Decreased Sex Drive During Pregnancy Happens For These Totally Normal Reasons
Our culture seems to have an obsession with pregnant celebrities, from their weight gain (too much! not enough!) to their sex drive (off the charts!). I can still remember reading about how one particular celebrity had the biggest "O" of her life while she was pregnant. So, when I found myself expecting my first, I was also expecting to feel that boosted mojo. Yet, the opposite happened. So why do women have low sex drive during pregnancy, while others feel their sex drive go into overdrive?
First and foremost, it should be stressed that it's normal to be completely sex adverse during pregnancy, or alternately, a little sex crazy. "Keep in mind what is normal for your best friend may not be normal for you and your partner," explains Barbara VanDersarl Slocum, CNM, WHNP, a certified nurse midwife at Lone Tree OBGYN, in an interview with Romper.
And if you're really not feeling it in the bedroom, there may be more than a few factors at work. To pinpoint what might be going on with your libido, it's helpful to look at what's going on with your body by trimester. "There are so many reasons as to why a woman may feel a decreased libido during pregnancy, starting with nausea! Who wants to get busy when everything makes you feel like throwing up?" says VanDersarl Slocum.
It's true that the morning sickness so common in the first trimester can make everything difficult. And if you factor in the intense fatigue that many women feel during the first twelve weeks, there's even more of a reason to want to put sex on the back burner. "Fatigue during pregnancy is a real thing. Many women feel they could sleep for 12 hours, wake up for an hour and go right back to bed. While this level of exhaustion is usually resolved by the second trimester, if mom has a child(ren) at home already, her ability to sleep at night or nap during the day maybe be impacted, so she may remain tired the entire pregnancy," explains VanDersarl Slocum.
Once you enter the second trimester, the so-called Golden Trimester, many women start to see the nausea subside and their energy levels return. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that your sex drive will return with it. In fact, low sex drive during pregnancy is sometimes more mental than physical. "A more common reason [for low libido] is because a woman is unhappy with the changes in her body, usually weight gain, and she no longer feels attractive and her sex drive diminishes," says VanDersarl Slocum.
Even celebrities have admitted to having issues with pregnancy sex. Khloe Kardashian said that she felt "uncomfortable and insecure" during intimacy when she was pregnant, according to Refinery 29. "As I got into my third trimester and started to get bigger, it became harder to have sex and a little more uncomfortable and limiting... Also, you can't move the same, so you kind of feel useless, LOL," said Khloe in the same Refinery 29 article.
It's also important to acknowledge other mental barriers that might be affecting your sex drive while you're expecting. "A previous early pregnancy loss, difficulty conceiving, fear of miscarriage, previous pregnancy complications — all of these experiences can make a woman fearful of harming her baby or worse, losing the pregnancy," explains VanDersarl Slocum.
While sex during pregnancy is considered safe, unless specified by your doctor, according to the Mayo Clinic, that doesn't necessarily mean that you'll feel like it's safe. And let's be honest, anxiety isn't exactly an aphrodisiac.
If you're feeling the opposite of "randy", the most important thing you can do is be honest with yourself. VanDersarl Slocum recommends that you ask yourself: "What is "normal" prior to pregnancy and where are you now? What would you and your partner be happy with? What have you tried? Are your labs normal? Are you fearful and is there a reason to be? Do you feel attractive?" From there, VanDersarl Slocum recommends looping in your partner about how you're feeling.
"You may hate the curve in your hips you have developed and they may think it is the sexiest thing ever. You are a team. You have each other to work through this. You have this!" she reassures.
And even if you don't feel lusty right now, that doesn't mean there aren't other ways to connect as a couple. There are ways to "maintain intimacy without intercourse," according to Healthy Women, whether it's simply about making an effort to hold hands more, or to get out and do an intellectually or physically stimulating activity together.