Don’t be alarmed.
You’re pregnant, and you and your partner have decided to bring a life into this world. While you’re carrying a child, is it normal to have sex cravings and desire intimacy?
We spoke with doctors and therapist about sex during pregnancy, and guess what? It’s common to have a libido during pregnancy; in fact, some health professionals encourage intimacy and sex with your partner!
What makes women crave pregnant sex? And how do they react and feel certain ways during their pregnancy journey?
1. Your body is reacting normally.
Crystal Clancy, a licensed marriage and family therapist with a specialty in perinatal mental health, explains how craving intimacy and sex while pregnant is healthy and normal due to both mental and physical changes happening within the body. She shared some common questions when carrying a child:
- How can my partner possibly think of me as attractive? It’s better to just keep my clothes on/pretend I’m asleep/say I’m tired.
- Am I going to hurt my baby if we have sex?
- I really want to be close to my partner, but I don’t want sex. It’s best to just avoid any touch so I don’t lead my partner on.
- Hold me, but don’t touch my breasts!
2. If you’re not craving intimacy, that’s normal too.
According to Dr. Natasha Chinn, MD, FACOG, and OB/GYN, “It’s important to note that not all women will experience an increase in sex drive during pregnancy. The increased progesterone levels may cause a decrease in libido. Moreover, it often causes an increased sensitivity in the genital area, which can be painful and downright uncomfortable for some women. Also, the increased blood flow may result in vaginal varicose veins and swelling.”
So, while some women do experience an increased libido, it’s okay that you may not.
3. It’s okay to experience mood swings.
“You will go through periods of feeling incredibly close and intimate with your partner, while at other times you can feel very distant and disconnected. This is all perfectly normal, but the key is being mindful and aware that this can happen and understanding that these temporary changes are all part of a healthy pregnancy,” advises Lorene Garcia, OB/GYN and Founder of Daily Vaginal Health.
What can you do when you’re experiencing mood swings? According to Garcia, “Communicate with your partner throughout your pregnancy and let him or her know exactly how you’re feeling. While some couples will cope with these changes easily, others can find it harder to adapt. Talk to each other and remain open about your feelings. It’s important to understand what’s to come, both the positives and negatives. You want to try and express your views in a way which doesn’t look like you’re simply blaming your partner.”
4. Mindset is everything.
Chinn says that every woman’s experience when pregnant is different, but that it’s important to be aware of your mental health as well as your physical health.
“The individual perception of the changes occurring in one’s body may also affect her sex drive. If she sees these changes in a positive way, her libido may increase. If viewed negatively, a decrease in libido would not be surprising. Also, fear of hurting the pregnancy may decrease her libido or keep her from engaging in sexual activity,” Chinn advises.
5. It’s safe to act on your urges.
“When it comes to intimacy and pregnancy, so long as there aren’t any contraindications, make intimacy a priority and go for it. The increased estrogen in pregnancy often causes increased libido and heightened orgasms. The increased belly size often pushes couples to be creative with positions. Intimacy is a wonderful way to emotionally connect and reaffirm what she already is: sexy and wanted,” Chinn encourages.
So, instead of holding yourself back, understand that sex during pregnancy may take your connection to a new level. And intimacy doesn’t always require intercourse!
6. Communication is extremely important.
As mentioned previously, given the physical and mental changes, as well as potential mood swings, communication is vital to keeping a relationship healthy during pregnancy. In addition to talking about your emotional needs, Garcia believes couples should dive deeper than that.
“You should also remain open about your sexual needs. There are also more actionable and practical ways to carefully manage the impact of your pregnancy on your relationship:
- Consider going to antenatal classes with your partner
- Consider going to counseling together
- Discuss how the practicalities of how you will make time for each other once the baby arrives”