Have you found your libido levels going through the roof? Or maybe all you want is constant cuddles. Some pregnant women want sex RIGHT NOW, while others would happily skip it for the next 40 weeks. Only one thing is consistent – your pregnancy sex drive is a roller-coaster that changes month by month
You're pregnancy sex needs will change every month. Discover how to make the most of your new sex drive – at every different stage
‘The egg is embedding, oestrogen is pumping and it’s a tumultuous time, both physically and emotionally,’ says consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Claudine Domoney. ‘There’s also an increased flow of blood to your genitals, which will make you more sensitive and easier to arouse. Unfortunately, nausea and tiredness are ruining the party.’
The answer is to take it slow. If you don’t feel like sex, take advantage of your heightened state of arousal by masturbating, or get your man to do it for you.
It’s cuddles, not sex, you’re likely to be after now. One study, published in the Journal of the National Medical Association, reported a decreased desire for intercourse in the first trimester, but noted an increased need for closeness and reassurance.
Take sex off the agenda for now and explain why to your other half, but keep intimacy alive with lots of physical contact. Burn some lavender oil in the bedroom, too, as it’s clinically proven to help you relax.
Your breasts will be getting bigger and more sensitive, which isn’t a bad thing – and certainly not for him. Most men will appreciate your fuller breasts, so get him to stroke your breasts and caress your nipples, so you can enjoy their heightened sensitivity. Let your new curves increase your sexual confidence, too.
Welcome to your sexiest month yet. ‘As your pregnancy progresses, there’s a higher concentration of oxytocin – the bonding hormone – which increases your orgasm potential,’ says Claudine. ‘We’re talking longer, more intense and multiple.’
Lie back and enjoy. The chances are, you’ll be feeling less nauseous now, so it could be the perfect time to make the most of your super-sensitive state.
Do some pelvic floor exercises – they’ll increase your libido.
‘Blood flow increases as your pregnancy progresses, so your vagina may feel engorged at this stage,’ says Claudine. For some, this could mean a heightened sexual state. Unfortunately, for others, it could just equal being uncomfortable.
Do some pelvic floor exercises. Not only will they tighten the kegel muscles, which help with control during the birth, they’ll also increase your libido. A few times a day, pull up your pelvic floor muscles, as if you’re trying to stop your pee mid-flow. Hold, count to five, then release.
Long, drawn-out sex is probably the last thing on your mind now. A study of 150 pregnant women by the University of Istanbul showed that length of intercourse decreased during the later stages of pregnancy, compared with before you were expecting. Have a quickie, or just enjoy oral sex. An orgasm will give you a much-needed burst of energy, and you don’t need full sex to achieve one.
‘As you enter your third trimester, you may start to feel less sexually available because of your changing body and the way you feel about it,’ says Claudine.
Get your partner to give you a relaxing massage. In a study by the University of Miami, pregnant women given two 20-minute massages by their partner for 16 weeks showed a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, and an increase in the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine.
Your head may be willing, but the cumbersome football that used to be your stomach is making things difficult. In a Portuguese study of 188 pregnant women, over half reported decreased sex in the third trimester.
Experiment with new positions. Some will be more comfortable than others now, so try out a few and choose one that suits you and your partner. You could go on top, you could go on all fours, or try the ultimate relaxed position – lying on your side with him spooning you from behind.
You’re not likely to want it but, as you near your due date, here’s one good reason to have sex – to induce the birth. Nipple stimulation releases the hormone oxytocin, which can kick-start contractions, as can the prostaglandins in sperm. Just go gently. You can also give him oral sex. Prostaglandins are more easily absorbed in the gut than the cervix, so oral sex is likely to have a better effect than penetrative sex. Doctors think this is an old wives’ tale, but there’s no harm in trying and he’ll sure thank you for it.
Sex is safe in low-risk pregnancies, so carry on enjoying it unless your doctor advises otherwise.