I was totally unprepared for pregnancy, and so I stocked up on prenatal books, met with an OB, and signed up for weekly email updates that tracked my fetus’ size via fruit analogies. I assumed I knew what to expect. But despite all my research, there was one aspect of pregnancy that managed to shock me — sex. I thought I’d be too tired to get down, or morning sickness would put a damper on my libido. Instead I found myself asking questions like, “Is it normal to feel sexy as hell during the second trimester?” and, “Do orgasms get stronger during pregnancy?”
Turns out, not every pregnant woman has that experience. Pregnancy can be filled with fantastic f*cks, or be a nine-month dry spell — it all depends on how your hormones behave. Some women will have an abundance of oxytocin, which can increase a woman’s need for intimacy, according to Live Science. Others may be busy fighting off fatigue and body image issues that they can’t get in the mood. Both situations are equally understandable and normal. But if you’re feeling extra frisky throughout those nine months, then you might want to prepare yourself, because sex is very different when you’re rocking a baby bump. As you prep for the things to expect when you’re expecting, here are 13 ways sex gets better (and yes, worse) during pregnancy.
1. Your Orgasms Feel AH-MAZING
Brace yourself for some powerful orgasms. Whether it’s because of increased sensitivity or a flood of oxytocin hormones, pregnancy sex can lead to some mega intense finishes. “Your entire genital and pelvic regions, including your uterus, are more engorged with blood, and the vaginal area becomes more sensitive,” Danielle Cavallucci, pregnancy coach and co-author of Your Orgasmic Pregnancy told Fit Pregnancy. “Any kind of stimulation, including mere fantasy, can often be enough to push an ‘engorged’ preggo over the edge.”
2. You Might Cramp After Pregnancy Orgasms
With the good comes the bad. I don’t remember having severe post-orgasm cramps, but it’s a pretty common issue. “After an orgasm, it’s normal to feel some cramps in the uterus,” Rebecca Odes, co-author of the pregnancy guide From The Hips wrote for Babble.com. “These are uterine contractions, and they actually happen after any orgasm — you just didn’t feel them when you weren’t pregnant.” Odes added that these might feel like mild menstrual cramps, but the intensity varies from woman to woman.
3. You Can Have More Orgasms
The first step to arousal is getting blood flow to the genitals, so pregnant women are one step ahead on the path to O-ville. “Many women find they can orgasm much more easily when pregnant,” Odes wrote. And good news: this can last long after pregnancy ends. “Many women find that the changes in their pelvic area after pregnancy and childbirth actually make orgasms easier to achieve...permanently.” YES!
4. You Might Not Actually Finish The Orgasm
As the third trimester wanes on, your formerly easy-to-achieve orgasms could be a major source of frustration. It might be harder to get into your favorite positions, or your full uterus might not contract like it used to. According to sex experts Anne Semans and Cathy Winks, authors of The Mother’s Guide To Sex: Enjoying Your Sexuality Through All Stages of Motherhood, your blood-engorged genital tissues — once the source of hail mary praises — can remain in a semi-arousal state that’s impossible to resolve. “You may orgasm over and over again without achieving a sense of completion, or you may find the release of orgasm seemingly just beyond your reach,” Semans and Winks told ExploringWomanhood.com.
5. Your Sex Drive May Be On Fire
Like me, many expectant women have high sex drives during pregnancy. “Many women find that their libidio goes through the roof during the first and second trimesters,” Dr. Laura Berman, sex and relationship therapist and author of Loving Sex: The Book of Joy and Passiontold Everyday Health. “During this portion of pregnancy, women experience an increase in vaginal lubrication and in genital blood flow. This can lead to a hypersensitive clitoris and an increased libidio, which leaves many women feeling very sexually aroused. (Pro tip: Enjoy it while it lasts, because sleep deprivation is coming.)
6. Your Sex Drive Might Totally Disappear
In speaking with Cheryl McMeeken, a sex and relationship therapist and author of 10 Sexpert Secrets, I learned just as many women have low sex drive during pregnancy. “Hormones are fluctuating wildly during the rollercoaster of delights that is pregnancy,” McMeekan says, noting that many women aren’t prepared for the major body image issues that get brought to light during pregnancy. When sex gets (temporarily) taken off the table, you’ll have to find alternative ways to keep your intimacy going. “The point is to stay connected emotionally and physically. You could share foot or back rubs for example, while chatting about how you are both feeling about the process you are going through. Physical touch works wonders to maintain the bond,” McMeeken suggests. Even if you can’t stomach touching anywhere below the belt.
7. You Have Sexy Knockers
For the bust-challenged amongst us, a new set of bigger, sexier boobs is enough to strip off your clothes and get busy stat. Especially during the second-trimester sweet spot — when the size of your belly hasn’t caught up to the size of your chest — you might feel like the va-va-voom vixen you’ve always wanted to be.
8. Your Breasts Might Be Sore And They Might Leak
Those breasts aren’t just for show anymore; they’re gearing up to work. So while your partner might be wagging their tongue at your new double-Ds, you might wince in pain as his hands hover above them. (Sore, swollen breasts is a very common pregnancy symptom.) And, as the American Pregnancy Association points out, since your breasts start to produce colostrum during the second trimester (a watery pre-milk for newborns), you might start leaking some discharge — especially when your breasts are massaged or sexually stimulated. It’s normal, if not slightly mood killing.
9. You’re Basically A Fertility Goddess
Most men have an innate biological attraction to fertility, inexplicably turning you into a lustful pregnant goddess. So even if you feel like a bloated, humongous version of your former self, your partner’s heart-eye-emoji glances can help you feel sexier than ever.
10. Your Partner Might Be Turned Off
Don’t take it personally if your partner is more skittish and scared around your life-growing body, or if his sex drive takes a dive. According to researchers at UPenn, men actually experience hormonal changes during pregnancy, too — like a change in testosterone, prolactin, and vasopressin hormones. And in interviewing Rebecca Wong — a relationship therapist who helps parent couples reconnect — she said it’s extremely normal for partners’ sex drives to ebb and flow during pregnancy. “What’s key is that you are tuning in and acknowledging the changes you both feel,” Wong says, which can be as much psychological as hormonal.
11. You’re Forced To Get Creative
While those curves might amp up your sex appeal, one specific curve — your growing belly — can get in the way during typical romp sessions. And yet all that does is force you to get a little creative and try some pregnancy sex positions. Change it up; you might find some good moves to keep in your repertoire after that belly is long gone.
12. You're Going To Feel Oh So Tired
“Things happen to your [pregnant] body that no one tells you about, and it can be a terrible shock to your mental, emotional, and physical systems,” McMeeken says. “Pregnancy is not all glowing and feeling the miracle of life inside of you. It can also be about the ‘3 H’s,’ as my friend used to call them: hemorrhoids, hip aches, and heartburn. As you can imagine, these things don’t exactly put a girl in the mood.”
13. You Can't Get Pregnant
No matter what you saw on Reddit, it’s extremely rare to get pregnant while pregnant. Like — almost biologically impossible. (There is an odd, statistical rarity called “superfetation,” when a pregnant woman releases an egg a few weeks into her pregnancy, which is then fertilized.) “Pregnancy hormones usually shut down a woman’s system, making it impossible for her to ovulate during her pregnancy,” Connie Hedmark, an obstetrician at Marquette General Hospital in Michigan told Baby Center, explaining why superfetation is so strange and remarkable. So go on and ditch the condoms (unless there’s a chance of STDs! and; turn off your phone’s birth control alarm. Get caught up in the moment and enjoy those abundant and intense orgasms that may or may not be happening.