Your Three Trimester Guide to Pregnant Sex

Sex during pregnancy can be a highly enjoyable experience.

Pregnant couple in bed
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Pregnant sex is something you may have questions about. The body undergoes so many changes during pregnancy, and your sexuality is no different. There are times you may want sex in pregnancy and times you may not want sex at all. The key is to have really great communication about what you need and what your partner needs, because the vast majority of pregnant women and their partners report that sex in pregnancy is great.

Here is a look at the physical and emotional changes that might occur in each trimester and how they can affect your sex life:

First Trimester

Your breasts may be sensitive, causing either increased pleasure or pain. The first trimester is when your breasts undergo the most changes in terms of sensitivity and even size increases.  You may also notice that your areolas widen and darken along with your nipples.

It's also possible that nausea and fatigue may diminish your sexual appetite.

Threatened miscarriage may limit the amount of intercourse or orgasms you may have. Your midwife or doctor will tell you if this is the case.

Orgasms may seem to linger, causing a feeling of tension in your vagina and clitoris. Some moms-to-be describe this as a feeling of unresolved orgasm. One mom called it the true definition of "hurt so good."

You and your partner may find your desire for sex increased because, for once, you do not have to think about birth control.

This doesn't mean you're not at risk for sexually transmitted diseases: You are. If there's any question of an STD, take steps to protect yourself.

Some women find themselves preoccupied with the thought of sex, including dreams and strange fantasies. Sometimes these dreams are troublesome, like dreams of a cheating partner, other times women describe it as having an adult movie theater in their heads.

Neither is weird, both are just variations of normal.

Second Trimester

The vagina is more lubricated and the clitoris and vagina are more engorged. Many women will become orgasmic or multi-orgasmic for the first time during pregnancy because of this added engorgement.

Many women feel sexy with their new figures, particularly if they are feeling less sick than in the first trimester.

Whether your partner is male or female, they're very likely just to be grateful you're feeling well again, and happy to have anything going on in the bedroom besides sleep. Depending on what kind of sexual activity you and your partner engage in, he or she may worry about hurting the baby, or of the baby "knowing" what is going on, particularly once the baby has started moving more.

There's very little chance of your partner hurting the baby during sex, but if you have concerns talk to your doctor. Obviously, this is not the time to be shy; if your usual sexual activity is non-traditional or involves practices outside the mainstream, your doctor can tell you if you need to curb it during pregnancy.

But only if you're completely honest!

The only thing that should absolutely be avoided for pregnant women is a partner blowing air into the vagina. This could cause a placental air embolism.

Third Trimester

Your uterus will occasionally have spasms lasting upwards of one minute during orgasms. This is different from contractions. But contractions may occur near your due date after sex, sometimes for up to a half hour. Because of all the engorgement in the vagina and clitoris, orgasm may not relieve the sexual tension you feel.

If the baby's head is deep in the pelvis you may have pain or spotting during or after sex. This is normal. But if there are positions that are giving you pain, or make you uncomfortable, avoid them at this stage. And any bleeding, however trivial it seems, should be mentioned to your doctor.

Sex will not start labor if your cervix is not ripe, so the average woman does not have to worry about preterm labor.

The expectant mother will begin to become more fatigued in the third trimester, which can make timing difficult. And positioning at this stage may be a challenge, so prepare to be creative. Every pregnant woman has a different belly, so try different positions until you find one that works for you both. Remember mom-to-be shouldn't lie on her back, she needs to be at least tilted to one side.

At this stage of the game, the mother-to-be may be feeling self-conscious about her size, and worry whether she's still desirable to her partner. This is the time for the partner to step up and make sure mom-to-be knows she's as beautiful as ever.

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