Warning: We are talking about sex. If this makes you uncomfortable, please stop reading now… I hate to be a spoiler… but it’s a big part of making babies.
Now that I’ve been through two pregnancies from beginning to end, I feel that I can confidently say when you first learn about the birds and the bees you are getting the extreme cliff notes version of what really happens. Even up until 3 years ago, when we actually decided we wanted a baby, I didn’t truly understand the complexity that goes into sex and pregnancy. Every pregnancy is different, and each person reacts differently to hormones and changes – but here is a quick overview that will give you a much better understanding of sex, pregnancy and babies, past the simple – you have sex, and a baby appears 9 months later view we are given.
You and your partner are in for a roller coaster so buckle up, throw your hands in the air and enjoy the ride. Let’s speak candidly here… so stick with me as I walk through the different stages of sex from when you first start to get pregnant to the post-“I just had a baby what do we do now stage.”
The Trying to Get Pregnant Stage (“Let’s Make A Baby!”)
Congrats! You want to have a baby! First, set your expectations, however you expect it to happen, it will most likely happen the exact opposite way. The first few weeks may be fun, the sex is still exciting at the thought that maybe that last romp could be the one!
After a few months of “trying”, sex has now become something that you schedule into your calendar around that time of the month. If the trying takes more than a few months it turns into a stressful thing and a “why isn’t this sex working” thing. You start googling and researching the best ways to get pregnant. You change your diet and start adding vitamins to your daily routines. You lay in bed after sex, in all of your sexy glory with your legs straight up in the air counting down the minutes until you think it’s OK to get up and move around again. Sex becomes a topic of conversation with your friends as you are trying to get pregnant. Soon everyone knows about your sex life and the variety of positions and times of day you are getting busy between the sheets.
I would encourage you to find a way to keep the sex fun and exciting, but I also get it when you’ve been having so much sex trying to make a baby, that a quickie during lunch time is all the energy you have left in you. I could tell you not to stress, but I know you won’t listen to me, I’ve been there. Since you started trying 16 other people have announced pregnancies and with each one you only get more frustrated. I could also tell you numerous stories about friends who had trouble getting pregnant, and then took a break, stopped trying, and because their stress went down that was the month they got pregnant. Again, you won’t listen to me, all you’re focused on right now is when you’re ovulating, the perfect position that will help you conceive and seeing those two pink lines.
* I want to add that I realize how many women struggle in this stage and never see future stages or it may take years to get there. My heart and prayers go out to you ❤️
The “I Just Found Out I’m pregnant” stage
Congratulations! You made it past the I’m trying to get pregnant stage and saw those glorious two pink lines.
If you are like me and my husband with our first, you might need to take a week or so break from sex since you’ve been acting like bunnies, carpet bombing the entire month, hoping to hit the lucky number. Or maybe you are so excited that you’re pregnant and don’t NEED to have sex, all you want to do is have sex. Do it now…and do it a lot, because this is the stage that the pregnancy symptoms hopefully haven’t kicked in yet. You haven’t felt sick or bloated or gained 30lbs. Sex is easier and much more enjoyable at this stage, you have a few weeks before the first-trimester sickness hits you (if it hasn’t yet) so take advantage.
Seriously, if you are in this stage stop reading and go have sex now.
First-Trimester Sex Stage
When all you can think about is saltine crackers and Gatorade, and your best friend is the toilet as you fight back puking…sex isn’t really on the top of your mind.
It’s not on your agenda, but it probably still is on top of your husband’s. I mean you did just come off the trying-to-get-pregnant stage, where he was getting sex daily, so be gentle with him when he kindly suggests a quick romp after a 3-week dry spell.
OK, enough about him and back to the fun first-trimester stage. You don’t look pregnant yet and there’s not a belly popping out to get in the way, and you can still technically maneuver around easily–but that dang sickness and tiredness. Oh, the tiredness. When is there time to have sex when you are up at 7 am for work and back in bed at 7 pm because your body is shutting down from pure exhaustion?
Don’t expect much from sex in the first trimester, which is why you need to take advantage of the first two stages listed above. Between the exhaustion and nausea, you and your hubby may find a hard time squeezing in a romantic session for a few months. I encourage you to carve out time once a week to give each other one on one attention, if not sex, anything that allows you two to still connect.
Second-Trimester Sex Stage
Your energy is back and morning sickness has subsided. Celebrate with your husband for a minute, sex is back on the table and thanks to your new big rack (thank you babies!) your husband won’t need any convincing. In between nesting, house projects, babymoons and baby showers your sex life can generally go back to normal during the second trimester. As your belly starts to grow you will need to get more creative with what positions work best, but that’s half of the fun right?
Don’t let life get too busy, connect and enjoy sex during the second trimester. Be grateful for the extra kick of energy and pregnant endorphins running through your body, you will be surprised how much your husband loves your new curves.
Third-Trimester Sex Stage
Sex in your third trimester is downright laughable. Seriously. Your belly is big, you are awkward and are extremely limited in your movement. Make doggy-style your new best friend. Your energy is slowing down, but there is also this sense of knowing that you have at least a 6-week hiatus post-baby for your body to recover, so you want to enjoy it now.
The third trimester can go one of two ways. Your sex drive can ramp up to scary levels of I NEED SEX this very minute or it can screech to a halt and you will hate the idea of being touched. I say go with what your body gives you. Embrace the hormones or give your body a break, you have been through a lot in the past few months and you are almost to the end of these roller coaster stages of pregnant sex. There are other ways to connect if you don’t want sex at this point, so instead of avoiding your husband at all costs in fear of turning him on, find other ways that you two can stay connected.
My number one suggestion is to communicate. It is amazing what talking does. Let your husband know how you are feeling and let him voice his concerns. You both have needs and are in this together, so figure out a way that everyone can be happy and feel fulfilled.
The 37 – 41 Week “The Countdown” Stage
You are officially considered full term and emotionally done being pregnant. Everything you read says one of the ways to trigger your body to move things along is sex. Semen helps relax the cervix, or something scientific like that, so you start pretending like you are in the first stage, the trying-to-get-pregnant stage, and begin doing it 3 – 4 x a week again. Yes you are just “doing it” at this point, you aren’t having sex or making love, there is nothing sexy about this stage, it is once again sex for a purpose–anything that will move your delivery date closer.
The 6-Week Post-Baby Stage
Wow, time passes quickly! Can you believe you haven’t had sex in 6 weeks? For your husband, he has had this date circled on his calendar since the baby was born. For you, this date probably crept up on you quicker than you expected. You go in for your 6-week appointment to make sure everything down there healed properly, and all he thinks you are doing is getting cleared to have sex with him again.
The conversation when you get home will almost definitely go something like this:
Husband: so you got cleared? We are all good to have sex again!
You: Yea she said everything looked good and if we wanted to try sometime soon, when I feel ready, we can.
You: …ok we can try
[fast forward to later that evening]
You: …Oh, @#$#@%#$@#$@!!! NOPE…get out…let’s give it another week.
And then you try again 4 days later just in case anything has changed…and 4 days after that. Hopefully it gets a little better each time, but you still might not have feeling down there for awhile. (This is sounding really great to all you future moms who are just now considering having your first baby I’m sure)
Remember you just birthed an 8lb baby, give your body some time. So you keep having sex every few days and it gets easier, but between feeding every 3 hours and a distinct lack of sleep your enjoyment level is low for a month or so. Don’t worry, it gets better!
1 Year Later
Sometime between 6 weeks postpartum and 1 year later you will love sex again. You will feel back to normal. But now you are trying to have a sex life with a baby in the house. Now you are fitting in sex between nap times, showers, and pure exhaustion. You are being touched all day long, covered in all the bodily fluids, and then when they go to bed you don’t want to be touched anymore…but then there is sex. You are finding your new normal and reconnecting with your husband during this first year is so important. You may even forget about the last two years and these stages, and want to start the process over again for baby number two!
I’ve spoken to a lot of moms who feel weird because their sex drive isn’t back. Women aren’t talking about the stress of having a baby and how sex can turn into a job, the recovery and rediscovering sex after baby. None of this is easy. If you get nothing else out of this post I hope you leave knowing you are normal and there is no normal. Everyone’s story is different. Leave a comment, or message me privately with your thoughts, questions, and experiences.