Sex – it’s what created your oversized stomach and those painful, middle-of-the-night, charley horse cramps. If you spent a few months or more trying to conceive, it’s likely your sex life was as exciting as the premiere of Breaking Dawn prior to pregnancy, only to be followed by a first trimester lull, thanks to nausea and fatigue.
By the time you hit the second trimester, something other than just your hips shift. Hormones kick into high gear, nausea subsides, and your libido matches that of a teenage boy’s. In fact, many women have a super-charged libido during pregnancy, says Dr. Jennifer Landa, MD and Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD in Orlando, thanks to an increase in hormones, such as progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone.
There’s just one problem that might get in the way: that big, old baby bump in the middle of your body.
While sex is typically considered safe during pregnancy – as long as the pregnancy is a healthy one – some moms feel self-conscious with the physical changes taking place. Wobbling when walking is only considered attractive to penguins; and the term “linea nigra” might sound like an exotic drink you’d sip on the beaches of the Caribbean, but the actual black hairs running from your belly button to your nether regions are anything but.
While your first instinct may be to cover it all up and feign nightly headaches for the next four months (much to the dismay of your husband), Jennifer Landa, M.D. and author of The Sex Drive Solution for Women: Dr. Jen’s Power Plan to Fire Up Your Libido, says it’s important to continue intimacy during pregnancy. “You want to remain close to your partner, and even strengthen the bond with your partner during this time,” she says – because those first few months of having a newborn around can put a stop to intimacy.
Take heed, pregnant ladies – you can feel sexy, even if you can’t see your feet. Here’s how:
- Exercise – Exercise gets blood flowing, relieves stress, and increases testosterone levels, which has been linked to an increase in self-confidence. As long as your doctor approves, you can continue to exercise throughout pregnancy; and you don’t need to run a marathon to see these wonderful effects. Make it a point to walk, dance, or do something else that gets you moving at least several times each week.
- Experiment – Landa says that with your expanding body you may find the sex positions you once enjoyed don’t work as well anymore. “Have fun finding new ones,” she says, like lying on your left side spoon-style or taking the lead on top.
- Dress Up – Check out lingerie that hides what you want to hide and accentuates the features that seemed to grow four cup sizes overnight. “Women forget to concentrate on our boobs getting bigger,” says Landa, because we spend so much time fretting about our expanding hips and butt. Put on something silky and pretty; you’ll feel good, and your spouse will love you for it.
- Pamper Yourself – Feeling sexy goes beyond the physical and includes doing things that make you feel good mentally as well. Pamper yourself by taking a lukewarm bath, getting a monthly massage or pedicure, finding a great salon for a sleek cut, or simply hanging out with good friends and laughing about the absurdities of life. When you don’t take time for yourself, says Landa, you don’t feel like giving something to another person.
- Consider using lubricant – Sometimes shifting hormones cause dryness and pain with sex, says Landa. While this is not unusual, it can be uncomfortable and unexpected. If you’re avoiding your husband due to dryness and pain, use a water-based lubricant.
What do you think? Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby: How to Feel Intimate with Your Growing Belly