Some women find they have an increased sex drive during pregnancy, some feel numb. Some partners love the new curves, some are weirded out by the pregnancy or worried sex will hurt the baby. Also, how’s the relationship? Are you swooning in newly entangled bliss? Or have you been together forever, made a couple babies already, and find that sex is not quite that urgent and immersive but rather a kind of familiar, generally nice but infrequent interlude in a life otherwise ruled by managing schedules, lunch boxes and the dishes?
Is your pregnancy easy? Are you vomiting? What trimester is it? There are so many factors going into the way pregnant sex pans out, I don’t want to generalize.
But I will say that all expecting couples have some kind of anxiety about sex during pregnancy. Pregnancy is a physical and emotional upheaval, there’s no way it won’t affect your sex life. Here are 6 of the most common concerns about sex during pregnancy:
The baby will get poked. 1 of 6This is a very common concern when it comes to intercourse during pregnancy. I want to reassure you that the baby is well enclosed in beneath layers of strong muscle, tissue, membrane and fluid and will not be moved-- literally or otherwise-- by intercourse. Occasionally, there's an issue with the placenta or cervix-- the muscular opening of the uterus, which is firm and closed during pregnancy-- and mom is told to refrain from intercourse and possibly advised to rest throughout pregnancy. If you are not otherwise instructed, consider yourself good to go.
Photo Credit: Ha! Designs/Flickr
My body is not sexy. 2 of 6When you have a new, changing body you can feel like a total dork- I'm puffing up here, swelling there, and I don't feel comfortable in my body! For some the curves are welcome. But those curves don't show up right away and for months women can be stuck in a transitional state of bloat and blah. Sometimes it's good not to dwell too much, and just wait-out the schlumpier times. But it's also a good idea to think of ways you can learn to love your (changing) body-- or at least accept it! You can do yoga, swim, have your partner massage you, read books about how cool your pregnant body is, cover yourself in special oils and lotions, wear sexy silky clothes and just generally treat your body like the temple that it is. Of course sometimes the pressure to feel positive about your body ALL THE TIME can backfire. The glowing goddess trip may not be the one you're on, but whatever you can do to push your self-image away from the â€˜hate' side of the spectrum might have a positive impact on your sex life.
Photo Credit: Lady Hawke/Flickr
Sex will start labor. 3 of 6Sex can trigger labor. But- and this is a big but- sex, or more specifically orgasm and/or exposure to semen-- will not trigger labor until your body is ready to go into labor. Here's how it works: female orgasm releases oxytocin which is the same hormone that causes contractions (cool, right?) and semen has prostaglandins, another hormone that triggers labor and softens the cervix. The thing is, the prostaglandins and oxytocin only trigger labor when the receptors for these hormones have been set up on and around the uterus. Before the receptors are 'turned on' you can flood mom with oxytocin and her uterus will be relatively oblivious. When the receptors have been turned on-- at the end of pregnancy, around her due date-- triggering those hormones via sex might just help get labor going. Make sense? Sometimes doctors tell moms to avoid intercourse because the physical thrusting might be problematic for a particularly vulnerable cervix but if you haven't been advised otherwise, sex during pregnancy will not trigger anything except, hopefully, pleasure. (And then if you're near or past 40 weeks and want to start labor... sex could help you get there.
Photo Credit: Pregnant 1232/Flickr
I won’t enjoy it. 4 of 6This can be frightening. You're young, you're gorgeous, you're supposed to want to have sex, right? But sometimes pregnancy just shuts down a woman's sex drive. Or it ramps up your sense of smell and suddenly you find the love of your life kind of ... gross. You will definitely hear of super orgasmic pregnant women if you go googling "pregnant sex," but it's not always the case. And those orgasms may be happening in dreams, many women have orgasmic dreams during pregnancy. Plenty of pregnant women would love to be romping around, getting into creative positions but it's just not happening on a chemical level, no matter how many sexy maternity bras they buy. If this is the case, please, please give yourself time. Be open with your partner and talk about your lack of desire and how you feel about it. Use your sense of humor. Long term relationships have to be able to withstand an ebb and flow of desire. And when your sex drive is back-- it'll come back--get busy sooner than later. Sometime the only way to get over a dry spell is to just do it. A phase doesn't have to turn into a new way of life.
Photo Credit: Rachel Lusky/Flickr
We are not on the same page. 5 of 6There are going to be times in every relationship where both people aren't perfectly synchronized about sex. That's a fact of life. But it's doesn't have to be ruinous. Author and sex health educator, Debby Herbenick, PhD, MPH recently wrote in Salon : "Very few couples line up exactly in terms of how often they want to have sex, the positions they want to twist their bodies into, how long they want to spend from kissing to falling asleep, and the types of sex they want to engage in. What matters is how couples fill in those gaps — how they make changes for each other, how they feel about and approach the ways they're willing to bend, and how they stay connected through affection."
Photo Credit: Rapheal Gotteir/Flickr
It might hurt. 6 of 6Usually pregnant women don't find sex painful, per se, but since pregnancy-- especially early and late pregnancy-- is rife with "discomforts" it's not surprising that some positions are no fun. So be creative: What can you lean on? Grab another pillow. Get some lube. Bring in some toys. This is an opportunity to grow and adapt as a couple. Maybe you'll discover some new awesome way to do it (for now).
Photo Credit: Alex Bramwell/Flickr
- Watch Barbie Give Birth, It’s So Real
- Watch People Age from 1-100 in 150 Seconds
- Study Shows Breastfeeding Has Anti-Aging Effect on Breast Appearance
- When Should You Stop Bathing With Your Kids?