Monday, February 13, 2012

Sex During Pregnancy

Sex during pregnancy!

I feel like sex during pregnancy is such an important topic.  Family is growing, things are changing and you will hear people talk about how after kids they never have sex anymore.  It doesn't have to be that way- you can usually even have sex while pregnant.

Before we get started.

Dad- don't read this.  I am serious.

Moving on.

I have debated in my head if I should write this post for quite some time.

Maybe, despite my birth obsession, I am really a little prudish underneath it all.  Maybe talking about sex during pregnancy somehow qualifies as marriage advice and....Well, I think the last person I gave marriage advice actually left her husband.

So, I know I am not so good at that.

But really, the thing that makes me uncomfortable about talking about sex is that I think it is really a sacred thing.  I see it as the power of procreation entrusted to men and women.  I think it is a very serious endeavor and not one to just be spoken lightly of or treated irreverently in online, faceless forums.

Not only does sex give us the power to create life, it also is simply amazing it it's ability to bind two people together, to cement love, to wrap emotion forever around a relationship.

In short, I think sex is both pleasurable and also pretty serious business.  And I don't think everybody thinks that.  Frankly, the idea of tons of horrid comments kind of freaks me out too.  

With that glorious introduction, let's get started.

Sex and Pregnancy....dun dun duuuun!

Like birth, I think every body's experience with this is really very different.  When I talk to couples about this in class it seems like many of them (the ones who speak up at least) find pregnancy sex to be kind of fantastic because...............there is no pressure!  (Well, obviously there is pressure if you are pregnant.)  What I mean is there aren't worries.  You don't have to worry about TRYING to get pregnant and you don't have to worry about PREVENTING pregnancy.  You are already there!  Yahoo!

So, in that way, being intimate when you are pregnant can be a great thing for a couple, it is kind of stress free and you can just enjoy your time together.

But---this isn't how it works for everybody.

I have talked to women who have zero interest while pregnant.  Others have a very strong sex drive during pregnancy.  Men can be just the same.  Some men find their pregnant wives very desirable and others are simply not interested.  Some women have even told me that their husbands refuse to touch them until they have the baby and lose the baby weight.  (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I KNOW!  WTH?!)

Pregnancy impacts women differently.  For some the hormones and the changes associated with them cause either more or less desire.  Some women are quite ill and the idea of doing anything extra is just mind boggling.

Let's not forget that pregnancy impacts the dad too.  Many men who I talk to are really excited about having a baby, but also a little overwhelmed.  Some are planning on being the sole money maker after the baby comes and feel a lot of stress about that.  Others just worry about how it will impact the relationship with their partner or HOW they will be a dad.  This is new stuff! 

Having a baby directly involves three people, mom, dad, and baby.  And of course, it impacts the intimate relationship.  

(Now, despite my horrid track record in relationship advice, I am going to tell you what I think.  Don't feel obligated to listen.)

So, here are my thoughts on pregnancy sex.

If you love somebody enough to have a baby with them, then having a healthy relationship is probably worth the effort.  What does this mean?

It means compromise.

If dad still has a strong drive and mom is feeling tired, then you find a middle ground.  You show your hubby that you love him physically if he needs it.  He shows you sometimes that he can let you rest if that is what you need.  You give and you take and you keep things kind and civil and loving.

It actually makes me really sad to hear about a man who finds his wife kinda yucky just because she is pregnant.  I know that I feel so fat and disgusting when I am pregnant.  Even if I didn't want to have sex, it would just break my heart if my husband found me fat and disgusting too.

It also makes me feel kind of sad to hear of women who refuse to touch their partners when they are pregnant because they just don't feel like it, are tired, or whatever.  He may still need you in that way.  He may still need to be shown love by intimate touch.

The thing is, we all have needs.  Pregnancy sex isn't just about weird sex while pregnant- it is about relationships and keeping them healthy and strong.  That requires give and take, sacrifice and kindness, and love and respect from both people in them.  This doesn't end just because you are pregnant.  In fact, it is probably more important than ever.

So, be creative, (I am not going to draw pictures, but you can still enjoy each other-  SHEESH!) be kind, be loving, and be willing to compromise.  Your relationship is worth showing one another physical love- especially during transitional times like pregnancy.

(Disclaimer- if you are some kind of pervert reading this just go away and don't leave a comment.  It will stress me out. )



25 comments:

Unknown said...

It's quite cute that you feel so stressed about this blog post.

I agree with you anyway. It doesn't just apply in pregnancy either! Sex is very important for relationships all the time, for keeping people connected.

But I did have good pregnancies where I felt well and desirable and comfortable. No SPD etc. Maybe that makes a difference.

C. Beth said...

Great post...great relationship advice. :) I agree with Unknown (first commenter) that it's great advice for always.

chloe said...

What a shame that you felt so nervous about getting crappy comments :( Great post, and something that every pregnant couple needs to hear, whatever their un-pregnant sex-drive... sex can be amazing for some women during pregnancy because of all the increased blood-flow and as so often is the case with sex for women, it's as much a mental as a physical act. Once you believe your pregnant body is beautiful and desirable you can get a lot out of sex - exactly as you say - because there is nothing to worry about conception-wise, which is very liberating!

I'm in my 3rd trimester and have been totally up and down and all over the place with my hormones, from not wanting sex for weeks to being friskier than ever!! :)

Julene said...

I love you for posting this. I agree that sex is a sacred act and should not be taken lightly, as it is a way to physically bind the love between two people.

Give and take, such a simple concept, but worth mentioning because it is hard for people to remember that sometimes!

Annaleigh said...

I think it's very well written, and not pervy at all. It's great advice...and not just for those who are pregnant. Kuddos!!

Chelsea said...

Great post! I am so thrilled you talked about a woman's feelings but also the mans. I find too many people focus on what the woman wants/needs/feels and the men are forgotten. (I get it and am not blaming anyone,it's just something that happens sometimes unfortunately.) so bravo for looking at all aspects of sex during pregnancy.

I say again, great post!

Amy said...

I'm glad you posted this. I personally think sex is especially important during pregnancy. After all, the baby was made in the first place because of love and intimacy shared between two parents, and I think that is probably important for the growing baby. Again, just my opinion.

I worked with a woman who found out she was pregnant about a week before she got married. She, self-admittedly, ate a horrible diet, took poor care of herself, refused to drink water, and would often have coke and tylenol for breakfast or for frequent headaches (and post this on facebook). I was also pregnant at the time and mentioned something about pregnant sex. She made a disgusted look and informed me that she won't let her husband touch her, and he can wait until the baby is older. She said she was afraid that something might happen to the baby if she had sex while pregnant, and told me she knows nothing would happen, but if something did, she could never live with herself.

This broke my heart in many ways. First, this couple has NEVER had sex since they have been married. Baby is now about 2 months. Second, she was genuinely concerned about sex harming the baby, but not at all about her diet or the coke/tylenol combo. Sex is how the baby got there in the first place!

Anyway, just a little rant, but I am glad you posted this- I think it is an important topic to talk about. Personally, I really enjoyed pregnant sex. No pressure, and we enjoyed getting creative with positions.

Karen Joy said...

This is a great post.

I understand your stress... I almost didn't read it just because I believe sex is so sacred and it makes me sad how blithely it's treated in our society.

And, I have found what you have said to be 100% right. There's give and take. Sometimes, I make love with my husband even if I don't completely want to, because I understand that his wants are different than mine... sometimes we click on all cylinders and it's amazing. Sometimes, I just feel better for making him feel better, and a tiny bit like a saint for being so giving of my deepest self when I didn't really feel like it. :D

For me, in pregnancy, I've found that the second trimester rocks. I'm over the awful, pukey, exhausted first trimester, my hormones are sorted, I'm not too big to feel like a whale, and like you said, NO PRESSURE!!

Alex E said...

I like this article, it caught me by surprise because it felt like my wife wrote it.. I love her and I definitely find her desirable after being pregnant for the second time now... I also know there are times when she is not in the mood because she's got a lot going on with her body, mood swings and stress at work.. We do compromise and after a good foot rub she is usually ready to 'GO'... Thank you for being brave and writing this!

Leah said...

Both my husband's and my desire is there, unfortunately I get varicose veins in the vaginal area and they get very aggravated and worse with intimacy stuff. Has anyone delt with this? I'm young and at a great weight, it's just pregnancy hormones and week valves in my veins that seems to cause them to swell and cause pain. Such a shame because I love pregnancy, but miss intimacy and hate the discomfort :-/.

I guess I'm just venting here. But also just wanted to say thanks for sharing this. I'm also a Bradley teacher, and I'm a little modest in bringing up this topic in my classes but I always do because I think it's so important. If you can be comfortable- enjoy it!! And let's draw close to our hubby's who we are expecting to lean on for support during our labors. :)

Plus Size Mommy Memoirs said...

Great post! It's a topic all of us mamas have dealt with but it's not something that is talked about often. Good for you for taking this topic on!

Mama Birth said...

Leah-
Some midwives feel that extra vitamin C can help prevent varicose veins. I found that it does work wonders for me. A good vitamin C powder will be most absorbable and will have higher dosages. I personally believe that varicose veins are indicative of an deficiency in this area. Good luck-

Leah said...

Thanks for the tip. Do to know of a safe amount midwives or other nutritional experts would advise for pregnant/nursing moms?

Mama Birth said...

I don't. It is water solueable, so in theory you can take as much as you would like. If you take too much you will start to notice loose bowels, so I stop before that point. Of course, combing your Vitamin C with your Iron or greens may work better for you too. Good luck!

Sara said...

Leah- I think that Mama Birth is correct about the dosing for vitamin C, particularly a good whole food version. You pretty much can't overdose on it without feeling kind of sick. So stop around there :)

I agree with this post completely- there has to be compromise. I've also heard women say that they haven't had sex since they got pregnant- my husband has a coworker whose wife refuses him because she's afraid she'll get pregnant! Their daughter is 2 and he says that they haven't been intimate since she got pregnant, wow.
Fortunately for me I feel great when pregnant, and I think that since this is number 2, my husband is less worried about "hurting" the baby, lol. We took a babymoon around 7 months in with this one and it was a lot of fun, as you said, NO PRESSURE. I know that won't last much longer, because my husband is adamant about no more kids after this one, so we need to make these last few weeks count!

Karen Joy said...

Leah, I was pretty bummed to find out that I had vaginal varicosities with my fifth. I didn't even KNOW they could go "up there". :( I found excellent relief with horsechestnut. There have been no official studies establishing the safety of horsechestnut during pregnancy, but it is generally regarded as safe. Also, make sure you're doing Kegel exercises. And lubricate a LOT. I hate the name (it sounds so dirty!), but Astroglide worked a lot better for me than KY, and was a lot less irritating. There's also a lovely garment called the Fembrace that is often covered by insurance, though it mostly helps with vulvar varicosities. http://www.fembrace.com/ And... when I was going through this, I experimented with both raw potato and raw garlic suppositories, but those were pretty messy. I got the best help from horsechestnut. :) Hope that helps!!

Michelle said...

This area has always been painful for me (physically, painful). But during month 8 of pregnancy it was great! :)

Kelly Brown said...

I appreciate this post and agree with you. I didn't have any trouble with sex during my first. The only problem was my husband wasn't crazy about my prego body and yes that did hurt. :( This time, however, I have felt soooo enormous that we can NOT have sex comfortably! I'm due in a couple days and these past three months have been tolling. We have never had sex less than in these past 3 months. I know it kills my husband but he has been a champ! We are counting the days until the baby is born and we get that 6 weeks ok to go note! LOL

~♥~April~♥~ said...

This is such a great post!!

I can't stand the movie/tv/hollywood take on sex during pregnancy. My hubby never freaked out that he was going to "hurt the baby" or anything like that. That's such a terrible visual.

Anyway, it really is SO important to continue that connection. My drive is much stronger than hubby's (all the time but) mostly during pregnancy. Even when our other three have absolutely exhausted me, I can ALWAYS muster up energy to be with My Man.

Dawn Marie said...

I love this post, thank you for putting aside your nerves about comments and posting it anyway. I have heard so many women say "I don't care what he wants" when they're pregnant, and it crushes me every time I hear it. Lucky for my DH, that doesn't apply to us. Men feel left out enough during pregnancy, taking away intimacy with their partner only makes it worse. Thanks again for posting this! I love your blog!

sam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jlfs said...

I was kind of upset by this post because it didn't mention a very important reality for sex during pregnancy. Sometimes, women are advised NOT to have vaginal intercourse during pregnancy by health care professionals. I had an extremely rare complication and was advised not to receive ANY form of sex. Even the slightest thing could cause a trauma that could be detrimental to my high-risk pregnancy. There were a few times my OB gave the "green light" to me and my partner, which unfortunately resulted in vaginal bleeding and another "sex ban." I felt that was a HUGE element left out of this post. What's your response, do you agree this was a shortcoming here?

Mama Birth said...

JLFS-
I don't know what I could have added on that front besides a list of ways that a husband and wife can feel intimate without intercourse. And frankly- I am totally uncomfortable with being that descriptive. Needless to say- there ARE things you can do (that don't involve porno or masturbation) that also don't involve penetration but still provide intimacy and sexual needs being met. If you want more details, you will have to ask else ware.

jlfs said...

I didn't ask you to give me instructions on how to be intimate with my partner. Grow up, don't be consdescending to someone who is giving constructive criticism. My comment is regarding how you told women and men to respect each partner's "needs" during the pregnancy. However, in a post about sex and pregnancy you completely overlooked mentioning that some couples deal with added realities and stresses in that they CANNOT have sex. This is a shortcoming of your work!!! It's not all about unfounded fears women and men may have about sex during pregnancy (or superficial body image issues), this is also about medical complications that may lead a couple to make certain decisions regarding intimacy that are necessary. Really, this is like writing about natural birthing without acknowledging that some women may require a c-section or writing about breastfeeding without acknowledging that some women truly have medical reasons not to.

Mama Birth said...

Oy vay. Thanks for reading. Feel free to add your own suggestions for improvement on this piece.

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