Form New Habits
One thing that can really put a damper on a sex life during pregnancy is the idea that "intimacy" equals intercourse. Putting the actual act aside and thinking about why you want to be close to your spouse in the first place can really help."Pregnancy is a great time to form new habits around a couple's sexuality," Dr. Trina says. "Too many couples view sex as intercourse when it actually is a time to share, nurture and be close to one another—if intercourse happens, great; if not, that's OK too."
Kim agrees. "One important component to remaining close was to not have sex when I didn't feel like it," says the mother of three. "I learned this in my first pregnancy when I was trying to be everything—including a sexy mama, corporate worker and can-do woman—and I was losing my connection with myself."
Instead, the mother of three found other ways to stay close to her spouse. "I could still have sweet hugs and long cuddles with my husband, but if I didn't feel like sex, I just didn't," Kim says. "I'd lovingly explain, of course. And if I didn't feel like sex at the moment, I knew another moment would come when I did."
Just the act of being physically close is important. "Pregnancy is a great time for a couple to form new and better sexual habits—focusing on 'outercourse' rather than intercourse," Dr. Trina says. "What makes intercourse feel so special is we are physically close, touching and (hopefully) giving our partner our undivided attention."
What are some ways to keep the fire burning, even if sex isn't on the program? Think back to your dating days and how you kept things hot then. "Keep flirting," Holliday says. "Text message, call each other's cell phones, caress, kiss each other often. Deep kissing is especially important because it's very intimate."
Massages can be very sexy. "Often, after such massages (usually 45 minutes to an hour), I was completely in the mood to make love," Kim says. "So was he."
Bathing or showering together can be an intimate treat, too. "We took showers together, which felt very sensual," Sue says. "I also tried to stay in the moment and not worry if I found that I couldn't continue that particular sexual experience."
Brisben has two final suggestions: "From the second you realize you are pregnant, you should be talking with one another and emphasizing how important it is to you to maintain intimacy throughout the first, second, and third trimesters—all the way until the baby is born and beyond!" she says. "Also, make sure that you are not just talking about the baby all of the time. You and your partner have a relationship that is separate from the relationship you will have relative to your child, and you need to make sure that you nurture that as well!"
* Last name withheld to protect privacy.