Although a couple's sexual relationship will change during pregnancy there is usually no reason why sex should not continue provided that there the woman is healthy and there are no complications in pregnancy. During the first few months your partner may feel less attractive due to changes in her body but in fact many women feel more sexual due to changes in their skin, breasts and exaggeration of an overall more feminine shape. If your partner suffers with nausea, vomiting, and general tiredness this can lead to a reduced desire for sex but on the other hand she may experience times of increased sexual desire due to the changing hormonal situation within her body.
Every woman experiences different emotional and physical changes - some find that their breasts become tender and swollen whereas others find the breast are more sensitive to touch which can heighten sexual desire. Women usually become prone to cystitis during pregnancy and this can be aggravated by sexual intercourse, which may put her off sex. Many women find that the increased sensitivity of the vaginal area during this time can make sex more satisfying.
During the second trimester of pregnancy your partner's sex drive may increase further after the disappearance of morning sickness and increased levels of energy. During this period vaginal engorgement and lubricating fluid production increases but on the down side the increasing abdominal girth caused by the enlarging uterus and growing baby can reduce comfort if intercourse is performed when she is lying on her back. To reduce any discomfort your partner may find intercourse more enjoyable while lying on her side or if she is on top which gives her more control over the position and depth of penetration.
The third trimester brings a significant increase in uterus growth and abdominal enlargement and some women find that penetration is uncomfortable as the growing baby descends into the pelvic cavity although many women still continue to enjoy sexual intercourse in alternative positions. Intercourse is perfectly safe during this period but both partners should talk and agree what is best for each other - some decide that cuddling, touching and mutual masturbation is an acceptable alternative if penetrative intercourse becomes too uncomfortable.
A common worry of both partners is that they may be harming the forming baby during intercourse and at orgasm although this is generally not the case.
There are however a few relatively rare situations in which your midwife or doctor may advice you to abstain from intercourse for a while - some of these are:
- If your partner has a history of recurrent miscarriages or premature birth
- If persistent bleeding occurs after intercourse
- If leakage of fluid occurs from the amniotic sac surrounding the baby (a clear liquid may be noticed in the vagina)
- If intercourse is painful or pain is experiences afterwards
- If your partner experiences premature early contractions
- If your partner is suffering with severe back problems
- If you or your partner has signs of genital infection (If you have any doubts about always seek advice from your midwife or doctor.)