Hand holding a baby's foot

Sex and pregnancy: what you need to know

It’s a no-brainer that pregnancy is a time filled with many changes, both physical and emotional. But you might not know that there’s also going to be a lot of changes that can affect both your sex drive and the pleasure that you get from it. So even though you might not be able to indulge in some of your favourite foods and drinks, there’s no reason why you can’t continue to get it on during your pregnancy– if that’s what you want to do. However, everyone’s pregnancy is different. Always talk to your doctor first before having sex while pregnant.

1. It’s all in the hormones

When women reach puberty, the pituitary gland located in the brain signals to the body to begin producing sex hormones. These hormones help women to ovulate and menstruate, as well as giving us the desire to have sex. So, when it comes to wanting more or less sex during pregnancy, it’s mainly down to our hormones.

To support you and your growing bump, your body increases the amount of progesterone and estrogen in the bloodstream. The rising levels of hormones helps to increase the amount of blood flow to the pelvic area, as well as increasing lubrication in the vagina. These mighty hormones can also increase sensitivity in the breasts and nipples.

2. How pregnancy can affect sex drive

These same hormones and their fluctuations affect how sex feels and how often you want it. Generally speaking (and everyone’s different!) most women feel very tired in the first trimester and battle morning sickness, meaning sex is likely not a high priority.

But the second trimester can sometimes bring with it an energy boost and make you feel extra horny. So, as your belly continues to grow, so might your libido.

It’s important to remember that no two women and no two pregnancies are the same. Even if you didn’t feel like having sex at all in your first pregnancy, you might discover a strong desire in your next.

3. Sex during pregnancy is good for you

First and foremost, before having sex during your pregnancy, always consult with your health care provider. There are some instances where a doctor or midwife will advise a pregnant woman to avoid sex.

We already know that sex has many mental and physical health benefits, but there may also be some added pros of having sex during pregnancy.

On top of the usual boost in feel-good hormones and being a great way to bond with your partner, sex is also thought to help prepare your body for labour. Semen contains prostaglandins, which may help your cervix to develop.

Having sex and orgasms, including during pregnancy, is thought to help strengthen the muscles in your uterus and keep them in good shape before you go into labour.

Remember that it’s always good to communicate clearly with your partner and let them know exactly how you feel about sex during pregnancy. This will allow the two of you to come to a meeting of minds, as well as bodies! It’s also important to keep in mind that every woman’s experience of pregnancy is different and unique to her and whatever is right for you is right for you.


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