by Aline Filipe Nunes, women's health physiotherapist
Pregnancy is an event when many changes occur in a small period of time. The changes can affect your body, your mood, your fatigue levels as well as several psychological and social factors. It is with no surprise that pregnancy can have an impact in your sex life and sexual routine.
Pregnancy is in its core a period of preparation: your body and your mind focus in building a baby but also prepare for the arrival of a new family member. The roles of parenthood start changing here. It is quite common that the future parents start feeling anxious or depressed during pregnancy in anticipation of the arrival of their baby. The anxiety in itself and the anticipation of the impact of the baby in the couple’s life, as well as the anticipation of the changes in the roles, can be enough to change how you feel as a “sexual being”.
I just don't feel like sex now that I am pregnant
During pregnancy, many studies show that there is a decrease in sexual interest, in sexual thoughts, in the willingness to initiate sexual advancements and a decrease of the genital and non genital sensitivity. Physically, the hormonal changes can often lead to vaginal dryness, too.
Your pelvic floor muscles can also play an important part in the change. While dryness can become a problem in itself, during pregnancy your pelvic floor and the pelvic structures suffer some changes. Although some pelvic floors can become “tight” in response to the increased weight and body changes, others can become easily fatigued and problems such as prolapse and urinary incontinence can surge. Urinary incontinence and prolapse are two major factors that have a tremendous impact in body image.
Body image can also play a part in the decrease of the sexual interest. Many studies show a positive association between body image and sexual interest, meaning that the better you feel about your body, the more interested you become in engaging in sex.
Moreover, some studies point that about 80% of women during pregnancy feel some type of lower back discomfort. Pain in itself can be an important factor that can makes partners not willing to participate in sexual activities. It is important to treat the pain as soon as possible and to work with the mother-to-be along with her partner, in order to bring function and movement back, at the same time, ideally promoting mobility that will help towards sexuality.
Sex in pregnancy has wonderful benefits