Long ago I heard of an obstetrician, when asked by a pregnant patient up to what week or month she could have sex during her pregnancy, answer, “Well, I guess you could have sex in the labor room but it might embarrass some of the nurses”. Although I doubt that there are many women in labor who would want to be having sex, the obstetrician’s answer does shed some light on the topic of sex and pregnancy.
Most pregnant women (and likely a lot of their partners) have questions about sex, but many may be too embarrassed to ask either their doctor or their nurse. Presumably, their health care team is not shy about telling women who should not be having sex about their restrictions. If in doubt, do not hesitate to ask. Especially if you have had bleeding, cramping, a history of preterm labor, etc. But most healthy women are perfectly able to have sex during their pregnancy. The decision tends to be more mental than physical.
For women, fluctuating hormone levels can create havoc with their libido. Some women have never had such a strong sex drive and some women would rather skip it for the whole nine months. Both extremes are normal, as is basically anything in between. For their partners, some think their pregnant partner is the sexiest person they have ever seen and want to chase her around the house all day. For many men however, they hesitate to initiate intercourse because they are afraid of hurting their partner or the baby. This is a good time to ask her health care team, and for the majority of cases, there will be a thumbs up for lovemaking.
As the months progress, one needs to become more creative about how to satisfy each of you. The good old fashioned missionary position might have been the entity which caused the pregnancy, but as the baby gets bigger, it can become physically impossible. If you weren’t creative before the pregnancy, this is a good time to start. Try different positions, try different approaches, but be aware that what worked and felt great a week ago might not work so well now as the baby grows or drops.
Some women feel sexy and desirable during pregnancy, more so than before, and some women feel large and clumsy. It is challenging to adjust to an ever-growing and changing body and contrary to what many women expect, one can sprout in all sorts of places, not just breasts and belly. If you feel good looking at yourself in the mirror, go for it. But if it causes you distress, run past it after your shower. Weight and body image are a huge issue for most women, and pregnancy can either make it worse, or allow one to eat and grow more comfortably because it is for a good cause.
The main point to remember is that pregnancy is temporary. If you are a sex kitten during your pregnancy, enjoy it and take advantage. If not, remember that it is time-limited. But do remember that you will ovulate two weeks before your first period after you deliver your baby, so when your obstetrician talks about birth control before you are discharged, listen.