The joy of (pregnant) sex

Pregnancy, in many ways, can be completely revolting.

Most women suffer morning sickness, many suffer heartburn, or my own personal favourite – swollen ankles.

The sweetener, if you will (apart from the baby, of course) is that all those swirling hormones can improve female orgasms. Big time.

Sex when you're expecting ... the best sex of your life?
Sex when you're expecting ... the best sex of your life? 

As an eight-months pregnant Jessica Simpson admitted, “I'm kind of unstoppable right now. The Big O is, like, the biggest O ever!”

I think it’s pretty awesome she lifted the lid. Female orgasms aren't generally a feature of mainstream media - unless you’ve unwittingly switched over to the porn channel - but it is something women talk about. My pregnant friend told me about the most incredible dream she’d had about a yoga teacher with special, erm, gifts. She woke up mid-orgasm. (Vivid dreams of course, being another fascinating side effect of pregnancy.)

I'm kind of unstoppable right now. The Big O is, like, the biggest O ever!

There's actually a scientific explanation for the Awesome Pregnant Orgasm. Increased oestrogen levels lead to an increase of blood flow in the pelvic area and make breasts more sensitive to touch. And once morning sickness has subsided, many women feel a sense of wellbeing, with shinier hair and better skin – that pregnancy glow.

Simpson posed nude for the first time while pregnant, insisting it was her idea. “'I'm like 170 pounds (77kg) and I wanted to pose nude. I try to be like 110 pounds (50kg). It's funny to be at your heaviest and feel the most confident. I just take such pride in being a mom! I just love my body more than ever now,'” she told radio host Ryan Seacrest.

All these happy hormones can be wonderful news for the partner of a pregnant woman. Another mum commented that “my 'mojo' was definitely rising in the second trimester. In fact I am sure my husband contemplates knocking me up again just to get that kind of action again.”

For most women, pregnancy sex is completely safe, particularly after the first trimester has ended and miscarriage risk has decreased. Some high-risk women may be warned by their obstetrician to avoid it for some or all of their pregnancy.

But while Jessica Simpson described her partner Eric Johnson, 32, as “always ready”, not all partners are quite so willing to satisfy their other halves.

The guys from Being Dad spoke to men about their pregnant sex fears. The comments ranged from “I’m scared of tapping the baby on the head” (physically impossible) to “It gets me too close to my unborn baby daughter.”

Rarely, they say, are men turned off by their partner’s weight gain or ballooning belly. They might just be scared of hurting her.

As the baby’s due date approaches, interest in sex may wane - carrying a 9kg sack in front 24/7 can tire a girl out. But achieving orgasm at this stage can be more important than ever. Orgasm usually causes the uterus to contract, which may help stimulate it in to proper labour contractions. Sex can also trigger the release of oxytocin, the "contraction" hormone. Yes, women can self-pleasure to induce labour, but men can play a part here too – semen contains a high concentration of prostaglandins that may help to ripen, or soften, the neck of the womb (cervix) ready for it to dilate when labour starts.

But a quick warning: finding a comfortable sex position at nine months gestation can be trickier than a drunken game of Twister.