Now that you're pregnant, there's no doubt that your sex life will change. But just because you have a burgeoning belly doesn't mean that you have to spend the next nine months living like a nun.
Sex during pregnancy can be both safe and enjoyable. Your baby is perfectly protected in your uterus, and most couples can safely continue having sex right up until the baby is born. That said, there are a few situations in which your doctor will probably advise you against intercourse. These include:
- Preterm labor
- More than one miscarriage
- Placenta previa (a condition in which the placenta blocks the opening of the uterus)
- Breaking of the amniotic sac or leaking amniotic fluid
Your Sex Drive
It's not uncommon for women to notice a change in their sex drive once they become pregnant. Whether your sex drive dips or surges during pregnancy varies by woman, as well as by the stage of pregnancy you are in. Some women find that their newly voluptuous bodies and the relief of not having to worry about birth control put them more in the mood for sex. For others, nausea and fatigue -- especially during the first trimester -- make sex less appealing. And during the third trimester, some women feel so uncomfortable with their bigger bellies and other pregnancy woes that they don't desire sex.
Good news: There's a good chance you'll find sex even more pleasurable than you did before pregnancy. Increased blood flow to your pelvis during this time can mean greater sensitivity and enjoyment. You may even experience multiple orgasms -- many women experience them for the first time during pregnancy. Hormonal changes can make your breasts more sensitive to his loving touch. One caveat: For some women this increase in sensitivity is too much and actually becomes painful. But don't worry, it's just temporary.
Your Partner's View
Don't be surprised if your partner's sex drive is affected as well. For some men, a pregnancy makes them feel even closer to their partner, while your "new" body may excite him. For other men, worry about their partner's and baby's comfort and safety (and even anxiety about assuming the role of dad) may decrease his desire.
As your belly grows, you will probably find that some positions work better for you than others. Missionary, for example, may be downright impossible! Now is a great time to experiment. You may find that what works best is a woman-on-top position, or a side-lying position, where you each lie on your side either facing each other or with him lying behind you. Try different positions until you find one that's comfortable for you.
Alternatives to Sex
If you aren't in the mood or are unable to have intercourse, you can find other ways to show affection and maintain your connection with your partner. Cuddle, kiss, trade massages -- whatever appeals to each of you. And whether your find your sex life improves or peters out during pregnancy, it's important to keep the lines of communication open. Talk to your man about your feelings, your concerns, and most of all, your excitement during this special time.
Originally published in American Baby magazine.
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