Pregnancy and sex
Pregnancy can have many different effects on your relationship with your partner. As hormones shift within your body in preparation for your new role as a mum, emotions often run hot, with tiredness, concerns about finances, worries about your career and fear of labour all adding to the potentially volatile mix.
Sex is another aspect of your life that is often affected by pregnancy. For some women, hormones during pregnancy heighten their libido, with a greater desire for sex adding a different dimension to your relationship. Sexual fulfillment can also be greater due to increased blood flow to the pelvic area causing engorgement of the genitals and heightened sensation that may lead to more intense orgasms.
Other women lose their libido completely - often adding pressure to a relationship already under stress. This may shift during different stages of the pregnancy - often waning again in the third trimester as your increased size may make you too uncomfortable or self-conscious.
Sex during pregnancy:
As your body changes, it's natural to have concerns about sex at this time in your life. Here are some of the common questions pregnant women ask:
Can I have sex while pregnant?
Yes! If your pregnancy is normal, there is nothing to stop you enjoying your regular sex life until the very moment that your waters break. If you do have any pregnancy-related complications, or bleeding, be sure to speak to your doctor.
Will the baby feel it?
Your baby definitely won’t be hurt by you having sex. The thick plug of mucous sealing the cervix helps keep infection at bay and the amniotic sac and the muscles of your uterus also protect the baby as it grows inside you. You may notice some increased movement from your baby after your orgasm but this is only because of your increased heart rate at this time and not because the baby is aware of what is happening or because it has felt any pain.
Will my partner's sex drive change?
For some men, the changes pregnancy has made to their partner are intriguing and very sexy. Others struggle with the change in their partner’s body shape. Coupled with with other concerns about becoming a father such as the health and safety of you and the baby during sex, and even his feelings of self-consciousness about having sex in the presence of this developing baby, could cause him to lose interest in sex until after the birth of the baby.
Finding a position that works for you and your partner at the different stages of your pregnancy can help make sex more enjoyable. Here are some suggestions:
- On your side with your partner over you. In this position, most of your partner's weight is off your uterus.
- Side by side (spooning). This allows for only shallow penetration but can be good in the latter stages of your pregnancy when deep penetration may be uncomfortable.
- On top of your partner. In this position there is no weight on your abdomen and it also allows you to control the depth of penetration.
- Starting from a sitting position. This way puts no weight on the uterus and also allows you to control the depth of penetration. Try sitting on your partner's lap as he sits on a chair (but make sure it's strong enough to hold you!)
- The effects of pregnancy hormones on your body
- Pregnancy and your relationship
- Writing a birth plan
- Haircare and pregnancy
This article was written by Claire Halliday for Kidspot. The Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne and the South Australian Department of Health.