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Sex and pregnancy tips - what’s helpful and what’s not

Love and Sex · 4 min read

Trying to get pregnant? Baby on the way? We asked registered sex therapist Emma Waring how sex can change — for the woman as well as her partner — and for her advice for when you’re trying for a baby and during pregnancy. 

Does sex change when you’re trying for a baby?

Many couples feel sex changes when they start trying for a baby. They may decide they want to conceive and start off with a fairly relaxed approach, but it doesn’t take many months for them to feel disappointed when they do not get pregnant. The act of sex, one that felt purely about pleasure and closeness, now has another focus, which can make it feel functional. 

Perhaps couples are suddenly making love much more frequently than they were. The NHS guidelines for conception recommend that a couple make love every two to three days. This can start off as a novelty but as the months go on, this wears off and sex can feel very pressured. 

How to keep sex enjoyable when you’re trying to get pregnant

There is no easy answer to this, but being an intimate team is important here. It is crucial that you talk to your partner about how to keep the enjoyment alive and it may help to broaden your sexual repertoire. Toucan Together’s Loving Module covers many aspects of love, sex and romance, and can open up some helpful conversations between you and your partner.

Something like introducing a vibrator can be helpful to increase arousal. I also think it is important that couples continue to make love during the times of the month that are less fertile, so some of the focus remains on their pleasure and intimacy, and not purely on getting pregnant. The NHS provides some useful information for those trying to conceive.

Is it ok to have sex with a baby on the way?

It is wonderful when a couple discover they are pregnant, but this can sometimes pose other challenges. Should we stop having sex? Will sex harm the baby? Typically, it is safe to have sex throughout pregnancy, but it is important to discuss this with your midwife. Every situation is different and there may be other medical issues that need to be taken into consideration. 

How does being pregnant affect sexual desire?

During pregnancy, a woman’s body changes significantly. Perhaps she loves this; perhaps she does not. Some men embrace their partner’s changing body shape; others do not. How a couple feels during pregnancy can vary hugely. This is another example of how important it is for a couple to be able to talk candidly about how they are feeling. Issues such as how a partner feels about his wife’s pregnant body need to be handled with great sensitivity, but it is possible for couples to share these feelings respectfully, and for the truth to be said in a way that draws both together.

Does pregnancy affect sex drive?

During pregnancy, hormones can significantly impact how sexual a woman feels. Some women notice a significant increase in their libido, particularly in the second trimester (from 12 to 24 weeks). This can be lovely for the couple or it can be challenging, especially if the man does not find his pregnant wife’s changing body very arousing. Ultimately, we feel how we feel and it is important to be kind to one another and to try to explore how to get the best out of a situation that may not be perfect.

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Toucan Together can help you improve many aspects of your relationship: discover deeper ways to communicate; find positive approaches for resolving arguments; learn to speak each other’s Love Languages®️; build friendship, intimacy and a great sex-life. Get started by taking the​‘Pulse’ of your relationship with our short research-based quiz and see the health of your relationship across seven key indicators. GET STARTED NOW

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