The challenges of sex during pregnancy

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When you find out you are expecting, the chances are that in the months that proceeded you’ve had a pretty active sex life whilst trying to conceive. You may have been having far more sex than normal, responding to your fertility windows or simply trying to increase the probability of a positive result by having sex with your partner as often as possible. However, when pregnancy arrives; you may find your feelings towards your partner, your body, and even the prospect of having sex change significantly; partly due to the surge in pregnancy hormones that are now increasing daily in the early stages of pregnancy.

During the 1st trimester, exhaustion, morning sickness and anxiety about your baby’s health may mean your urges for sex are significantly reduced. You may find that you want to sleep more often, or prefer to avoid sex altogether.

For many women, the prospect of sex during pregnancy is a little daunting, but it is worth remembering that unless you have been told otherwise, sex during all trimesters of pregnancy is safe for you and your baby. There are some situations where you may want to avoid penetrative sex (such as if you have a low-lying placenta) but generally there is no reason why you can’t carry on and find a way that works for you and your partner.

If you are feeling particularly anxious (which can be common if you have previously experienced baby loss or miscarriage) you may find that you feel more comfortable with non-penetrative sex instead. It is worth remembering that there are many other ways to find intimacy and connect with your partner that don’t involve full intercourse.

During the 2nd trimester of pregnancy you may find that sex isn’t as comfortable as it used to be. This could be due to a number of reasons – firstly the physical size and shape of your bump can make positioning somewhat tricky and the ways you favoured sex pre-pregnancy may not be practical or be a lot more challenging to achieve (comfortably at least).Secondly, those pesky pregnancy hormones can make your nerves and blood flow to your genitals far more sensitive, and as such, you may experience some discomfort or find that you need more lubrication than usual.

In the third trimester, many women experience an increased desire for sex with their partner (whether or not this is due to the rumour that sex can bring on labor is yet to be determined!) and it can often be your partner who becomes slightly reluctant, particularly if your baby kicks or turns during the act! Your partner may worry that they can harm your baby or that they are getting distressed.

The important thing is to find a way that sex works for both of you – it’s important that you are both comfortable with how, when and in what frequency you have sex during pregnancy and there is certainly no one size fits all approach about what this should look like.

If you are concerned about sex during pregnancy and your own personal symptoms or responses, have a chat with your medical practitioner to get further advice and guidance.

Lucy Cotterill
Lucy is a UK-based parenting and lifestyle blogger who has also featured in the Huffington Post. A Mom of two daughters, Lucy is passionate about sharing the true reality of parenthood and helping others through their first experiences. In her free time she loves to write, go on day trips with her family and photography.

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