With Valentine’s Day approaching, there’s a good chance you are noticing romance in the air! But if you’re pregnant or just had a baby, you might have questions about getting physical. I went straight to the experts to share some tips and information on sex and pleasure for pregnant people and/or new parents. Here’s Christina Sheridan, a Sexual Health Nurse with Toronto Public Health:
Whether you’re planning a romantic evening with your partner(s) or just setting the mood with yourself, this is a good time to pause and consider what brings you pleasure. It could also be good a time to look into the ways in which physical changes from pregnancy and childbirth may impact pleasure.
Having sex while pregnant is safe for most people with low-risk pregnancies, so to have sex or not is up to you!
Pregnancy can cause changes in your level of desire: it may increase, decrease, or remain the same, and it can change from week to week. Take note of this and be prepared to make changes that consider where you are at and how you are feeling.
For instance, your comfort and energy level can be affected so a practical consideration to help increase pleasure could be choosing a time of day when you have more energy or trying a different sexual position, especially as your body grows and changes.
If sexual intercourse is difficult, unappealing, or off-limits, but you still want intimacy with your partner(s), try exploring other ways to connect, like cuddling, kissing, or massage.
Sex after pregnancy and childbirth may have new sensations to get used to.
Taking time to slowly restart sexual activity after childbirth is important. New sensations may be present as your body recovers from delivery; your abdomen, chest/breasts, and vaginal area may be tender.
Good communication about what is working for you (and what is not) can be very helpful to you and your partner(s), and so can a good lubricant! Especially for people who are breast/chestfeeding – adding a water-based lubricant to sexual activity can help with pleasure. Since making human milk takes extra water from the body, the vagina may not feel as lubricated even when the brain and body are sexually ‘turned on’.
This Valentine’s Day, give yourself the gift of pleasure!