Article Updated January 5, 2017

Even if you are told there is no risk of having sex during pregnancy (unless otherwise advised), many future parents worry about it, especially at the start of pregnancy. Some are scared it might cause a miscarriage or bother the baby in their mother’s tummy. Many won’t talk about it when seeing their health professional because they are embarrassed. But you need to talk about this issue when preparing for childbirth.

It’s clear that a good sex life for the parents will have no impact on the baby. On the contrary! The pregnancy can be a time when the couple deepens its affective and sexual communications. While many cultures and religions frown on sexual relations during pregnancy even today, there are few reasons not to. These can include bleeding, early labour or other specific medical issues. However, even if this is the case, nothing prevents hugging and being close to one another, which can be energising for the couple.

Communications is essential to express your feelings as you move towards childbirth.

Pregnancy will, of course, modify a couple’s sex life. Physical and psychological changes throughout gestation can lead to a change in body image and perception the mother has of herself and can interfere with her sexual needs and libido. Communications is essential to express your feelings as you move towards childbirth.

In fact, a couple’s sexual needs vary and change during pregnancy. Consequently, the couple has to use their imagination and dynamic character to overcome constraints that may show up as the pregnancy advances. For example, sex may become uncomfortable or impractical, which will lead the two partners to widen their range of stimulation or change their positions. This creativity will increase if their love link is tight and are open in their communications about sex before the pregnancy.

Sex can be relaxing and fun and lead to tighter links between the couple. The orgasm a woman feels during pregnancy can be different than usual, and often it will be more intense due to her increased blood volume, especially during the second trimester. Father’s will experience new feelings for their partner as she changes physically. The fact that she is sharing her body with the baby can become intimidating. But you always have to continue to show your partner that she is desirable in your eyes, tell her she is beautiful, and do little things for each other to show you care.

Some women can have pain during sexual relations before becoming pregnant. 4-22% of women will experience this, which can include pain during surface or deep penetration (rubbing). This can be caused by insufficient lubrication, vaginitis or vaginosis, urinary tract infections or other issues. When the pain is felt at the vaginal entrance (with or without the clitoris), this is called vestibulitis (or provoked vestibulodynia), which is a burning pain during sexual relations or when inserting a tampon, and even when wearing tight clothing. This issue does not have a clear cause but is rather frequent in young and adult women. To diagnose vestibulitis, the doctor will do a pressure point test with a Q-tip, and the pain will occur when touching the site directly.

If you are faced with this situation, there are specialised physiotherapy treatments for the pelvic floor (in french) that can help by lowering the sensitivity of the zone that makes you uncomfortable. It will significantly improve your sexual relations with your partner without having to have surgery, which is called a vestibulectomy.

Fathers will vary in how they react to the unavailability of their partner. Some may become frustrated by their lack of sex. Masturbating is another way to meet their needs. Don’t forget, a relaxing, close atmosphere can help your partner want to make love. And make sure you keep the fun in your loving…

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