Pregnancy can be a transformative time in a woman’s life. Amid all the excitement, trepidation, and hormonal fluctuations, it’s only natural for intimacy with your partner to undergo shifts too. Even though these changes can sometimes lead to decreased sexual desire, many couples continue to enjoy a vibrant, satisfying sex life during pregnancy.
Here are eight practical ways to improve and maintain your sexual relationship while expecting a baby.
1. Open Communication is Key
First and foremost, open and honest communication is the cornerstone of maintaining a healthy sex life during pregnancy. Both partners must feel comfortable discussing their feelings, apprehensions, and desires.
Pregnancy can bring about changes in body image and self-perception, which may impact your sexual desire. By having frank conversations, you can express your needs and create a safe space for intimacy.
2. Understanding Your Changing Body
Pregnancy is a time of remarkable transformation in a woman’s body. Hormonal changes can heighten sexual sensitivity as they increase blood flow to the pelvic region. Breasts may become tender and grow larger, and some women may even experience changes in taste and smell that can impact their perception of their partner.
Your body shape changes too, as you accommodate the growing life within. This can significantly affect your sexual desire. Body image is an integral part of a person’s sexuality, and pregnancy can cause insecurities to surface. Accepting the beauty of this transformative phase and reminding yourself that these changes are a natural part of creating new life can help you embrace your new body and boost your sexual confidence.
Along with these changes, you may also experience mood swings, fatigue, and nausea, especially during the first trimester, which can impact your desire for sexual intimacy. As the pregnancy progresses, your libido may fluctuate. Some women find their sexual desire increases, while others may see a decrease. It’s vital to remember there is no ‘normal’ here—everyone’s experience is unique and valid.
3. Prioritizing Comfort
As your body changes, so do your comfort levels.
Trying different positions that don’t put pressure on your abdomen can make sex more enjoyable. Spooning, woman on top, or side-by-side positions are generally considered safe and comfortable during pregnancy.
However, always consult with your healthcare provider if you have concerns about sexual intercourse and its impact on your pregnancy.
4. The Role of Foreplay
Foreplay plays an indispensable role in sexual activity, and it becomes even more important during pregnancy. Hormonal fluctuations can mean that pregnant individuals might need more time to become physically aroused. Foreplay can help increase arousal, making sex more enjoyable and comfortable.
Foreplay can include many activities—kissing, touching, massaging, or even talking about your fantasies. Take this opportunity to slow down and really explore each other’s bodies. Touch and caress each other, taking note of how your bodies respond. You can also consider using tools, like the Hitachi Magic Wand, to create different experiences.
Oral sex can also be an enjoyable part of foreplay but remember to avoid blowing air into the vagina during pregnancy as it can potentially lead to a rare but serious condition called an air embolism.
5. Addressing Fears and Anxieties
It’s not uncommon for fears and anxieties to surface during pregnancy, and many of these can revolve around sex. You might worry that sex could harm the baby, trigger a miscarriage, or cause early labor. While these fears are understandable, it’s essential to know that in a healthy pregnancy, sex is generally safe.
However, certain complications like placenta previa, cervical incompetence, or a history of preterm labor may require you to abstain from sex. Always check with your doctor to discuss any concerns and clarify any questions you may have about your pregnancy and intimacy. Don’t be afraid to talk about this area as it can impact not just your pregnancy but your relationship with your partner too.
Fears and anxieties can also stem from body image issues, as pregnancy brings about significant changes in physical appearance. Open communication with your partner can be incredibly helpful in addressing these fears. Let your partner know how you’re feeling. Chances are they’ll be more than willing to provide reassurance and support.
6. Staying Active
Staying physically active during pregnancy is not just good for your overall health but can also improve your sex life.
Regular, moderate exercise can help increase energy levels, enhance mood, improve body image, and boost libido. However, always ensure that your exercise regimen is approved by your healthcare provider.
7. Exploring Different Forms of Intimacy
Non-sexual physical intimacy is a powerful way to keep the bond strong. Cuddling, holding hands, hugging, or just resting your hand on your partner’s arm can help you feel connected. Skin-to-skin contact, even if it doesn’t lead to sex, releases oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the ‘love hormone’, which promotes bonding and a sense of wellbeing.
Sharing a bath or shower can be another beautiful form of intimacy. The warm water can help you relax, and washing each other’s bodies can be a deeply intimate experience. Just ensure the water temperature isn’t too high, as overheating isn’t good for pregnant individuals.
Another way to explore non-sexual intimacy is through shared activities. Cooking together, going for walks, watching your favorite movies, or even doing a puzzle can help foster a sense of shared experience and deepen your emotional bond.
8. Lubrication is Your Friend
Due to hormonal changes, some women experience vaginal dryness during pregnancy, which can make sex uncomfortable. Over-the-counter water-based lubricants can be a game-changer, making sex more enjoyable. However, it’s essential to avoid lubricants that contain fragrances or spermicides, as they may irritate sensitive skin.
Sex during pregnancy can be a wonderful way to connect with your partner and embrace the changes your body is going through.
Remember, everyone’s experience with pregnancy and sex is different, and that’s okay. It’s all about finding what works for you and your partner, communicating effectively, and maintaining a loving connection during this special time.