50 sex facts for mums-to-be and new mums

12:0AM, Apr 14th 2009

Three-month friskiness, X-rated dreams and boob envy - we've got everything (and we mean everything!) covered.

1. High levels of progesterone and oestrogen during pregnancy will make your breasts and vagina super sensitive and you may find you orgasm more quickly or more often. As side effects go, that beats getting piles hands down.

2. It's perfectly normal for your sex drive to stall, particularly in your first trimester. Pregnancy hormones, tiredness and nausea can do strange things to a girl's libido.

3. Oral sex is fine when you're pregnant, but be prepared for the fact that you may taste different from usual to your partner. He may like it or find it disconcerting (or, being a bloke, not even notice) but it's just your pregnancy hormones at work again.

4. On the subject of oral sex, your partner shouldn't blow into your vagina as it can be dangerous for you and your baby.

5. Extra blood pumping around your body when you're pregnant can cause your vagina to swell. Don't panic, it'll hardly be noticeable but it might heighten the sensations of love making (for you and your partner).

6. Even if you've been at it like rabbits throughout your entire pregnancy, it's perfectly normal for your sex drive to drop in the later stages when you might feel too big and awkward to be sexy and you're preoccupied with the imminent arrival of your baby.

7. With your baby safely inside his sac of amniotic fluid in your uterus, which is sealed with a thick mucus plug, he categorically can't know you are about to have, are having, or have just had sex. Unfortunately, we can't guarantee the same for the neighbours.

8. As well as getting bigger, your boobs may have another, less welcome, surprise - leakage. In the late stages of pregnancy, sexual stimulation can cause colostrum (thin, pre-milk) to drip from your breasts. It's completely natural, but if it makes you uncomfortable, declare your breasts a no-go zone for the time being.

9. Some men find their sexual desire wanes when their partner is pregnant. They may be worried about hurting the baby (a physical impossibility, by the way, no matter how well endowed he is or thinks he is), have issues with their lover becoming a mother or simply not be turned on by their partner's new body shape. Get him to talk about his feelings and let him reassure you of his love, then demand lots of cuddles and massages.

10. After orgasm, you might find that your baby doesn't move for a while, or he goes a bit bonkers. That's because of harmless contractions in your uterus caused by your orgasm, which can soothe some babies and stimulate others.

11. You might find that your best sex happens once you're asleep! Thank your hormones (again) for all that hot sex you'll be having with George Clooney/Brad Pitt/the bloke from the video shop in your dreams, of course. Some pregnant women even orgasm in their sleep.

12. Nocturnal action your partner may find less than lovable when you're pregnant is snoring. Almost one in three women snore when they're pregnant as the membranes in the nose can swell lovely!

13. The missionary position wasn't invented for heavily pregnant women. Instead, try spooning, where you both lie on your sides with your partner curled in behind you. Or try going on top, where you can control the depth of penetration (and give him an eyeful of your killer cleavage while you're at it!).

14. If anal sex is part of your usual sexual repertoire, you can continue (carefully) during pregnancy. However, there is a risk of infection from bugs like E. coli, which can cause gastroenteritis and don't even go there if you're suffering from piles!

15. Suddenly morphing into a five-times-a-night girl during your second trimester isn't unusual. Your nausea has gone, you're blooming and you're feeling curvy and sexy, rather than elephantine and knackered (that's the theory, anyway) ...

16. ... but wanting to go to bed in big knickers in an attempt to ward off unwanted advances from your partner is also normal. Sexual desire can fluctuate during pregnancy, and there's no right or wrong way to feel.

17. You should check with your GP if it's OK to have sex if you have a history of miscarriage or low-lying placenta. You may be told to abstain completely throughout your pregnancy, or for a part of it. This will also be the case if you are diagnosed with an incompetent cervix.

18. Along with hot curry and scrubbing the floor, sex is one of the things recommended to help kick-start labour when you're overdue. This is because semen contains a substance that may stimulate contractions. However, if you're not near your due date and you're having a normal pregnancy, the only thing to move when you have sex will be the earth (or maybe just the bed!).

19. If you bleed heavily after sex, feel pain or contractions that last longer than 30 minutes, you should call your doctor. Some bleeding is quite normal and is usually down to erosions or small, harmless growths (polyps) on the cervix, both of which will clear up naturally after the birth or can be easily treated.

20. You may find that you become more easily aroused and moist during foreplay and sex, but that doesn't mean your partner can stop trying!

21. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) contacted during pregnancy can affect your unborn baby, while some STIs, like chlamydia and genital herpes, can be transmitted to the baby during the delivery and, in some cases, cause premature labour. If you are concerned that you may have contacted an STI, see your doctor.

22. As long as you are having a normal, low-risk pregnancy, it is possible to have sex right up to when your waters break (once they have broken, your baby is no longer protected from infection). So, if you have nothing more pressing to do in between contractions...

23. As your bump gets bigger, you'll find sex more comfortable without your partner's weight pressing on your uterus. Try sitting on his lap, facing him as he sits in a (sturdy) chair, then guide his penis into you. A great calf muscle workout!

24. Heard the one about the pregnant woman who wanted to do her pelvic floor exercises, but couldn't find a pelvic mat? Joking aside, toned pelvic floor muscles will improve your sex life, make labour easier and help you recover more quickly from the birth...

25. ...to do them, squeeze your pelvic muscles (as if you're trying to stop peeing mid-flow) for at least ten seconds, relax and repeat 10 times. Do these as often as you can, waiting at traffic lights, sitting at your desk, in the ad breaks during Neighbours...

26. You may find that deep penetration becomes uncomfortable as your pregnancy progresses. Tilting your hips upwards with a pillow underneath you will stop your partner thrusting too deeply.

27. You might be feeling sick, washed out and bloated, but to the average bloke on the street, your pregnant curves are the ultimate sign of fertility, so don't be surprised if your previously surly bus driver suddenly starts winking at you every morning.

28. According to scientists, male babies produce more androgens - the sex hormones that increase your libido - than females. So if you've been insatiable since you found out you were pregnant, you could be expecting a boy (although we wouldn't recommend painting the nursery blue on the strength of your sex drive!).

29. Bedtime tussles of the non-sexual kind are more likely now that you'll be feeling hotter than usual, thanks to the extra blood pumping around your body to deliver nutrients to your baby. It might be worth investing in another doona, so you can throw yours off with abandon and not leave your partner shivering in his jimjams.

30. As long as they're clean and using them feels comfortable, there's no reason not to spice things up a bit with sex toys when you're pregnant.

31. Massage is a great way to feel sexually connected to your partner, particularly if you don't feel up to no-holds-barred-swinging-from-the-chandeliers type sex. You don't need to be experts - just do what feels right.

32. When you're pregnant, you can't reach for an over-the-counter remedy to combat a cold, but you can reach for your partner. Good sex can boost your immune system naturally by as much as 20%.

33. At 28 weeks, the milk-producing hormone prolactin will kick in - good news for your baby, bad news for your sex life as prolactin can suppress your sex drive.

34. When you're heavily pregnant, try lying on your back with your bottom at the edge of the bed and your feet spaced apart on the floor with your partner kneeling or standing between your legs. Prop your head up with pillows so you can actually see over your bump!

35. Accept that there will be times during your pregnancy when you and your partner are out of sync sexually and work to maintain intimacy through non-sexual touch like cuddling and holding hands.

36. Taking a bath or shower together and getting your partner to wash you is a great way for him to get to know your changing body. Or try blindfolding him (with his consent, of course) to add to the sensuality of discovering your new curves.

37. Unless your doctor or midwife has advised otherwise, you can have sex when the baby's head is engaged, although you might find it more comfortable in a position that only allows for shallow penetration.

38. A sense of humour is a useful sex aid when you're heavily pregnant. Trying new positions to accommodate your bump might not always be the most dignified sexual experimentation you've ever undertaken...

39. Masturbation is fine when you're pregnant. If you're using sex toys, clean them thoroughly between uses.

40. After the birth, doctors recommend you wait four to sex weeks before having sex. However, it depends how the birth went and how quickly your body heals, so don't feel under any pressure until you're ready.

41. Lochia is post-birth bleeding and can last from a few days to six weeks after the birth. You'll need to wear sanitary towels (not generally considered to be sexy night wear).

42. You might find that your vagina is drier than usual after the birth. This is a temporary condition caused by your hormones (again). Use a lubricant when having sex and take things slowly.

43. If you've had a vaginal birth, you may suffer from what is delightfully termed 'vaginal slackness' where you stretched to let your baby out. Doing pelvic floor exercises religiously will correct this (and help you stop weeing when you laugh).

44. Don't be surprised if your boobs don't so much leak milk, but spurt it. Once you've suffered the many physical indignities of giving birth, however, you probably won't find this anywhere near as mortifying as you think.

45. Don't panic if the very thought of your partner coming anywhere near you has you running for the hills. Hormones, a traumatic birth experience or the overwhelming emotions of becoming a mum can all serve to suppress your inner sex kitten, but she will return.

46. Your partner might become jealous of your baby's all-access pass to your boobs. Yes, it is irrational, but he may be having a hard time coping with your transformation from lover to mother. Keep talking and touching.

47. Gorgeous as he is, your new baby can kill your sex life stone dead unless you forward plan. New parents don't do spontaneous sex, they do 'granny's taken junior to the park for an hour, let's go the bed' type sex.

48. Breastfeeding can have a contraceptive effect but it's not 100%. If you don't want to be going through this whole pregnancy business again sooner than you'd like, arrange some reliable contraception when you begin having sex again.

49. If you are trying for another baby, pay some attention to your partner's nuts. Brazil nuts are rich in the mineral selenium, which can increase sperm production.

50. Did we mention pelvic floor exercises?

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