Sex & Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a life altering event. Life will never be the same as you knew it. You can not go back. Parenthood is permanent. Once a child is born to you, you can not just trade it in for a different model if it cries, says or does something you do not like. Children are permanent.

Pregnancy, unlike parenthood, impacts men and women differently. The impact of pregnancy is different for men and women because of their unique roles. While many couples now describe themselves as pregnant, only women undergo the physical changes brought about by carrying a child. For example, during the 9 months of pregnancy, only women experience morning sickness, mood swings, exhaustion, weight gain and labor. Thus, at best, men are bystanders, who at best are given the responsibility of assisting their partner as life becomes increasingly difficult for the pregnant woman to handle by herself. As a woman progresses during pregnancy, partners typically need to do more of the lifting and cleaning so that she can focus all of her energies on growing their baby. After the baby is born, the partner needs to care for all of the mother’s needs (food and shelter) so that she can recoup for the physically exhausting job of growing and birthing a child. Additionally, she needs rest to be able to produce milk for the baby and energy to sooth a crying baby.

As a result of these different roles, men and women have different questions and concerns. This is normal, not only because their experiences are different, but so are their needs. While pregnancy impacts men and women very differently, the range of emotions that each person experiences is more similar than dissimilar. Most men and women feel some mixture of fear, panic, joy and shear excitement. Everything in each of their lives is about to change.

Sexual changes during pregnancy: During pregnancy, many women experience physical and emotional changes that can affect their sexual desire and function. Some women may experience an increase in sexual desire due to hormonal changes, while others may experience a decrease in desire due to fatigue or discomfort. Additionally, some women may experience physical changes, such as vaginal dryness or difficulty with penetration, that can make sexual activity uncomfortable.

It is generally safe to have sex during pregnancy, as long as there are no medical complications. However, there are some situations where a healthcare provider may advise against it, such as if the woman has a history of preterm labor or placenta previa.  Couples should always consult with their healthcare provider if they have any concerns about engaging in sexual activity during pregnancy.

It is important for couples to communicate openly and honestly with each other about their changing needs and desires during pregnancy, and to be open to experimenting with different sexual positions and activities that may be more comfortable for the pregnant partner.

Additionally, couples may want to consider using a water-based lubricant to help alleviate any discomfort caused by vaginal dryness. Again, consult with your OB.

It’s important to note that it’s normal for sexual desire to fluctuate during pregnancy, and it’s okay to take a break from sexual activity if either partner isn’t feeling up to it.

Why seek out a couples counselor / ex therapist for support?  Seeing a sex therapist / couples counseling r during pregnancy can be beneficial for both parents as it can help them navigate the many physical, emotional, and social changes that occur during this time. Therapy can also provide a safe and supportive space for the couple to discuss any concerns or issues that may be impacting their relationship or mental well-being.

Here are a few specific reasons why seeking the support of a therapist during pregnancy may be beneficial:

  1. Coping with emotional changes: Pregnancy can bring about a wide range of emotional changes for the mother, such as anxiety, depression, and fear. Counseling can help the mother to process and cope with these emotions in a healthy way.
  2. Preparing for parenthood: Counseling can help the couple to prepare for the transition to parenthood by addressing any concerns they may have and providing them with the tools and strategies they need to be successful parents.
  3. Dealing with relationship changes: Pregnancy can put a significant strain on a couple’s relationship, and counseling can help the couple to navigate any conflicts or issues that may arise as a result.
  4. Managing stress: Pregnancy can be a stressful time, and counseling can help the couple to manage stress by teaching them stress-management techniques.
  5. Addressing past traumas or unresolved issues: Pregnancy can bring up unresolved emotional issues or traumas from the past, counseling can help individuals to address and process these experiences in a healthy way, and to ensure that they do not negatively impact the present.

It’s important to note that seeking therapy during pregnancy is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength and a commitment to taking care of one’s emotional well-being. It’s also important to remember that therapy  is not just for the mother, but for all significant parties as well as it will help them to understand the emotional changes and the responsibilities that come with parenthood.

For questions or concerns on the emotional side of pregnancy and future parenting, visit The Center For Growth, Inc for more information and resources.