Your sex life will likely ebb and flow during early pregnancy, and that first trimester is sure to be the most confusing when it comes to getting it on. Here's everything you need to know, plus an idea of what's to come down the road.

By Margo Hill and Dr. Laura Riley
Jes2u.photo/shutterstock.com

Though it may seem like pregnancy has thrown your entire life into upheaval, one thing that doesn't have to change right now is your sex life. Unless your doctor has told you to refrain from intercourse, having sex won't harm the baby. Some couples even report that lovemaking is more enjoyable during pregnancy because there's no need to take birth control pills or fiddle with diaphragms or condoms.

Throughout your pregnancy, you may have more or less interest in sex than usual. Likewise, your partner's libido may change during your pregnancy. The thing to remember? All are normal. Just be open with each other about changes in your sexual desire, and read on so you know what to expect when it comes to pregnancy sex:

Sex in Your First Trimester

Many, though not all, pregnant women find their sex drive diminishes during the first trimester. You may be too exhausted and nauseated to think about sex, and sore breasts may also limit your desire to be touched. If you're not feeling in the mood, you're in good company: One study shows that 54 percent of pregnant women experience diminished desire during the first trimester.

Don't worry. Your interest is likely to pick up again in just a few weeks.

Sex in Your Second Trimester

For many women, this is the golden time of pregnancy, particularly when it comes to sex. The fatigue and nausea have lifted, and you may be feeling sexy again as you begin to "show." Physically, your clitoris and vagina are more engorged from the increased blood volume, which may increase pleasure. (Many women become orgasmic or even multi-orgasmic for the first time during the second trimester.)

Be aware that dads may feel inhibited as they come to terms with the fact that you are carrying a real, live baby. They may be concerned about hurting the baby or about him "overhearing" sexual activity. Talk to your doctor or midwife about any concerns you have, and try to enjoy this period.

Sex in Your Third Trimester

Toward the end of the final trimester, many couples experience a drop in sexual activity. The sheer girth of a pregnant woman's belly may make lovemaking difficult -- except in a few "creative" positions. Even so, many couples continue to enjoy relations right up until the end.

Can sex late in pregnancy cause preterm labor? One study by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists shows that intercourse after 29 weeks does not increase a woman's risk for preterm labor (assuming that the pregnancy is a normal one).

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