Pregnancy and sex
The body of the future mother changes and moods can change quickly. These changes can be confusing; it may seem like the mother has no control over herself.
During the first term of pregnancy, the nausea and exhaustion may be near constant companions. Breasts can be sensitive to touch. Some moments, one may feel like crying even if everything is well. A pregnant woman may also interpret matters differently than before and feel insulted by others. If is often difficult for the spouse to understand these changes, as the pregnancy cannot yet be seen.
During the mid-term, many expectant mother start to feel better and more sexual again. Things feel more normal after the surge of hormones during the beginning. An expectant woman may be surprised by her rising sexual desires. Awareness and enjoyment of one’s own body increase.
During the final term of pregnancy, both parents have a lot to think about. The expectant mother may question if she is still desirable the way she is. Her spouse or partner can be confused. How to feel about the growing stomach and changing body of the spouse? How can we make love? Can it harm the baby? During the final term, both women and men often feel the desire to stay close to their partner and be cherished, without any pressure for anything more. Although sexual desire may vary, tenderness and intimacy can be maintained in many ways. These confusing matters should be discussed with the partner, without putting any blame on them. One could simply ask how the other feels about the matter. What would they want in the situation?
It is important that the partner of the expectant mother can also feel as part of the pregnancy and does not feel like an outsider. People often think that sex equals intercourse. During pregnancy, partners should use their imagination to create new forms of intimacy in the relationship. Making each other happy with sweet words and actions reinforces the feeling of belonging. When intimacy is maintained, the future parents can feel that they are important just as they are, even if they have changed. This helps to share the burden of confusion and worry.
Sex during pregnancy has its pros, too: Contraception is not needed and it is easier to just enjoy each other. The situation changes again after the baby is born. Daily rhythm is no longer the same; the new small person may cause many feelings. After the childbirth or a caesarean section, the thought of sex may feel distant.
It is important that the new parents treat each other as partners, not just as parents: mothers, fathers and diaper-changers. The feeling of being desired, even after having changed, is important to all. The birth of a child may deepen and improve the sexual bond between the couple and their feelings for each other: ‘together, we have created something unique and new’.
You can read more on the experiences of parents of small children on the changes in sex life during pregnancy and after the birth in Finnish from thethe Family Federation of Finland's report Kupeitten kuuma vai kadonnut kaipaus.