Pregnancy can be a real passion-killer. The reasons can be physical – you’re tired, you feel queasy, you keep throwing up, and your breasts are too sore to touch. They can also be emotional – your moods are all over the place, you’re worried about miscarriage or you feel thoroughly unattractive.
Once you know for certain that you’re pregnant, you start realizing the changes and responsibilities you’ll soon be facing. So apart from the physical and hormonal factors that start affecting your life, there are also emotional, social, and cultural concerns added into the mix. Not surprisingly, sex can drop to the bottom of your to-do list.
But what if you don’t know you’re pregnant? Do you experience the same sex problems as when you’re blissfully unaware?
To answer this question, Turkish researchers surveyed 122 healthy married women who were between four and ten weeks pregnant. They’d all conceived naturally and had no complications or complaints.
The researchers talked to the women at an Istanbul hospital. Just under half of them already knew they were pregnant. The rest had only just found out.
The women were asked who initiated sex in their relationship – the woman, the man or either of them – and how often they’d had sex in the last four weeks. The women who already knew they were pregnant were also asked if they thought sex could affect the pregnancy or the baby.
It turned out that sex was better for the women who didn’t know they were pregnant. For one thing they had made love more often. But they also felt more turned on, their vaginas got wetter, they had better orgasms, and they felt more sexually satisfied.
Scared of miscarriage
Forty-five percent of the women who already knew they were pregnant said they worried about whether sex would have a harmful effect on the pregnancy. Twelve percent of them actually avoided sex because they were scared it could cause a miscarriage or harm the baby.
(This is a shame, because sex can’t do any harm at all during pregnancy and it can’t cause a miscarriage. Sex might trigger a miscarriage, but only if it was going to happen anyway.)
So even though physical and hormonal changes do start affecting sex right from the start of pregnancy, the social and emotional factors may only kick in after a woman finds out she’s pregnant, the study concludes.
When it comes to sex and pregnancy, it seems that ignorance is bliss.
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