..where little means a lot


Sex and the Expectant Father

Many fathers to-be feel uneasy or even afraid at the prospect of having sex with their pregnant partners. Too much of uncertainty makes the whole act uncomfortable for both parties. The doubts and fears don't help the situation. Since sex is more than adult playtime, (it is a medium of expression showing your care and concern for each other) you need to be sure of the facts before drawing conclusions. As the expectant father there are a couple of things you need to understand and accept.

Your emotions

  • This means both of you have issues although the import differs. First, understand the emotions your partner is undergoing due to the hormonal changes which are not in her control. It is a lot like the changes a woman experiences just before her monthly period, only more unpredictable and sometimes more dramatic.
  • The emotional upsets are never quite simple; listen entirely and understand what she is going through before offering reassurance.
  • On the flip side even you have your own issues, mostly to do with finances (and sometimes to do with sex, maybe). Many things are changing; you feel burdened to push yourself to do more to meet those changes.
  • A challenging time for both, but many couples do not take stock of the situation but begin to drift apart instead. With such insecurities and upsets around a close physical relationship becomes all the more important.
Men do not menstruate so their moods do not fluctuate because of this. Women, though they have stopped menstruating still go through upswings and downswings because their moods are still linked to the rhythms of their body.

Your sexual feelings

  • Now you are entering a period of uncertainty and even confusion. Not only is your partner changing physically, her libido is also perhaps affected. But for how long?
  • For some couples sex remains or becomes a gratifying experience during pregnancy. This may have to do with the joy of becoming parents, the freedom from menses and contraception. For others the reverse happens.
  • A change in libido is very common. In a pregnant woman libido change is more pronounced and is often linked with waning interest in sex at the beginning and sometimes in the last months of pregnancy.
  • Further, many women tend to view themselves as unattractive and this affects their self-esteem. Add to that, being bone-tired and nauseous or having any other discomfort may totally dampen the spirit towards sex.
  • In such a situation the man may feel jealous and frustrated towards the unborn child. In the same vein many men too experience a drop in their libido owing to worrisome thoughts: what if sex triggers labor or becomes the cause of miscarriage or even damages the fetus.
  • Reduced libido is not permanent or an inevitable problem. It has a lot to do with your mindset and the physical well being of your partner. Don't push for it – like everything else this phase will come to an end!

Your fears

One of the first concerns of both men and women is will sex hurt the baby or cause a miscarriage or lead to other problems. In a normal pregnancy, the answer is no. Your baby is well cushioned in the womb. However for couples in high-risk pregnancies or where the woman has a history of early miscarriages, sexual intercourse should be put on hold. Other common worries couples face include:

  • Penetrative sex can puncture the amniotic sac.
  • Having sex early in normal pregnancy will trigger premature labor
  • Having sex in the last month will cause the woman to go into labor
  • The fetus is aware of its parent's activity

Most of these are unfounded. Speak to your doctor about your concerns no matter how trivial they may seem.

Attitude is everything. Accept your partner's changing shape and know that it is temporary.

Sex in the three trimesters

The key to sex during pregnancy is to understand the stage your partner is in and make the adjustments. All 3 trimesters represent different stages of baby development and impacts differently on your partner's physical growth and emotional health. For most couples almost all sexual activities are safe. In some situations though, couples may be advised by their doctors to refrain from intercourse, especially in the first trimester. If your partner has had a miscarriage or some bleeding in early pregnancy then it pays to be cautious. Some consideration and tenderness on your part will help. For instance breast tenderness is an issue with many during the initial and final months so any amount of rough play is going to put your partner off.

  • The first 3 months Fatigue and morning sickness are the villains during this phase. Many women experience inexplicable lethargy in the initial months and the feeling gets worse if she has other issues to handle such as other children or if she is working. The answer to this could be to save sex for the weekend. If that won't do then you can offer her massage or cuddle time – this can be of great help to her. This kind of physical affection is what you both need during such tricky times. Most positions are safe during this phase but gentleness on your part is necessary. You should probably avoid those that involve deep penetration.
  • The middle 3 months During this phase the energy returns; nausea and exhaustion take a backseat for now. Plus, at the moment she is not too big and not so self-conscious. As a result her libido is increased during these weeks. Research indicates that the increased blood flow to the vagina area makes orgasm more achievable. Easily the best phase of pregnancy, so enjoy this period.
  • The final 3 months Physically this period becomes challenging in that the size of the baby and consequently the bump hinders lovemaking. Additionally anxiety about the coming big event will make some of you lose interest in sex. The other issue is her size may put you off; some men find the changed shape exciting while others feel uncomfortable about it. Your partner as it were, is more sensitive and self-conscious about her weight now. So if you are one of those who are bothered by her size, couch the feeling and make the attempt to flatter her even at the tail-end of pregnancy. In the later months it is important to experiment since many common positions become cumbersome. Find positions that suit you both and are comfortable.
If your partner is uninterested in sex don't take it personally or blame her or the baby. It is nobody's fault; it's just the way it is. Instead assess her mood in terms of sex and act accordingly.

Finally, Sex isn't everything Don't forget that there is much more to sex than intercourse. Sex is only one part of physical affection. Cuddling or holding each other are important parts of your physical relationship. So if your doctor has prohibited you from engaging in intercourse or if the pregnancy has reached a stage where intercourse is not doable than engage in other forms of physical affection.

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