Pregnancy triggers several changes that can impact a woman’s sex drive. This has to do with higher amounts of estrogen and progesterone levels and an increase in blood flow to the vagina.
On the other hand, factors like nausea, fatigue, stress, and some physical changes that happen due to pregnancy can decrease a woman’s desire for sex.
However, the reaction women have during hormonal chances is never always the same. Most notably, it’s common for the sex drive of a woman to decrease in the course of the first trimester, peak in the second trimester, and drop again in the third trimester.
First Trimester (Weeks 0–13)
During the first trimester, some women notice drops in their sexual desire and sexual satisfaction. When a woman experiences surging hormone levels, uncomfortable physical symptoms, and stress, her libido goes down.
After the uterus gets an embryo implanted in its wall, cells in the placenta will begin producing the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). The hormone helps to stimulate the production of other hormones, for example, estrogen and progesterone.
Hormone surges during the first trimester can trigger mood swings and nausea.
Some of the symptoms that can also impact libido during this time include:
- tender breasts
- digestive issues
However, for some women, changing estrogen and progesterone levels can increase their libido in the first trimester.
Second Trimester (Weeks 14–27)
Generally, the libido of most pregnant women goes up during the second trimester. Levels of hCG reach their peak around the 6th week of their conception. After week 6, those levels of hCG begin dropping, meaning that they have less nausea and higher energy levels.
Besides, estrogen and progesterone levels keep increasing to support the growing fetus in the course of the second trimester.
Also, estrogen helps increase vaginal lubrication and blood flow to the vulva. Such changes can result in intensified arousal, pleasure and sensitivity.
Third Trimester (Weeks 28–40)
It is during the third trimester that women often face some of their major challenges. They include swelling, exhaustion, rapid weight gain, and body aches, which all make sexual activity much harder.
Issues like discomfort or pain when having sex may cause some concern and it’s common. However, going for different positions can help remedy the issue.
Any pregnant woman who desires to have sex but is uncomfortable with certain types and styles of sexual activity may need to consider other forms of intimacy during this time.
Knowing how your body will react throughout your pregnancy can help you feel more comfortable with each of the changes that will affect your body during this time.
Unless an obstetrician or midwife advises otherwise, sex is safe during pregnancy. The obstetrician might instruct you to abstain from sex if you have a high risk of miscarriage or a history of preterm labor.