Return of the sex drive?
Once your partner’s morning sickness is more or less a thing of the past, it means you can breathe a massive sigh of relief. However, don’t get too comfortable just yet and although you might have heard that your partner’s sex drive could be returning with gusto, don’t count on it.
Yes, your partner might begin to feel like sharing intimate times with you, but there is every bit as much chance that she won’t.
For a start she might be too busy massaging her expanding belly with wheatgerm oil in order to ward off stretch marks; she might feel perturbed by the surprising reality of her breast and nipple size; she might simply be exhausted; and, finally, she might be beset with anxiety regarding the health of the baby.
It is true, however, that increased blood flow to the vagina and vulva mean there may be some increase in sex drive and sexual response and this means that even if she is not immediately inclined to feel like sex, if you gently provide the right setting, you just might hit the right buttons.
But don’t make it just about, well, sex – there is great value in enjoying intimate moments while you can. It’s about bonding and using the precious time without a tiny baby on hand to good effect. It’s too easy sometimes for couples to put their mutual sexual satisfaction right at the bottom of the list of priorities and this can set a somewhat depressing and unsatisfying pattern for the years ahead.
In fact, by making it a priority now you will be strengthening you partnership by showing each other that, whatever else may be happening, you still care enough about each other to be making the effort.
So, don’t push for full penetrative sex if she’s not in the mood though – the last thing your partner needs right now is pressure. There are other ways to explore intimacy, from a massage to a shared bath to a romantic meal followed by a Netflix cuddle. And you never know, if you take the pressure off, it just might work in your favour, eventually!
And don’t be afraid to embrace the reality you are in. Although you might laugh about the idea of sexy maternity wear, there is certainly no harm in surprising your partner with a thoughtfully bought maternity bra.
She’s tired – don’t take it personally
It is hard not to take it personally when our sexual overtures are turned down, particularly if we have put a lot of thought and effort into creating the right mood.
There is though no need for you to furiously blow those candles out or to pointedly clatter the plates as you wash up the tower of dishes created by your failed attempt at an aphrodisiacal three-course meal.
It is completely natural that your partner might be feeling fatigue at week 15 in her pregnancy. If she barely has the energy to get herself into bed it is, frankly, unrealistic that she might then want to engage in a bit of lovemaking, particularly if she is not yet on maternity leave and is still working her full quota of hours. And why wouldn’t she feel tired: almost all her energy is currently being channelled into the nurturing of new life.
If she doesn’t feel up for it, there is still plenty of other stuff you can do to affirm and develop your bond: stroking, massaging her head or body, kissing and whispering sweet nothings are all ways to ensure that your relationships doesn’t come a poor second to your developing baby.
She feels unsexy
Some mothers-to-be really struggle to get in the mood when they feel about as sexy as a tank in a maternity frock. This is natural, particularly for those who are already body conscious before pregnancy.
If your partner feels this way, you can help reassure her by tactfully focusing on those aspects of her body and sexuality you know she feels confident about. If you know that she is proud of her long wavy hair, it can pay to focus on that; if you know that she is proud of her legs, draw attention to them with a nice massage; if she is pleased with her swelling breasts, help her revel in this positivity.
In fact, for some women, pregnancy can be a time to develop self-confidence and new ways of appraising both body and sexuality. You can help your partner quash some of the more restrictive ideals of female attractiveness and sexuality and to replace them with something healthier and more rooted in the reality of fertility and motherhood. Celebrate her blossoming body and she will grow in confidence. As a result you will all benefit: mother, father and baby.
Concern about harming the baby
A lot of men and women worry that penetrative sex might hurt the baby. However, unless you have been warned otherwise there is nothing for you to worry about – sex does not cause miscarriage.
Doctors, midwives and obstetricians all agree that there is no risk to having sexual intercourse during pregnancy. This is because the growing baby is protected by amniotic fluid as well as the muscles of the uterus.
While there are a few medical reasons not to have sex – your partner’s waters have broken, she has placenta praevia, there are signs of premature labour – most forms of sexual intimacy are perfectly fine. However, anal sex can be risky in terms of triggering a UTI and, in some rare cases, vaginal oral sex (blowing into the vagina) can cause an air embolism which can be dangerous to your baby and your partner.
Good times, happy days
All in all, sex in pregnancy can be great. Be sensitive, be understanding, be patient if necessary and you and your partner can not only spend the pregnancy growing a baby, but also growing a new bond of changing desire. After all, when the baby comes, everything will change, so get used to being adaptable now, and it’ll be easier in the long-run.