Sex during pregnancy isn’t something we talk about much. I always felt a little funny mentioning my sex life when there was, um, a new life growing inside me. Honestly, pregnancy was such a crazy experience overall—between the hormones, morphing body, aches and pains, excitement and worries—how the hell could I have time to think about sex?
And yet, especially the first time, my identity as a woman was changing at a rapid pace, as was my relationship with my husband. I wouldn’t say I wanted sex every second of my pregnancies, but I also wouldn’t say I leapt away if my husband laid a hand on me. In fact, sometimes I enjoyed sex more than ever.
My sex drive changed about 50 times while I was pregnant, but there were definitely some general trends, often correlating to what trimester I was in (and also, let’s be honest, whether my bowels had moved that day):
1. The ‘We Made a Baby. We’re So Hot!’ Stage
It took us a long time to get pregnant with our first child, so once it finally happened, we were over the moon. Everything was lovey-dovey between us, and my husband seemed more virile than ever to me. Plus, we could have sex without the added stress of hoping it would make a baby—and all of this without birth control. Sex for that first week or two was amazing.
2. The ‘I’ll Vomit If You Touch Me’ Stage
Soon after I got my first positive pregnancy test, I waited for the nausea and uncomfortable symptoms to set in. I was like, “What is everyone talking about? I feel great! And look at my Dolly Parton boobs!” Then, a week or two later, I was hit with the worst bout of nausea ever. Sex? For most of the first trimester, I couldn’t go near my husband because—to me—he smelled like a combination of sweat, feet, and spoiled apples.
3. The ‘Wow. Why Is My Sex Drive So Insane?’ Stage
Once the first trimester was over, my sex drive was out of control. Do people talk about this enough? They should! At first, I was taken aback by it. It seemed a little taboo to be wanting to do dirty stuff with my husband while I was growing a little mini-person inside of me. But from talking to other moms (and consulting Dr. Google), I’ve learned that this heightened sex drive is a very common thing indeed. Hormones, extra blood flow to your lady parts, giant breasts—you get the picture.
4. The ‘Wait. What If We Break the Baby?’ Stage
There comes a time in pregnancy where it starts to seem very real that there is a baby in there. I mean, not only do you feel it moving around, but you can see it, and so can your partner. I remember lying there at night, and we’d watch my belly rumbling and rolling. My husband could feel the baby’s little head or butt—whatever that round mound was. That’s when both of us were totally freaked out about anything involving sex. We were sure we’d break the baby in half.
5. The ‘OK, I’ll Do Anything to Try to Get Labor Started’ Stage
I definitely got over the initial fear of breaking the baby during sex (though things were never as awesome as the second trimester for me when it came to sex), but soon after that I was as big as a whale. If I lay down, my heartburn was awful. If I stood up, there was so much pressure, I was certain the baby was going to drop right out of me. Basically, there was no way to get comfortable and sex was just off the table.
Then, during that last week or two, something switched: I just wanted the baby out, and I would do whatever it took. I had heard the rumors about semen working its magic there at the end—orgasms and nipple stimulation too. So I tried it all. I will say that I enjoyed it to some extent (though maybe not quite as much as my husband did). Who knows if it was that or something else, but a few days later, we had a baby in our arms.
Of course, having the baby didn’t mean that our sex life was back to normal—no way. And anyone who expects things to get back to normal right away is just plain naive. In fact, I probably should have had more sex during my pregnancies, because I certainly wasn’t having much for the first many, many months postpartum.
However, like everything else about the roller coaster of the first year of parenting, that changed too, and now my husband and I have a thriving sex life (or as thriving as it can be when we are the busy parents of two crazy boys).
Looking back on sex during pregnancy, I mostly smile fondly to myself. Parts of it were revolting; parts were awkward and uncomfortable. But most of it was just plain fun—with a healthy edge of ridiculousness—just as sex should be.