Get It On!

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For you, the best part of the second trimester might be the return of your sex drive. Many couples find that this is one of the happiest and most intimate times in their relationship. Of course this is not true for every couple, but if it is for you, what a blessing.

You already have a baby on the way, so you don’t need to worry about getting or not getting pregnant! Not to mention, there is a lot of your body’s energy devoted towards the lower region of your body at this time. During pregnancy your blood volume increases by 50%, and it’s all going to your uterus (and your vagina)! Your growing belly will make it necessary for you to get creative in the bedroom with positions that are comfortable and ergonomic. If you’re not in the mood for intercourse, you can always explore other options.

P O T E N T I A L   O B S T A C L E S  (To Good Sex)

Obstacle no. 1: Positioning

The missionary position might be out of the question, as might be hands and knees (doggie-style), but there are plenty of comfortable and pleasurable positions besides these two that will work for you and your partner.

Maybe: Get creative. Pregnancy is a great time to do a little research about creative sex, including Tantric sex. You might even pick up some ideas for labor positions along the way! (In the midwifery world, we say that a position that helped get the baby in will probably help get the baby out.)

Obstacle no. 2: Your partner can’t stop thinking about the baby.

I have to say, I believe it is to our society’s detriment to shroud sex, pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding with a veil of shame and guilt. Having a baby is a sexy thing! The baby came to exist through the act of making love with your partner, and the baby will continue to thrive, in-utero and earth-side, within a family where his mother and father are deeply in love. Some women have a similar pre-occupation with breastfeeding, and state it feels uncomfortable because they have come to associate their breasts with sexuality rather than function. One of my favorite responses to this psychological obstacle comes from a passage in Spiritual Midwifery. In it, Ina May counsels a mother with this problem whose baby is consequently suffering from dehydration and malnutrition. Ina May tells the mother to think of breastfeeding as making love to her baby. A strange thought, but consider:

Babies need that comfort and love to thrive. Breastfeeding is not a perversion, but a healthy mother-baby relationship. So is your sexual relationship with your partner during pregnancy.

 Obstacle no. 3: You are afraid of hurting the baby.

If a position is uncomfortable for you during sex, change it. Only very early in the first trimester will you feel comfortable in the missionary position. In terms of your man hurting the baby during the act itself, remember that the only mamas that have to worry about this are women with special concerns, such as mamas at risk of preterm labor, those with premature rupture of membranes or those with placenta previa. If you have any questions about your baby’s safety, ask your midwife or doctor.

That said, for the rest of us; sweet, gentle and satisfying sex is good both for us and for the baby. At the end of pregnancy, it may even help you from going past your due-date.

During the last weeks of pregnancy, you will most likely feel like you are growing the world’s largest baby. A girlfriend astutely put it this way: it feels as though you have a 10-lb basketball sitting on top of your vagina. Even then, there are plenty of reasons to get into the mood. Having sex will loosen the tension in your lower back, thereby relieving pain and discomfort from late pregnancy. Believe it or not, my own personal recipe for lower back relief at the end of pregnancy was a day of sex and a three-mile walk[1].

Why on earth am I spending so much time talking about sex? Because it is truly therapeutic during pregnancy. Sex will release endorphins that will lift your mood and keep you on a smooth and steady keel, a mood stabilizer that is much needed during the hormonal sea changes of pregnancy. Sex will enhance your sense, and your partner’s sense, of wellbeing in your relationship. The more sensitive your and your partner’s communication in your relationship, the more able your relationship will be to adapt to the changes and transformations of life during pregnancy, birth, and life with a newborn. If I have learned anything during my career as a Labor and Delivery Nurse witnessing thousands of labors and births, it is this:

A loving relationship nurtures a healthy pregnancy and birth.

So many times in my career have I seen marital discord result in pregnancy complications, from PIH (pregnancy-induced hypertension) to unplanned Cesarean Sections. On the other hand, when husbands and wives are loving and supportive of each other, their children’s births have exceptional and fulfilling outcomes. Sex is a really good way to break up tension caused by the stress of planning for a baby. Remember what got the baby in there? That will help keep the two of you healthy and happy too.

In the third trimester, your partner’s semen can help ripen your cervix with its wonderful prostaglandins. It is common knowledge in the birth professions that frequent sex at the end of pregnancy can help prevent you from going overdue. Science or no science, from personal experience as a nurse I know that when I ask “Have you had sex in the past 24 hours?” and the answer is “Yes”– then things are looking up for an easy labor. Many of my mamas had their water break while getting it on! That’s sure better than getting an induction.

Yes, you are a reasonable women to think that Sex is the last thing you want to do while big and pregnant. But I say this with the deepest love and desire for your well-being: trust me, it’s for your benefit. Who knows, you might even like it 😉

[1] A time will come when you read that sentence and believe I have horns growing out of my head.

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