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Learn How Pregnancy Affects Your Sex Life

By Anne Katz, RN PhD

Learn How Pregnancy Affects Your Sex Life

You’ve probably figured out by now that sex had something to do with getting pregnant. But how does pregnancy affect sex? Now that you’re pregnant, you may have noticed some changes in your body and your desire when it comes to sex.

How Pregnancy Affects Sex

For many women, sexual changes occur throughout the nine months of pregnancy and it seems that there may be a general pattern. For many women, the nausea and fatigue that happens in the first trimester puts sex on the very back burner. You are just too sick and too tired! Your partner may not want to be sexual for fear of harming the fetus or causing something to go wrong. This is an idea that has no basis in fact but is usually a belief passed down in the family that pregnant woman should not have sex.

The second trimester is often a time when sexual interest and activity increases. You feel better, you look great and you have more energy. Your partner notices your beautiful growing belly and you feel sexy and desirable.

And then in the third trimester things slow down again. You may be too large for sex to be comfortable and/or you may once again be fatigued. For some people, the thought of having sex with a baby in there is just not a good thought. Some men (and women) have told me that they think the baby can “see” what his/her parents are doing! Or that the penis can bump the baby on the head! The fetus is well protected in the uterus by the cervix and the amniotic fluid and the fetus has no idea what sex is so cannot see or understand any of that. But beliefs are very strong and so many couples are not sexually active as the pregnancy draws to an end.

Sex Before Labor

We know that for the woman at the end of her pregnancy, sexual intercourse may help to stimulate labor. If and only if the cervix is ready, nipple stimulation may be enough to start contractions, and the semen deposited at the cervix from ejaculation contains prostoglandins that can actually soften the cervix and help to prepare it for labor. So if you are at your due date, or even better past your due date, and your waters have not broken, a nice romantic evening may hasten things along! And its way more fun than IVs and other drugs!

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