For some women, pregnancy has no impact on their libido. And that’s awesome for them. However, a lot of women, myself included, aren’t really feeling super sexy in the first trimester of pregnancy. Who wants to hit the sheets when you’re feeling like you’re about to barf — unless “hitting the sheets” means taking a nap. And let’s not even start with the gassiness and bloating. As I’m approaching the second trimester, I’ve been wondering, which trimester do you get your sex drive back? Because these days, everything makes me feel uncomfortable, including my favorite jeans, and the last thing I want is someone else to touch my stomach, or anywhere else for that matter.
According to sexual psychophysiologist Dr. Nicole Prause, there have been many, many studies about this issue. So first of all, you're not alone. As far as when it comes back, Prause says, "Overwhelmingly, sex drive drops in the first trimester. This is attributable, in part, to many women experiencing nausea during this time." Prause explains that it's in the second trimester where many studies suggest sex drive may actually increase above baseline, "that is, where it was before the woman became pregnant," Prause adds. Why is that? Prause says it's often attributed to feeling increasingly connected and close to the parental partner.
Caitlin Hoff, a Health & Safety Investigator for ConsumerSafety.org agrees and tells Romper in an email interview, “Generally, though not always, a woman’s sex drive will return during her second trimester.” Hoff says your body will have had time to adjust and become comfortable with any extra “fluff” by then, especially since the horrible early pregnancy symptoms have faded. “Understandably, it is a whole lot easier for a woman to accept her new found curves and feel sexy again without the vomiting or fatigue from her first trimester,” she explains.
If your libido and mood feel completely foreign to you during pregnancy, that's pretty par for the course. “A woman’s nine months of pregnancy are full of fluctuating hormones that affect both her body and mood. One symptom that many women experience is a decrease in sex drive at different points during their pregnancy,” Hoff explains. So it’s not just that I feel like a human blimp, my brain isn’t really shooting off the sex drive sparks either. Good to know.
And apparently, I’m not alone. “It is very common for a woman to have a low libido during her first trimester. A lot of physical and chemical changes are happening in her body during the first trimester. Most women experience uncomfortable symptoms like exhaustion, nausea and/or vomiting, constipation, or heartburn during this first three-month period," Hoff explains. "When feeling sick or uncomfortable, it can be difficult to work up any amount of sexual desire. For some women, any intimacy, like a simple touch, can be too overwhelming when dealing with changing hormones and early pregnancy symptoms."
What if you’re still not feeling up for sex during any part of your pregnancy — even though you apparently have mind-blowing orgasms in the second trimester? Is that normal? Hoff says not to worry. “As we noted above, her first trimester is a mess of hormones and discomfort. While these symptoms typically subside during her second trimester, that is not always the case. A woman might still experience pregnancy symptoms, making sex the last thing on her mind. She might also just not feel comfortable in her new body. It can be hard for a pregnant woman to adjust to the changes in her body and feel sexy. If she isn't into it, sex can be a painful or intolerable experience. In the third trimester, a woman may again experience a low libido as she grows bigger and sex becomes more difficult.”
Prause agrees that there are many more "error bars" in the third trimester when it comes to your sex drive and having sex. She says while some women may have a higher sex drive, many will also experience a fall in sex drive at this time because it can become uncomfortable, your sleep may become more disrupted, and myths about concerns of fetal injury have all been associated with decreases in sex drive in the third trimester. Even though you can't hurt your baby when you have sex, it's hard to get over that mental block sometimes. Trust.
So if you’re not up for a romp in the sheets, Hoff says it’s important to remember you can differentiate between sex and intimacy. “Spending time together, going on dates, or curling up for a movie can strengthen a relationship and bond when sex is not an option, making pregnancy a much more enjoyable experience for both parties.”
Like most things with pregnancy — and people in general — every woman is different, and some women just can’t get used to their changing bodies and can’t get comfortable enough to be that up close and personal with their partner. And that’s totally OK and doesn’t make you a weirdo or prude. Other women can “get their groove back,” so to speak, in the second trimester — and amen to that because that’s when sex is supposed to feel the best for you. Just listen to your body and make sure your partner is aware of your feelings and boundaries when it comes to having sex while pregnant. And also remember, unless your partner is an a**hole, they’re gonna think you’re beautiful no matter how big your belly is. You are creating a child after all.
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