Pregnancy doesn’t have to spell the end of sexual intimacy. Keep things steamy at every trimester with our expert advice.

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If you watched the movie Knocked Up, you’ll remember the hilarious scene when pregnant Allison (played by actress Katherine Heigl) and her baby-daddy Ben (played by actor Seth Rogen) decide to “get it on”. Allison is self-conscious about her fuller figure and Ben is reluctant to do the deed for fear of “poking” the baby. The whole experience is awkward and ends disastrously, leaving both parties feeling frustrated and unsatisfied.

Sure, the scene was dramatised for its entertainment value, but it does provide an honest look at pregnancy sex. It offers glimpses into what we’ve all wondered at some point in our lives ― what’s it like doing the horizontal mambo with a baby belly in the way?

You’re pregnant because you had sex, but being pregnant doesn’t always lead to sex. In fact, many couples try to steer clear of any hanky panky during those long nine months as they’re not sure how to combine the two.

Here’s some good news though: Unless you are medically directed not to, you don’t have to cut out your action in the boudoir simply because you’re with child. In fact, there are a multitude of benefits to having sex while preggers ― you don’t need birth control (LOL!), while the endorphins released during orgasm will relax you. Some studies even indicate that the more orgasms you have, the less likely you are to deliver a preemie.

But how exactly is one to go about this bedroom business when a human being is growing inside you? We’re glad you asked!

“There are many ways to be sexually and emotionally intimate without penetration… incorporate role play, dress up, vibrators, and male sex toys from penis rings to masturbators.”


FIRST TRIMESTER

WHY YOU MIGHT SAY YES TO SEX… The minute that pregnancy test shows positive, those hormones are going to start surging through your body, making you feel horny. In fact, one of the earlier signs of pregnancy is an increased sex drive. This could be due to a variety of reasons, notes SmartParents ob-gyn expert Dr Christopher Chong. “Your body is going through many changes ― the lining in your vagina and clitoris is thinner and more sensitive, more blood is rushing to your vagina as well, causing more sensation, plus your breasts swell up and your nipples become more sensitive,” he adds.
WHY YOU MIGHT SAY NO TO SEX… Because morning sickness is in full swing and you’re too busy puking your guts up and feeling sorry for yourself. Plus, your breasts may be feeling really tender (hands off, buddy!). Some women might also be scared of having sex for fear of miscarriage, especially if they are spotting, which is common in the first trimester.
EXPERT ADVICE… Your body is looking pretty much the same at this point, so you won’t face any physical challenges. If your doctor has given you the all clear, don’t waste precious time already…let’s get ready to rumble! Scared of inducing a miscarriage? Penetration isn’t the only way to enjoy sex, says Dr Chong. Concurring, clinical sexologist Dr Martha Tara Lee adds, “There are many ways to be sexually and emotionally intimate without penetration… incorporate role play, dress up, vibrators, and male sex toys, from penis rings to masturbators. Also, there are options of one-way sex and mutual masturbation.”

What sexual promises do the second and third trimesters hold? Click to find out!


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SECOND TRIMESTER

WHY YOU MIGHT SAY YES TO SEX… This is probably the golden time to “get it on” ― the hormones are still surging, but you’ve passed the first trimester fear of miscarriage and morning sickness is just a distant memory (fingers crossed). Another plus: You belly is growing, but not so big that it makes you feel uncomfortable. Dr Chong also points out that pregnancy is a time when a woman pays more attention to her body, so this might also make her feel more sexy, thus increasing her libido.
WHY YOU MIGHT SAY NO TO SEX… Your growing foetus is sucking up all your energy, so when given the choice, you’d rather choose sleep over sex. Seeing your body expand from every angle might also make a woman feel unattractive, says Dr Chong. Some couples are also concerned that penetration might hurt the baby. Dr Chong’s response? “Not possible, as the baby is in a cushion of water in the water bag.”
EXPERT ADVICE… Be patient with yourself and your body ― it’s doing something magical at the moment by creating and housing a new life, so don’t hate or blame it for slowing down your sex life. “Don’t just say no to sex ― try to do what you can,” Dr Lee advises. “Spend more time at play, ask for what you need, and let him take over to satisfy himself if need be. If aches and pains are getting in the way, you can choose to keep your bra on during sex and support your back with a pillow.”

“Passion is not just about sex. It's also about cultivating romance, building suspense and ending with the tease.”


THIRD TRIMESTER

WHY YOU MIGHT SAY YES TO SEX… The pregnancy hormones are in overdrive, so all your body parts are engorged with blood and feel super sensitive. The hubs may also be more turned on by watching his fertile goddess of a wife flaunt her newfound curves in fashionable maternity outfits.
WHY YOU MIGHT SAY NO TO SEX… Sex might have to take a backseat for now, especially if it’s your doctor’s instructions. Medical issues that might require you to keep your knickers on include a low-lying placenta, vaginal bleeding or a vaginal infection. Dr Chong also advises his patients not to be sexually active between 30 and 37 weeks, so as to prevent premature labour. Plus, if you can’t even see your toes anymore, thanks to your burgeoning belly, how can you find a sex position that’s comfy?.
EXPERT ADVICE… It’s sort of your last sexual hurrah before baby arrives (who knows when both of you will feel up to doing it later), so make the last few months count! “Passion is not just about sex. It's also about cultivating romance, building suspense and ending with the tease,” adds Dr Lee. If you’re still up for a good roll in the hay, Dr Lee recommends four pregnant belly-friendly sex positions:

1. Doggie This position needs no introduction. Any variation on the enter-from-behind position is a good choice. It gives her some control over the pace and allows easy clitoral stimulation with either partner’s hands.
2. Spooning Where the man embraces the woman from the back and they fit together like spoons.
3. Edge of bed A common favourite as it encourages deep penetration. The woman lies on her back (hips at the edge of the bed) and the man enters her from under her legs. Her legs can rest against his torso, or she can place her feet on his chest.
4. Scissors The woman lies on her back and her partner enters her from the side. This allows her to have her clitoris up against his top leg.

Dr Christopher Ching is an obstetrician-gynaecologist who practises at Chris Chong Women & Urogynae Clinic at Gleneagles Medical Centre. Dr Martha Tara Lee is a clinical sexologist at Eros Coaching.

Photos: iStock

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