“So I just don’t feel like it! Is that normal?!”
Many of my clients nervously approach sex talk with me. I’m not a therapist (though growing up with a shrink for a mother DOES rub off) and I certainly don’t hold a sexologist degree (at least not yet), but approaching my mamas with confidence and care creates an open forum. The sexual questions that arise are frequent so I figure sharing a bit about pregnant and postpartum lovin’ is worthwhile (and FUN)!
So ladies, let’s break down the reasons behind your “not so into it”:
During Pregnancy –
Hormones. Human chlorionic gonadotropin or HCG is a hormone that enriches your uterine lining so your embryo can implant firmly in your first trimester. Awesome that your uterus is becoming so cushy for baby but HCG is the major reason behind your nausea and potential morning sickness. Estrogen and progesterone slowly elevate throughout your pregnancy and can contribute to you feeling emotional and vulnerable. As you and your baby grow you may also be tired, have to urinate frequently, have sore breasts and feel heavy, uncomfortable or stressed.
Post Birth –
After your baby is born and you expel your placenta – aka your hormone production factory - you are literally depleted. This depletion coupled with sleep deprivation and physical healing from a vaginal or cesarian birth can be extremely challenging. Fried adrenals don’t help either. These glands are responsible for the output of most of your testosterone which creates your desire for sex. Hormones like prolactin stimulate milk production (and your appetite) and force you to bring your attention to your baby – and often away from your partner. Your body has changed and you may again feel heavy, uncomfortable or stressed.
NOW let’s break down the reasons why sex and other forms of physical intimacy can help you through your pregnancy and postpartum recovery:
Physical intimacy is bonding and bonding is what your partnership needs as you navigate through this major transition. Orgasms create oxytocin which produces endorphins. Endorphins are produced when you kiss too! Endorphins release stress and have the potential to calm you, make you feel secure and even to alleviate pain. Plus, enhanced blood flow to your pubic area and enhanced lubrication (thank you, estrogen) during pregnancy can make for a heightened sexual experience. Navigating through different positions pre and post birth can also be a fun shared exploration.
Here’s the real deal:Take your time with penetration and communicate with your partner so this new terrain serves your togetherness. Cuddle, kiss, massage each other and don’t blame yourself for feeling the way you do. One of my mamas is 23 weeks into her pregnancy. She said of her current sexual desires: “I’m either really interested or I feel like slapping my husband if he gets near me. There’s no middle of the road!” This is a familiar state for many women, not just for expecting and new moms. Whatever you’re feeling, trust that it’s normal.
the mama method