How does pregnancy affect sex drive?

Pregnancy causes many changes in a woman's body, which may lower sex drive. Being pregnant causes changes in hormone levels, especially estrogen and testosterone. Because these hormones are so closely tied to sexual desire, these fluctuations may lower sex drive. Pregnancy also causes other changes that may affect body image, and these psychological factors may lower some women's libido. Feeling tired, anxious, or stressed often come along with being pregnant, so these factors may also lower women's sex drive.

Don't be surprised to find your feelings about sex with your partner change during pregnancy. Some women report feeling increased sexual desire during their pregnancies because of hormonal surges. At other times, you may feel a decreased desire for sex.

Additionally, physical changes may interfere with your desire for sex, including nausea, physical discomfort, fear of harming the baby and feeling less desirable because of your weight gain and appearance changes.

In the absence of conditions such as vaginal bleeding and ruptured membranes, sexual activity is safe during pregnancy. Don't worry about hurting the baby during sex; that won't happen because of the cushion provided by the fluid in the amniotic sac. Try different positions that don't put pressure on your abdomen. And if you're concerned that sexual activity might interfere with or cause a pregnancy complication, discuss the matter with your healthcare professional.

Your partner also may have a different sexual response to you during pregnancy. Some women report their partner draws closer to them during pregnancy, while others say their partners go through their own psychological changes and withdraw from the relationship. If your relationship becomes strained, your healthcare professional can refer you for counseling or other mental health services.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.