Australia's fertility rate has dropped again, this time because of the GFC.

Pregnancy and birth

While pregnancy is the beginning of many physical and emotional changes, you will be pleased to know that, unless you have been advised otherwise for medical reasons, it is safe to have sex while pregnant. In fact, you may find sex is better than ever.

Throughout your pregnancy it's normal for your desire for sex to change. During the first trimester, you may experience the common symptoms of tiredness and nausea, both of which can lessen sexual interest. The good news is that this will probably be followed by renewed interest in the second trimester, with the return of feelings of well-being, energy, vitality and libido! Bear in mind though, that towards the end of your pregnancy, interest may wane again due to increased size and a general lack of desire.

Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?
YES! Unless there is any medical reason to prevent it. In fact, during pregnancy, your body contains higher levels of hormones. These hormones cause physical changes, which in turn can create a heightened feeling of sensuality. Sex during pregnancy can be more stimulating and satisfying than ever, with some women experiencing orgasm or multiple orgasms for the first time.

In addition, your partner will probably enjoy the fact that you are experiencing feelings of enhanced sensuality, and may also find your new shape and extra curves quite sensual as well.

What physical and sexual changes occur?
During pregnancy, progesterone and oestrogen generally create a feeling of well-being and contentment, and can result in a glowing complexion, supple skin and healthy, shiny hair. These general physical changes are accompanied by more specific changes that can result in a fantastic physical relationship during pregnancy.

Increased oestrogen levels lead to an increase of blood flow in the pelvic area, causing the swelling that usually occurs when a woman is sexually aroused. Also, the nipples become darker (which can be attractive to your partner) and the breasts become larger, more sensitive and capable of feeling extreme sensation when touched or kissed. With all these nerve endings feeling super-sensitive, arousal is quicker and sensations are more intense and lasting, including orgasm.

When can we have sex?
Anytime - as long as there are no medical reasons preventing it and providing you're not too vigorous. There is no reason for you to stop making love during pregnancy unless, of course, your labour starts!

What are the best lovemaking positions during pregnancy?
Whatever is comfortable for both of you. At some point, the missionary position will become uncomfortable, so you will need to experiment with rear-entry, side-by-side and sitting positions. Don't forget sensual or erotic massage and oral sex too.

What are the benefits of continuing sex during pregnancy?

  • Physical and emotional bonding between you and your partner - this is important, as you are about to embark on a new journey together as parents. The closer you are the easier it will be.
  • Preparation of the pelvic muscles for childbirth - sex will help to keep your pelvic muscles toned and strong for the extreme physical experience ahead.
  • Enjoyment! Being pregnant is a new experience and there's no reason why it can't be a new sensual experience too.

What if sex isn't enjoyable?
There are many physical and emotional changes during pregnancy. While some sexual relationships may improve during pregnancy, others may stagnate or suffer.The best approach is to be open with one another about your feelings, needs and expectations.

This may be an ideal opportunity to build on your sexual relationship, explore each other and find new ways of giving each other pleasure. The best way to overcome any difficulties is to spend time talking. Try to build security and a feeling of closeness by focusing on your love for each other rather than just your sex life (or lack of it!). Chances are if you feel intimate and close, more intimate and satisfying lovemaking will follow.

It might be a good time to indulge in a loving, sensual and erotic massage to set the mood!

Need advice? Do you have questions about sex during pregnancy?

Ask others in the pregnancy tips and information forum.