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Hormones and lovemaking

It's perfectly safe to enjoy lovemaking during your pregnancy, unless there are medical reasons why you should abstain for a while. Every pregnant woman has the potential to enjoy sex - and some enjoy it more than they've ever done before.

Hormones and sex
© Jupiter

How much you want and enjoy sex can vary during pregnancy, not only from one woman to another, but also in the same woman at different times throughout the 40 weeks. Most women feel less interested in lovemaking during the first trimester (especially if suffering from tiredness and nausea). Desire generally increases in the second trimester and declines again in the third.

When you do have sex, you may find it far more exciting and satisfying than it was before you conceived. In fact, some women have their first orgasm or multiple orgasms while pregnant.

This enhanced sexuality is mainly due to the very high levels of female hormones and pregnancy hormones circulating throughout the body during pregnancy (see ). These cause changes to your breasts and sexual organs, making them more sensitive and responsive than usual. Also, being pregnant is such an affirmation of being female that you may find yourself feeling much more feminine and sensual.

Sexual excitement and lovemaking during pregnancy

One effect of the high oestrogen levels during pregnancy is an increase in blood flow, especially in the pelvic area. Because of this, the vagina and its folds, the labia, become slightly stretched and swollen. This stretching and swelling, which normally happen only when you're sexually excited, make the sensory nerve endings hypersensitive, and you become aroused much more rapidly than usual.

One of the first things that happens when you get pregnant is your breasts start to get bigger - one of the classic signs of pregnancy is sensitive, enlarged breasts and tingling, even painful, nipples. The increased sensitivity of the breasts makes them a focus of sensory arousal, and you may feel the most exquisite pleasure when your partner kisses and caresses your nipples and breasts. This sexual foreplay can also arouse the clitoris and the vagina, which will swell very readily.

The increased blood flow makes your vaginal secretions quite profuse, so you'll find you're ready for penetration earlier than usual. Penetration is particularly easy because of the plentiful vaginal fluid, and you may climax quite quickly if your clitoris is stimulated at the same time. You may find the intensity of your orgasms reaches new heights and the time taken to “come down” from an orgasm is much longer. The labia minora and the lower end of the vagina can remain swollen for anything up to two hours after orgasm, particularly in the last trimester.

As well as stimulating the whole of the genital tract, the pregnancy hormones stimulate the production of a hormone within the brain called melanocyte-stimulating hormone (or MSH). This causes areas where the skin pigmentation is deeper anyway to get darker - as in the darkening of the nipple area. Darkening of the nipples can act as a sexual signal to a man, making his partner's breasts very attractive to him.

Your hormones

You may go through all kinds of physical, emotional, and psychological changes during your pregnancy, which can affect how you feel about sex. These changes are mostly due to the vastly increased levels of hormones circulating in your body.

The most important hormones involved in maintaining your pregnancy are progesterone and oestrogen. In the early days of a pregnancy these are produced by the corpus luteum in the ovary. Once the embryo has implanted in the uterine lining, it and the developing placenta take over as the primary sources of progesterone and oestrogen.

The increase in the amounts of progesterone and oestrogen circulating in the body is swift and dramatic. The level of progesterone rises to ten times the amount before conception and you produce as much oestrogen in one day as a non-pregnant woman in three years. In fact, during the course of a single pregnancy, a woman produces as much oestrogen as a non-pregnant woman could over 150 years.

Progesterone and oestrogen bring a sense of wellbeing, giving you shining hair, supple and glowing skin, and an aura of tranquillity and contentment.

Posted 30.06.2010

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