This week, I am in Maui for a medical meeting (poor me, I know). Valentine’s Day is also this week, and Hawaii is such a romantic place that I am devoting this week’s posts to romance, starting with sensuality in pregnancy.
Sex is something that all my patients think about, but many are reluctant to ask me about. Here are some of the concerns that women worry about the most.
Is what I’m feeling normal?
- I want sex all the time! Is this normal?
- Sure! You don’t have to worry about contraception, and you have hormones circulating that may increase your desire and make you more sensitive.
- I don’t feel like having sex at all! Is this normal?
- The answer is also yes. If you’re nauseated, or tired, or uncomfortable with everything that’s happening in your body, you may not feel like having sex. Give it some time. And be patient with yourself.
- I want to have sex but can’t figure out how to manage it as I get bigger. Is this normal?
- Of course, it’s normal. The secret here is a spirit of adventure (and a sense of humor). If you having been having traditional missionary sex, try it on top, or on your side, or from behind. Start slow, and see what works for you.
- I worry that the baby will be hurt if I have sex when I’m pregnant. Is this normal?
- Normal but unfounded. If you are having an uncomplicated pregnancy, relax and have fun.
The common thread here is worry that what you are feeling isn’t “normal.” Let me reassure you that whatever you are feeling right now is normal. And furthermore, we waste far too much time worrying about being normal. Just feel whatever you’re feeling.
Listen to your body during this time and be patient
Apart from the how-to’s discussed above, your body is experiencing a powerful transformation, and you should pay attention to this with all your senses. There is more to sensuality than just sex. Take some time, with your partner and by yourself, to tune in and notice what is happening.
Touch and appreciate every inch of yourself and your partner. You don’t need to be goal-oriented. All encounters don’t have to lead to the same place. On some days, having your partner rub your feet or brush your hair may be the most loving way they can touch you.
Pregnancy hormones may make you more emotional. You may cry or laugh or get angry more easily. Your feelings are closer to the surface these days. Let them out. Your heart is breaking open now and making room to love more than you ever imagined you could.
Be open about what you’re experiencing with your partner
Talk to your partner! Let them know what you want. Now is the time to let go of the expectation that they will read your mind. They want to make you happy. Show them how.
This Valentine’s Day, love your partner with all your newfound tenderness. Take a walk together. Hold hands. Share your hopes and fears about pregnancy, your changing body, parenthood, your relationship with each other. Let your hearts speak to each other with encouragement and compassion.
In pregnancy, you become aware of your body in a new way. Love your changing shape and your growing heart. You are beautiful every day, but especially beautiful right now. Embrace that beauty with all your senses!