How Pregnancy Affects Your Sexual Health

How Pregnancy Affects Your Sexual Health

Posted By Lion's Den
Image of black, pregnant woman laying in bed on her side wearing black underwear and black bra, holding her baby bump. A white frame surrounds image, text in magenta “How Pregnancy Affects Your Sexual Health” "Pillow Talk" in magenta is in upper right.

How Pregnancy Affects Your Sexual Health

Pregnancy changes a lot about the body other than physical changes

 

Preparing to welcome a new baby is incredibly exciting. Pregnancy will lead to many exciting changes in your future and day-to-day life and will cause changes in your body. 

Of course, there are symptoms of pregnancy most of us are already familiar with: fluctuating weight, shifting organs, fatigue, and changes in hormones. But what do all these physical and emotional changes mean for your sex life? 

Well, it can mean a lot of things.

 

Image of a pregnant person sitting on a couch, wearing white shirt, right hand on top of stomach and left hand on bottom of stomach to show baby bump.Image of a pregnant person sitting on a couch, wearing white shirt, right hand on top of stomach and left hand on bottom of stomach to show baby bump.

 

During Pregnancy

The first few weeks of pregnancy can present a challenge. During this period, you’ll experience morning sickness, fatigue, and changes to your breasts. This change is brought on by the rapid increase and production of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). HCG leads to the rise in estrogen and progesterone and initiates the internal changes your uterus will undergo to accommodate pregnancy. Typically, during the first 10 weeks of your pregnancy, HCG levels double every two days. 

After the first 10 weeks, your hormones begin to stabilize, which might help put you back in the mood. You’ll also experience increased blood flow during pregnancy, which could increase your sensitivity and libido. The extra blood flow and sensitivity can make it easier to become aroused and increase your pleasure during sex. 

Libido is likely to ebb and flow throughout your pregnancy, so don’t be alarmed if you oscillate between extreme desire and total disinterest. But it is very common for your libido to taper off during the final stage of your pregnancy. In the last weeks of the last trimester, your belly will be at its biggest, likely leading to discomfort and mental and physical fatigue. Your mind is likely preoccupied with your delivery, so don’t feel bad if you’re not feeling up to it.

And even if you aren’t up for outright sex, you and your partner can still enjoy some sensual care. For example, back and body aches are common as your pregnancy progresses, so having your partner give you a thorough massage can help alleviate the tension—sometimes in more ways than one.

 

Image of black pregnant laying in bed on her side wearing black underwear and black bra. Her left hand is on top of her stomach and right arm is rested under her sleeping head.Image of black pregnant laying in bed on her side wearing black underwear and black bra. Her left hand is on top of her stomach and right arm is rested under her sleeping head.

 

Postpartum

Your healthcare provider will be able to discuss your bodily changes in depth. After you’ve delivered your baby, your body will need time to recover. According to the Mayo Clinic: “While there's no required waiting period before you can have sex again, many health care providers recommend waiting to have sex until four to six weeks after delivery, regardless of the delivery method. The risk of having a complication after delivery is highest during the first two weeks after delivery.”

Giving your body time to heal will help you enjoy your return to sexual activity. And when you return (or even if you never stopped), remember to take your time and use lots of lube. 

Remember that everyone’s body is different. Your hormonal and body changes might be totally different than your friends’ or family members’ pregnancies. Do what feels right for you and your partner. Many online sites, parenting forums, or social media sites may shame you into doing one thing over the other. Know that you know your body better than anyone else, and what you decide is valid and enough.

 

Image of pregnant woman in high waisted cream skirt and white tube top. She is standing and holding her baby bump on the top and bottom.Image of pregnant woman in high waisted cream skirt and white tube top. She is standing and holding her baby bump on the top and bottom.

 

Trust Yourself

Lastly, and most importantly, remember that every body is amazing. Don’t be too hard on yourself for changing—you’re supposed to change. Change is a part of life, and embracing your changing body can be freeing. Give yourself permission to enjoy your new body and to be impressed with yourself. You have created a tectonic shift in your own life out of your own body, which deserves to be celebrated. 

 

Pregnancy takes a significant toll on the body of a pregnant person. Pregnancy impacts so many areas of life, and sexual health is certainly one of them. Stay tuned as we share more resources for sexuality, pregnancy, postpartum, parents, and more. You brought life into this world, but it doesn’t have to mean you give up parts of your life that bring you pleasure and joy.

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