Pregnancy is a time of physical and emotional change. Personal history, symptoms and attitudes about becoming a parent influence the feelings that a woman has about her body and about making love during pregnancy. The pregnancy may alter how a woman and her partner feel about making love, and differences in sexual need may arise.
The best way to deal with these differences is to talk, to listen and to be open to each other’s feelings and concerns. In addition, questions about sexual practices and their effect on the baby and the pregnancy should be discussed with a health care provider during prenatal visits.
Pregnancy Changes and Sexuality
For many women, the first three months of pregnancy can bring fatigue and nausea. If these symptoms are present, a woman may not feel like making love.
Pregnancy brings an increased blood supply to the pelvic area. During the second three months of pregnancy, after the first trimester symptoms have passed and before the growing uterus makes positioning more of a challenge, many women enjoy sexual intercourse.
A woman’s breasts increase in size during pregnancy, enlarging even more with sexual arousal. For some women this is the first time that they truly enjoy having their breasts fondled, while others experience these changes as uncomfortable breast tenderness.
As the pregnancy progresses and a woman begins to lose her waistline, positioning and comfort become important in lovemaking. A woman may become depressed as the shape of her body changes. As the baby begins to move down into the pelvis, a woman may be bothered by increased pelvic pressure. She may not like the idea of intercourse and her partner also may worry about hurting the baby.
In addition, orgasm may be somewhat frightening during pregnancy. Upon reaching orgasm, the uterus contracts in a rhythmical fashion. In a pregnant woman, these contractions last longer and in the third trimester they can occasionally turn into long, hard contractions that may feel uncomfortable. Sensitivity to each other’s wishes is vital. Cuddling and massage may be an alternate way to share time together.
Making Love During Pregnancy
Some hints for satisfying and comfortable sexuality during pregnancy include:
Side lying, with partner behind woman
Woman on hands and knees, partner kneeling behind
Woman sitting on partner’s lap
When is sex not safe during pregnancy
If you have any of these complications, talk to your provider to see if it’s OK for you to have sex:
You’re pregnant with multiples (twins, triplets or more)
You had a miscarriage in the past or you’re at risk of having a miscarriage in this pregnancy. Miscarriage is when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
You had a premature baby in the past or you have signs of preterm labor in this pregnancy. A premature baby is a baby born too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Preterm labor is when your labor starts early, before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy.
You have an incompetent cervix. This is when the cervix opens too early during pregnancy. The cervix is the opening to the uterus (womb) that sits at the top of the vagina. An incompetent cervix can cause you to have preterm labor.
You have placenta previa. This is when the placenta lies very low in the uterus and covers all or part of the cervix. Placenta previa can cause serious bleeding and other complications later in pregnancy.