Mother and Baby

Pregnant and horny? Why your sex drive increases during pregnancy

feet sticking out bed

Noticed that you've been feeling uncharacteristically horny since becoming pregnant? It's no myth that a lot of women experience a higher sex drive during pregnancy and there's some science behind it.

It's important to remember that just because you're pregnant, you don't have to say goodbye to your sex life, as it's usually safe to continue having sex regularly if you feel like it. In fact - many pregnant women say that orgasms are much more powerful when they are pregnant, so if that's not reason enough - what is?

We asked real mums how their sex drive changed during pregnancy


Melina Gale: 'Up until the last month or so all I wanted was sex food and sleep 🤣'

Christie Eardley: 'I didn’t want it much during pregnancy. Plus once I got to around 34 weeks I felt like baby was going to fall out so there was no way I was doing the deed 🤣  I was pregnant with a boy (didn’t know until birth though) but yes from around 20 weeks there wasn’t a lot of action mainly due to SPD'

Tiffany Fitzpatrick: First was a boy and sex drive took a plunge. Second was a girl and it went up. But we did try once and I hated it! Just wasn’t comfy at all. Any way we did it. I’ve found - with people I know - that when pregnant with a girl their sex drive increases... dunno if there’s any true scientific fact in it though. Just something I’ve found.'

Does pregnancy increase sex drive? 

Yes, in some women, it can. And it's those pregnancy hormones you've got to thank. 

Estrogen 

Your estrogen levels are likely to be higher during pregnancy as estrogen stimulates the growth of your uterus and improves blood flow between the uterus and placenta by enhancing the effect of nitric oxide, a gas that widens blood vessels. It also prepares your breasts for healthy milk production by enlarging your milk ducts. Estrogen levels can affect your mood and certainly increase your sex drive which could peak just before birth, when levels are at their highest, and decline shortly afterwards. 

Relaxin 

Relaxin is a hormone that sounds exactly like what it is. It loosens up the intrauterine ligaments so that the fetus's living quarters are increased, allowing room for your little one to grow. Relaxin also increases blood flow, which could be part of the reason you're feeling a bit hot around the collar. 

Oxytocin

Oxytocin is the "feel-good" hormone that helps us to bond with others and form connections. Levels will be at their peak in the days and weeks immediately before delivery when many women will experience a kind of mild euphoria and strong nesting behaviour. So if you're feeling tactile - that's why! 

Interestingly, it's this lovely hormone that will allow you to form a strong bond with your new-born, as huge bursts of oxytocin run through the brain during delivery. When you finally meet your baby, you will develop what's called "baby lust", a chemical reaction that happens when a baby's pheromones stimulate the production of your oxytocin, thus forming an extraordinary bond between mother and baby. 

Physical changes

There are also a number of physical changes taking place that could increase your desire for sex. Pregnancy may cause your vulva to become engorged and extra sensitive during pregnancy, which will make you likely to want to have sex more often. Also, as your breasts are getting ready to produce milk, they will be swelling with hormones and this can produce pleasurable sensations for some women. 

Did you know you can have breast orgasms? We couldn't believe it either, but there is some scientific evidence in various medical journals, such as the Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 8, 2011. It claims that nipple stimulation activates the same region of the brain as clitoral, vaginal and cervical stimulation. So there's really no harm in taking advantage of this hormonal period in which your breasts may be swelling.

Can pregnancy decrease my sex drive? 

Equally, yes.

If sex is the last thing on your mind right now, this is also very normal. From some unpleasant pregnancy symptoms including morning sickness and exhaustion to having a huge bump in the third trimester, some women just don't feel their usual selves throughout their pregnancy which makes them less likely to want to get it on. 

Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy? 

Yes, as long as your midwife or GP has said otherwise becuase of any medical issues such as placenta previa, then you're fine to have sex while pregnant. Of course, if you don't feel fully comfortable with penetration or you just prefer to please yourself, masturbation is a good alternative to satisfying your needs.

If you're unsure as to how to make sex work while you're pregnant, or if you're concerned you might hurt the baby, read our guide to having sex during pregnancy to help with everything from sex positions to sex toys. 

 


Read more popular articles 

 

Related Content

Related content: