Have you ever wondered why libido is so variable during pregnancy?
Don't all mums-to-be have the same problems and questions during their pregnancy? So what explains the variation in libido and, above all, what can be done about it? Let's dive straight into this intriguing subject.
What does libido mean?
libido is commonly used to describe the sex drive or desire for sexual activity. Libido naturally fluctuates throughout our reproductive life cycle, so highs and lows are common. And because libido is primarily determined by hormones, the various factors that alter hormones will naturally affect sexual desire, including pregnancy, stress, medication, the menopause and exercise.
Libido naturally fluctuates throughout our reproductive life cycle, so ups and downs are common.
How does pregnancy affect your libido?
Pregnancy brings with it a host of rapid physical and emotional changes. ; so it's not surprising that libido is affected. Hormones, including oestrogen, progesterone and beta HCG levels, all increase and can alter your desire for sexual activity.
And while some women experience an increase in libido due to increased blood flow and sensitivity, it's also possible that other women feel exactly the opposite. There are several reasons for this.
Increased libido is often due to increased blood flow to the genitals, resulting in greater sensitivity and often more satisfying sex.
On the other hand, a drop in libido can be explained by weight gain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and breast tenderness, all of which can alter self-perception and self-confidence. In addition, many women, particularly those suffering recurrent pregnancy losses, have an unconscious or conscious fear of harming their baby.
Does libido change with each trimester?
It's perfectly possible! Most women feel their worst during the first and third trimesters due to the symptoms of early and late pregnancy, including nausea, vomiting, tiredness, back pain and an ever-expanding uterus that makes sex more difficult. Libido may therefore be lower during these periods.
The second trimester generally brings more energy, less nausea and an increased desire to do most activities, and sex is no exception!
What is a "normal" libido, anyway?
Unfortunately, there is no definition of a normal libido. The only normal thing is that your libido fluctuates with pregnancy, and this can be good or bad. Every pregnancy is different, so it's important to be honest about how you feel and to understand that, whatever the state of your libido, it's temporary and will probably return to baseline. However, if there are rapid or persistent changes in libido that are disrupting your relationship, it's best to discuss this with your provider and consider a consultation with a therapist who has experience of sexual dysfunction.
Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?
Sexual intercourse is safe during pregnancy, unless otherwise indicated by your gynaecologist. Numerous conditions may affect the recommendations concerning sexual intercourse during pregnancy, in particular placental abnormalities, including recurrent miscarriage, bleeding or the threat of premature labour.
Sex and intimacy during pregnancy
For women in general, libido is a complex entity involving physical, social and emotional elements. And while pregnancy can add a new layer of complexity, it's important to focus on the purpose of your pregnancy and free yourself from the associated judgements and self-criticism!
Pregnancy is a very special time when there's no pressure to diet, worry about birth control or healthy weight gain. Yes, there is!
So relax and enjoy the wonderful changes that await you, including curves that round out, confidence that grows and maybe even a growing desire for sex and intimacy.
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