Change in Sexual Desire While Pregnant
Pregnancy is exciting. It opens up a whole new world for you and your partner. It’s a time filled with change, both external and internal, that will be great as well as not so great.
If you’re used to having an overactive sex drive, or maybe a not so active one, you’ll want to keep reading. Pregnancy changes your body in many ways, one of which includes major fluctuations of your sex drive.
You’ll go from one extreme to the other, but never fear.
These fluctuations are normal… and knowing what to expect in advance helps you combat them without sending your mind into a whirlwind of anxiety.
What is Libido?
The first thing you need to understand is what a sex drive really is. In layman’s terms your sex drive (a.k.a. libido) is simply a person’s desire to have sex1. It’s been around forever and has helped our ancestor’s find mates and conceive children throughout the decades.
It’s crucial to life and without it… none of us would be here.
Physical and emotional factors do play a part, but hormones are the overarching forces that drive desire.
Understanding Pregnancy Hormones
At puberty, a tiny gland called the pituitary gland begins signaling your body to start developing and secreting sex hormones2. Women know this time well; it’s when your first menstruation begins.
But it also is a time when sexual desires increase thanks to the production of estrogen and progesterone.
- 1. Estrogen
- Estrogen is the primary female hormone and controls the female sex organs5. The level of estrogen in your body directly correlates to your sex drive explaining why fluctuations during pregnancy are completely normal.
- 2. Progesterone
- Progesterone is estrogen’s pregnancy supporting sister5. It’s a little more mysterious in regards to what role it plays for sexuality, but it definitely makes a contribution.
Changes in Sex Drive
So what should you expect? The simple answer… it depends.
Every woman is different and every pregnancy is different. However, across many women there is “bell-curve” trend in sex drives that coincides with each trimester.
- 1. First Trimester
- During the beginning of the first trimester, most women experience a decrease in their sex drive.
This is primarily due to the fact that the first trimester is coupled with morning sickness and nausea, fatigue and an increase in tenderness2. Rapid changes in hormones contribute to morning sickness and fatigue and cause women to push sex to the back of their minds. If you are looking for remedies to beat morning sickness, check out our tips.
You will also be overwhelmed with all of the planning and preparation that comes with a new child or start to worry about having a safe and healthy pregnancy.
For some women, the changes in hormones have the opposite effect. Increased libidos should never be something to worry about.
If you’re one of the lucky ones, just go with it! It’s completely safe.
- 2. Second Trimester
- The second trimester is when your sex drive kicks into high gear.
Your body has gotten used to the influx of hormones and your activated libido is coupled with a renewed energy. You’ve also moved on from nausea, so you’re finally feeling great again physically.
During the second trimester your body starts to produce more fluids in order to meet the needs of your growing baby1. This translates to an increase in blood flow to your breasts, sexual organs and vulva3.
Arousal increases along with an increase in sensitivity and sexual pleasure.
Estrogen and progesterone continue to rise and are coupled with physical effects on your body including an increase in vaginal lubrication and sensitivity of your breasts and nipples3.
If you feel like your sex drive has kicked into overdrive during your second trimester, you’re not alone.
Another great libido boosting effect of the second trimester is the new curves you’ve developed. Your breasts have enlarged and you’ve gained new curves around your hips.
It’s a period of time where you’re not fat and your stomach doesn’t jiggle3… you’re just pregnant!
- 3. Third Trimester
- As you move into your third trimester your sex drive is likely to decrease again.
With the due date approaching many women start to focus on the delivery and preparation more and put sex on the back burner. They start to think about the health of the baby and less about the health of their sex life.
A growing belly can make you feel more self-conscious and less sexy. Along with any image changes, some positions can be uncomfortable or awkward for you and so you’d rather not have sex at all1.
If your sex drive is still active and you find sex painful, try a few different positions. As the pregnancy advances deep penetration gets more uncomfortable so finding what works best for you is important.
- 4. Post Pregnancy
- After you’ve delivered, your sex drive will take a few months to return back to normal. Let your body heal and spend time with your new loved one; your sex drive will get back to normal.
How to Deal with Changes in Sex Drive During Pregnancy
At the end of the day whatever libido changes you incur throughout your pregnancy are inevitable. Just remember that it is normal and each pregnancy is unique.
You could have a super-charged sex drive for your first pregnancy and an almost non-existent one for your next. That’s okay. Just like the physical and emotional changes you experience, your desire for sex and the pleasure you receive from it will change4.
Knowing what to expect is important, but if you are still concerned here are 5 actions to take to help ease your worries2.
- Speak with your primary doctor about sex and pregnancy to make sure there are no underlying complications or concerns.
- Look into some new sexual positions that help you feel more comfortable during pregnancy.
- Talk to your close friends about their experiences with fluctuating sex drives during pregnancy. Everyone goes through it!
- Avoid anything that is physically painful or make cause you emotional distress. Never do anything you are uncomfortable doing.
- Communicate with your partner. Find ways to be intimate in order to satisfy each of your needs.
Communicating With Your Partner
Communicating with your partner is one of the most difficult things to do during pregnancy. With heightened emotions and an increase in sensitivity, it is important to be clear about how you feel.
Remember, your partner does not understand what you’re going through. Make sure you sit down and talk about things as your pregnancy progresses.
Communicate that you are not quite in control of some of the impulses you’re feeling or how your sex drive has been turned over to the hands of your hormones and your body6. When your sex drive is higher, embrace it and enjoy the intimacy with your partner. When it’s lower, find other ways to connect intimately.
All of the changes during pregnancy will be stressful and frustrating, but knowing what to expect will help. It never hurts to be educated and prepared, especially when it comes to your pregnancy. If you are ever worried about the safety of your child, please make sure to discuss it further with your doctor. You can also find more great pregnancy tips, info, and product reviews on our website.
If you have any stories or tips on how you and your partner kept up with your libido changes during pregnancy, share with us below or post on our Facebook page!