By Shannon Dixon, Communications Manager at Zaya Care
When you’re pregnant, sex can feel a little weird at first. You’re hormonal, exhausted, and your body is going through one of the biggest transformations it’s ever experienced. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your pre-pregnancy sex life, settle, and expect it to be less than perfect. Sure, sex is innate, but it’s also a great way for couples to bond, release pent up energy, and build a stronger relationship through learning what pleasures the other.
One of the biggest concerns we hear about at Zaya Care is having sex while pregnant, given the physical and hormonal changes your body is currently enduring. And that’s 100% valid. While there are many tips you can use to enhance the physical aspect of sex, we like to remind couples that intimacy doesn’t always have to be penetrative.
Being intimate with your partner can involve verbal sex, cuddling, kissing, or having a night together where you’re only concentrated on the other.
Regardless, if you’re looking for intimacy strategies or you want some tips for how to physically ease into it, we encourage you to not rush it. Take the time to decide what feels right for you and your body, and go from there.
In the meantime, here are the most common pregnancy sex questions our providers get asked:
- Will sex affect the baby?
As long as you don’t have serious complications, sex will not affect the baby. The amniotic fluid and strong muscles of the uterus itself protect the baby from any rough penetration. It might feel a little odd at first, but just remind yourself that it’s very normal, and your baby is perfectly content.
- Will it feel different depending on the trimester?
Emotional speaking—yes, sex certainly might feel different. During the first trimester, you might not have any energy to have sex, and during the third trimester, your belly might take up most of the space in bed! While this is a case by case situation—and not every woman experiences it the same—there’s a good chance your sex life might look a little bit different each stage of pregnancy. Physically speaking, sex feels generally the same. The biggest difference you might feel is that the baby might move around while you’re being intimate (but don’t worry—it’s not harmful for him or her.) We recommend speaking to your doctor if you have any serious concerns or you’re in pain. And remember, it’s a normal thing to go through changes in your sex life.
- How will my sex drive change during pregnancy and postpartum?
While this really varies from woman to woman, there’s a good chance you’ll see an increased sex drive during the first and second trimester. Because of this, we often talk to women who are feeling disappointed that their sex life/drive is so altered after they give birth. Our biggest tip we give is to “explore, explore, explore” during pregnancy. Get a feel for what turns you and your partner on (sex or not), and use those learnings after the baby arrives. Chances are you won’t have tons of spare time lying around with a newborn, so use “pregnancy sexy time” to your advantage!
- Is lube safe to use during pregnancy?
Yes! Most lubes are safe to use during pregnancy. In fact, we encourage women to use lube since vaginal dryness can be more common. However, there are lots of lubes on the market that have chemicals and additives, like glycerin, parabens, or fragrances which we recommend to steer clear of. Natalist has a lube for pregnancy, which is safe.
- What are the best positions?
If you can, try to avoid lying on your back when you have sex, especially during the third trimester. It can be tough on your hips and can decrease blood flow. Side-by-side penetration and doggy style are ideal for comfort and pleasure.
Talk with your partner about your expectations, needs, and wants. Open communication and exploration is the key to a healthy sex life during pregnancy. And of course, never rush anything. It’s your body, so you get to decide what’s best for it.