Sex During and After Pregnancy
It's normal to have hesitations about sex during or after pregnancy.
Jun 01, 2017Pregnancy & Postpartum
Practicing Nurse Practitioner
San Francisco, CA
Barbara Dehn RN, MS, NP is a practicing Nurse Practitioner and a television health expert, who's known as Nurse Barb. She is passionate about health education, whether it's 1 on 1 with a patient, in a lecture hall at Stanford or with millions of people watching on television. Her warm and engaging personality puts everyone at ease as they learn more about health.
Nurse Barb is the award winning author of the Personal Guides to Health used by over 5 million women in the US, with titles ranging from fertility and pregnancy to menopause and breastfeeding. Active in Social Media, she contributes content to HealthyWomen, Huffington Post, NurseBarb, KevinMD and The Patch and amplifies her reach with an active and engaged Facebook following and 34,000 Twitter followers.
She is the author of The Hot Guide to a Cool Sexy Menopause, Nurse Barb's Guide to Breastfeeding and Nurse Barb's Guide to Pregnancy.
Barb earned a masters degree from UCSF and a BS from Boston College. She is certified by the North American Menopause Society and is a Fellow in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Over the last 2 years, she has been an active participant in Global Health Initiatives at FAME Hospital in Karatu, Tanzania. Barb lives in the San Francisco Bay area.Full Bio
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Many women have questions about whether it's OK to have sex during pregnancy, if intimacy will lead to labor or bleeding and whether it's normal to be lots more interested in sex or completely turned off.
The trouble is, very few of us are comfortable asking our health care providers and so rely on friends or the internet for information.
The truth is:
Feeling Frisky—or Not
Many women experience a happy surprise with an increased interest in sex when they're pregnant. This may be a result of the increased blood flow to the pelvic region leading to more spontaneous lubrication and more powerful orgasms.
As the hormones increase, the breasts also start getting larger. Women and their partners can be turned on by the changes in the breasts or find that the rapid growth results in pain and tenderness in the breasts and nipples, leading to hesitation or avoidance of intimacy. Both experiences are normal.
Often the combination of nausea, fatigue, anxiety and hormone fluctuations make sex seem like the last thing you want to do. You may feel so tired that all you want to do is sleep. Some couples avoid intercourse because they feel like the baby is watching, or because your new figure, stretch marks or other body changes are less than flattering.
Celebrity photos of perfect post-pregnancy bodies may also cause women a little body image concern. All these feelings are normal.
Whatever your desires, or lack of desires, the most essential aspect to your sexuality while pregnant is open communication with your partner
After the Birth
Giving birth, whether vaginally or by cesarean section, is difficult on your body. After a woman delivers a baby, It typically takes four to six weeks until she is ready to have sex. Talk to your health care provider for an individualized timeline.
Even after you are given the "OK," you may feel too fatigued for sex. Don't worry—you can enjoy intimacy in other ways.
There are certain things to be on the lookout for. If you experience any of the following, do not have sex. Consult your health care provider if you have:
Your provider might also recommend avoiding sex if:
This blog originally appeared on Nurse Barb's Daily Dose. Barb Dehn is a women's health nurse practitioner, award-winning author and nationally recognized health expert. She practices with Women Physicians in the Silicon Valley of California.