as you need to to ensure comfort and prevent tearing.

3. Stop If It Hurts


Although it’s normal to feel small amounts of discomfort during anal sex as your body adjusts to having something inserted there, pain is not normal. If you’re experiencing pain during anal sex, stop immediately. You can always try again. Whatever you do, do not use numbing agents to make anal sex less painful. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong, and you won’t know if something is tearing if you can’t feel it.

4. Consider Using Condoms


Healthline reports that tearing of the anal lining is common during anal sex, and this makes transmission of STIs easier. If you’re not in a monogamous relationship (or one partner has an STI), always wrap it up.

5. Never Go Straight From Anus To Vagina


Always make sure you clean anything that’s been inserted in the anus before putting it in the vagina, and change condoms if you’re using one. There’s bacteria in the anus that can be harmful if introduced to the vagina, for both parent and baby. The bacteria can put the pregnant person at risk for bacterial vaginitis, which can cause preterm labor in some cases.

If anal sex is something that you enjoy, you don’t have to stop doing it just because you’re pregnant. Listen to your body and go for it.