Pregnancy is a blessing that can include swollen feet, nausea, back pain, an inability to get a good night's sleep and quite possibly some of the best sex of your life.
Yes, you read that correctly.
"Pregnancy is a time for women to revel in their sexuality," certified personal trainer Leah Keller, founder of the Every Mother pre- and post-natal fitness program, told TODAY Parents. "For many women, myself included, pregnancy can lead to a heightened sex drive, and the unique hormonal changes brought on by pregnancy can lead to peak sexual desire, pleasure and satisfaction."
Sex is natural, sex is fun... even during pregnancy
Many expectant moms (and dads) have concerns about getting busy with a baby on board. But unless your doctor or midwife tells you otherwise, sex during pregnancy is not only safe for most couples, it's good for you. Sex can be a stress reliever for both partners during this time of newness and uncertainty. It's also an effective way to keep your bond strong with your partner during pregnancy. (And for the record, there's no chance that even the most well-endowed dad-to-be can poke the baby!)
Many women find they get more interested in sex during pregnancy. "This is particularly true during the second and third trimesters, after the nausea, fatigue and uncertainty of first trimester have subsided," says Keller. Staying connected to your partner through sex (or even having some solo sex sessions) may be more appealing now that your blood volume is increasing and your hormones are through the roof. The added bonus of pregnancy sex is that the pressure is off to make a baby (or worry about birth control).
If you're ready for a roll in the hay, there are a few things to keep in mind:
We know that with your ever-expanding belly, this is easier said than done, but you will enjoy pregnancy (and pregnancy sex) a lot more if you accept the changes your body is going through. "Embrace the body’s changes, including new curves and heightened arousal levels," says Keller. "Own your sexiness. You might find that your partner will also be captivated by your more voluptuous body and the confidence that comes with harnessing your sexual desire. The more you can feel comfortable and sexy in your own skin, the more you can get in touch with your own pleasure and power." And remember, this rounder version of you is only temporary!
Be active outside the bedroom
Exercise, as long as it's approved by your doctor or midwife, can help alleviate some of the discomfort of pregnancy and will boost your mood as you anticipate baby's arrival.
Find the best sex positions for pregnancy
Pregnancy is the time to enjoy positions other than missionary, which Keller says is a no-no since lying flat on your back can reduce circulation. Try any of these positions, all of which can be done without putting pressure on your belly.
Woman on top, riding your partner. "This position gives you the most control over depth of penetration and intensity of stimulation," says Keller. "You can face either way. Partner may be lying in bed or seated upright in a sturdy chair. Play around with it! It’s also a bit of a workout."
Edge of the bed
"Recline on pillows at the edge of the bed, feet on the floor or perched on the edge of the mattress," suggests Keller. "Your partner stands or bends over you."
Lie on your side, curled up with knees bent. Your partner lies facing your back and enters you from behind. "Steamy and cuddly all at the same time!" says Keller.
"This is essentially doggy style, with you on all fours… but on the forearms instead of the hands," says Keller. "This avoids placing pressure on your wrists and allows you to rest more fully. You can even place a pillow under your belly for added support. If you are in your third trimester (and baby is low), try widening your stance. This will help with penetration."
Side by side
"Lie facing each other and keep your top leg straight and to the side or bent at the knee," says Keller. "Your partner will slide his leg over you and enter you from an angle. This helps keep weight off the belly and makes kissing easy."
With a little planning and a lot of positivity, sex can be a healthy and enjoyable part of your pregnancy. And once you have the go-ahead after baby's arrival, it can be something to keep you connected as new parents.