#Health and Well-being

Your sex guide: from pregnancy to postpartum and parenthood

Discussing (future) parents’ sexual intimacy is still not so common
Does sexuality change during pregnancy? What can you expect when you have sex during pregnancy? Is it normal for my sex drive to change? Why do I have less desire? Which sexual positions should I prefer? Why has my sexuality changed since becoming a parent? How can I get my desire back? A million questions must come to your mind - without you daring to ask them... So it's time to talk about it, without taboos... and without pressure!

Parental sexuality, is one topic that is rarely discussed: although sex during pregnancy is not (completely) taboo, topics such as orgasms, frequency of sexual intercourse, multiple pregnancy and loss of libido during pregnancy and after childbirth are.

Making love when you're pregnant or a new parent: how taboo is that?

As you will discover, there are two sides to parents' sexuality: what we dare to say in public ("Oh, our sex life? It's going great!") and the hard truth (low sex drive, pain, a body you don't like anymore, etc.), which is rarely discussed. So we have put together all the questions you might be asking yourself on the subject.

The sexuality of expectant mothers and fathers, their sexuality as parents, the sex positions they prefer during pregnancy, the most frequently asked questions about sex during pregnancy, possible inhibitions before and after childbirth and how to deal with them, key figures and testimonials from parents. This guide to sex and parenthood is written for YOU!

Desire, sex drive, positions... All about sexuality for pregnant women

Has your desire for sex or masturbation increased significantly? Do you have questions about favourable sexual positions, their possible effects on the course of your pregnancy or even directly on your baby? It's time to find out how it's going!

Pregnant women's sexual desire can increase

If you are pregnant (or your partner - yes, this guide can be useful for partners too!), you may have noticed that your sex drive has changed since the beginning of your pregnancy. It feels more intense. And for good reason: your hormones are fully active, vaginal blood flow has increased and vaginal discharge is more abundant, which means your sex drive can increase considerably! Pregnancy is also a time when some women feel more desirable (and wanted), which can boost their sex drive and frequency of intercourse.


Your sex drive can be reduced from the 1st month of pregnancy

Maybe you've read the above and don't feel concerned (or not concerned at all)? Well, that's perfectly normal and you should know that you're certainly not the only one. Every pregnancy is unique and some pregnancy symptoms (tiredness, difficulty falling asleep, nausea, breast tenderness, etc.) can take precedence over your libido. Don't be embarrassed and don't hesitate to talk to your partner, who is also experiencing the situation and your pregnancy from a different point of view. Maybe a massage on the part of your body that feels uncomfortable, or elsewhere, could help. There are so many ways to make love...

Good to know: Some women experience vaginal dryness during pregnancy. If this is your case, talk to your midwife who can advise you on which lubricant to use to relieve the discomfort.

Preferred positions during pregnancy

Preferred positions during pregnancy

Preferred positions during pregnancy

Just as every pregnancy is unique, you will know what you like and what positions work best for you. This may change as the months go by and you get closer to your due date. Here are some of the most comfortable positions for your round belly:

  • Doggy style: the woman is on all fours with her partner behind her
  • Small spoon: both partners lie on their left side (to avoid pressure on the vena cava, which can cause dizziness), facing each other
  • Andromache: the man lies on his back and the woman sits astride him

Frequently asked questions about sex during pregnancy

Our answers to all the questions below are for pregnant women who have no contraindications to having sex (no premature birth in a previous pregnancy, your partner has no STIs, your cervix isn't dilated, you’re not expecting more than on baby, etc.). Our answers are no substitute for the medical advice of your midwife or gynaecologist, and if you're in any doubt, don't be afraid to ask them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you have sex if you're pregnant?

As mentioned above, if your doctor or midwife has not given you any contraindications to sexual activity during your pregnancy, go ahead! Treat yourself

Can an orgasm cause contractions?

This is a common fear among future mums. What happens is that during an orgasm your body releases oxytocin (one of the 4 happy hormones, along with dopamine, serotonin and endorphin). When pleasure is reached and this hormone is released, your womb contracts (and you may feel a cramp), but this is perfectly safe.

Can sex during pregnancy cause labour?

No! The level of oxytocin released after orgasm is not high enough and the contractions of the uterus cannot be "turned" into contractions of labour.

I had some bleeding the last time I had sex

If it's just a few drops of blood, there's nothing to worry about. But if it's more heavy bleeding, you should see your doctor straight away, or go to A&E if you can't get an appointment to make sure everything is all right.

Which position should I avoid during pregnancy?

Generally speaking, it is not recommended to lie down in a position that causes your stomach to be squeezed. Standing upright or in a bent position is not ideal. The same applies to positions where the woman lies on her right side (because the baby could press on the vena cava, which is on that side. This could alter the venous return and cause a drop in tension or discomfort).

Back to sex after pregnancy: possible concerns

Whether you're pregnant or have already given birth, you may be in a situation where your sex life seems non-existent or your sexual relationship is not satisfying at all. The first thing you should know is that you're not alone, so don't feel guilty. There are many reasons for this situation.

82.5% is the percentage of women who are worried about having sex again after giving birth.

As mentioned above, not all pregnant women experience a peak in libido and desire for sex throughout their pregnancy. Tiredness, nausea or sensitivity in the breasts or pelvic area... so many complaints that can make you want to curl up under a blanket rather than share a hot moment with your partner.

Discovering a different body after pregnancy and childbirth

Different body after pregnancy

Discovering a different body after pregnancy and childbirth

We shouldn't underestimate our relationship with our bodies: the way we look at our curvy bodies (and the fantastic job they do!) and the possible appearance of stretch marks... While some of us may feel sexier, others may find it harder to see these body changes. After giving birth, your tummy is no longer tight but soft, your body recovers and bleeds, if you breastfeed, your breasts become the source of food for your baby. Not to mention the weight you will gain, which may stay or take some time to disappear. It's not easy to feel attractive under these circumstances.

Scar pain

After the changes in your body, you may still have pain or discomfort from an episiotomy or tear during delivery. Don't hesitate to talk about this with your midwife or doctor, and also with your partner, so that they understand your feelings.


Lack of sleep affects the desire for sex

In a study dedicated to "Sexoparenting", the French media "Exhausted Parent" anonymously interviewed 10,126 participants to better understand the dark side of their intimate lives. As a result, 61% of them said that their sexual life did not fully satisfy them, and when asked why, exhaustion came up in 59% of their answers... Exhaustion is one of the main reasons why parents of children under 1 feel unsatisfied with their sex life.

In the first few months after our daughter was born, I lost count of the number of times I woke up at night. We were exhausted. I remember it was a small victory to be able to shower before going to bed. So having sex... wasn't even an option. The more tired we got, the more likely we were to get angry... And fighting isn't the best foreplay! Of course, our sex drive only recovered when our daughter slept through the night - Sophie


Worried about your baby interrupting you during sex

We're talking about two types of "child presence" here: the baby still in the womb and the child playing in the next room, who could burst into your room at any moment to ask for breakfast...

  • In the first case, the sensation of a round belly with a baby moving inside can slow a couple down and block their desire. Be reassured: the baby doesn't "see" you, but feels the movements that rock him.
  • In the second case, this lack of intimacy can discourage parents who are afraid of being interrupted by their child or their crying baby.
Knowing that the children were nearby was a real obstacle in the first few years. The thought that at any moment one of them could cry out for a bottle, a hug, a dummy, a nightmare, etc., really reduced my desire. But as soon as the children were looked after by their grandparents, I recovered my sex drive. But that's something we never talked about as a couple - Alexandre


Postpartum depression can cause distance between a couple

So you've just given birth? The baby is here! Welcome to a new stage in your life: postpartum. A stage that can last from 6 weeks (you hear that a lot) to several years (yes, it can!). This stage is so overwhelming that it can be compared to a rollercoaster of emotions. Feelings of great happiness mixed with great confusion, moments of confusion, life-questioning situations, etc.: the postpartum period can be quite distressing for a couple. And during this period, mums sometimes suffer from postpartum depression. It's a pathology which affects between 10 and 30% of women (according to studies) and which needs to be addressed by following up with psychotherapeutic or, if needed, medical treatment.

In Australia, organisations like Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia or PANDA can help.


How to boost your sex drive and sex life?

There's no doubt about it: communication is part of the solution to getting a couple back on track. Seems obvious, right? Easier said than done. In the everyday life of a parent or future parent, it's often more difficult to put this into practice. It's not always easy to find the time to talk, to find the right words (that translate your thoughts without hurting your partner). When the tiredness takes over, when the mental strain is at its highest, how do you find the right moment?


Ask for help looking after your child for a few hours

If possible, leaving your child for a few hours, an evening or a weekend (depending on what suits you best) will help you to take some time for yourself. Rest, a hot meal (not like your coffee, which ends up cold because you are constantly interrupted) will put you in a better position to talk.

The first few months after the birth of our second daughter, we were exhausted. We lived far away from our family, so it was difficult to find time for ourselves, to relax or have a romantic dinner... Everything revolved around the children, their needs and our daily routine. So, in terms of sex, we had reached a complete vacuum. The trigger? When our baby started sleeping through the night. This meant more sleep, less tension, more discussions to understand each other better and try to take some of the pressure off each other. And little by little we started to rebuild our 'couple', with cuddles, sweet words, an unexpected weekday lunch together... and moments in bed! But clearly, the key for us was to recover our sleep and find some time for ourselves - Bastien


Talking to your partner about your intimacy, your inhibitions and your desires

It seems obvious, but it's not so easy. Finding the right words without offending your partner can sometimes be a challenge.


Talking about your sexuality with a health professional

The first step is to take the initiative to seek support from a professional. You could start by talking to your midwife (many are trained to do this) or your gynaecologist. If that doesn't work, you can always go to a sexologist. This professional will help your couple to focus on the dialogue, to become aware of the situation and possible fears, and to help you express your feelings. This can happen before or during pregnancy or after having given birth.

Are you embarrassed to talk about it? This is quite understandable. Sheila Warembourg, sex therapist and trainer, says: "The first thing I say to a person who comes to me is: 'What courage you have to call me! I know what it takes and I'm here to help you understand the situation better, see things more clearly and consider other options. If you are experiencing sexual anxiety during pregnancy or after giving birth, it may be a good time to think about having sex somewhere else (how about the living room or pantry?) or in a different way (for example, more caressing and less penetration)"

After giving birth, your body has gone through pregnancy and having your baby - quite an adventure! It's natural that it takes time to get settled.