International Women's Day: Understanding Sex and Pregnancy

International Women's Day: Understanding Sex and Pregnancy

International Women’s Day is not only a time to celebrate women’s achievements but also to address important issues affecting women’s health and wellbeing. One important aspect is understanding how pregnancy affects sex and intimacy. 

As we go through the different stages of pregnancy, our physical and emotional experiences can affect our sex-life and impact on intimacy with our partners. Understanding these changes and finding ways to navigate them together can help increase connection and closeness in a relationship. Let’s explore sex and pregnancy, sexual positions, pregnancy and rediscovering intimacy after childbirth. 

Sex and pregnancy 

It’s normal for our sex life to change during pregnancy. While some women may experience an increased libido, others may find their sexual desire decreases. These changes usually occur due to hormonal fluctuations, physical discomfort or emotional ups and downs. 

Pregnancy often increases heightened sensitivity and arousal due to an increase in blood flow in the pelvic region. This surge in hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone can often lead to heightened sexual desire and enjoyment. However, fatigue, nausea, discomfort and concerns about the safety of sexual activity during pregnancy can sometimes cause a reduction in sexual desire, making us less interested in sex. 

Sex during pregnancy is considered safe for most women, due to various factors: 

Protective barrier

The amniotic sac and the mucus plug in the cervix act as natural barriers, protecting the fetus from infection and harm during sexual activity. 

Strong uterine muscles

The uterus is a strong, muscular organ that is designed to protect and support the growing fetus, therefore any sexual activity is unlikely to cause any harm to the baby. 

Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes, such as increased estrogen and progesterone levels can often cause an increase in sexual desire and arousal. Also, increased blood flow to the vagina, can help with natural lubrication, making sex feel comfortable and enjoyable. For others, they may need additional lubrication to help make sex more comfortable, which is completely normal. 

Regardless of how pregnancy affects your sex-life, it’s important to maintain open communication with your partner. Being able to talk openly about your feelings, desires and concerns can help increase the connection and intimacy between you both. 

Sexual positions and pregnancy

During pregnancy, you may find that certain positions feel uncomfortable. It’s important to listen to your body and communicate openly with your partner about what feels good and what doesn’t. This can be a good time to explore new techniques and add new positions into your sexual repertoire.

Side by side positions or those where the pregnant partner is on top can sometimes feel more comfortable and allow for better control over depth and penetration. Pillows can also help in being able to try different angles and alleviate any discomfort. This can be a fun way of discovering new sexual pleasures, but do take things slow, as what may feel good to one person, may not to another. 

Rediscovering intimacy after childbirth 

Rediscovering intimacy after having a baby is an important journey that most couples have to navigate around. The arrival of a baby brings with it significant changes, both physically and emotionally, which can impact on the intimacy between partners. Here are a few ways that can help strengthen your bond and feel close again after childbirth. 

Show affection

Intimacy doesn’t always mean sexual activity, it can be anything that shows your affection to your loved one. Cuddling, kissing and spending quality time together can help you feel closer and more connected. 

Take it slow

We know it’s natural to want everything to go back to normal, but take things at your own pace, and try not to rush into anything. Focus on building emotional intimacy before physical intimacy and give yourselves time to reconnect naturally. 

Patience and understanding 

Be patient with one another as you navigate the changes that come with having a baby. It’s normal for things to feel different, and needing time to adjust to that. Be kind and supportive to one another throughout this journey. 

Sexual activities

During pregnancy and after childbirth, couples can be intimate without having sexual intercourse. Kissing, giving massages, mutual masturbation are all sexual activities that don’t require penetration. These activities can help increase intimacy, allowing partners to talk openly about desires and boundaries, increasing connection throughout pregnancy and afterwards.

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