Pre-Natal and Post-Natal Sexual Issues

Pre-Natal Sexual Issues

Pre-natal issues include the spectrum of Miscarriage and subsequent sex and Conception/IVF and Associated Issues and also pregnancy issues.

Sex during Pregnancy

For the vast majority of women, sexual intercourse and orgasm during pregnancy are safe unless you have been specifically advised (by your obstetrician or gynaecologist) to avoid intercourse. Sex may not be safe if a woman has:

  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding;
  • Abdominal pain, cramping or contractions;
  • Ruptured membranes (ie. if her waters have broken);
  • Premature dilation of the cervix; or other factors that may put her at high risk of premature labour eg past history of premature delivery or a multiple pregnancy.

    Sex during pregnancy is safe and enjoyable for most couples. However, pregnancy is a time of many changes, both physical and emotional. These changes may alter a woman's sexual interest or desire. In addition, physical discomforts of pregnancy or fears of harming the baby can affect a couple's sexual relationship.

    Many women experience a decrease in sexual desire as their pregnancy progresses. This is normal, and in most cases sexual desire returns to normal some time after delivery. Conversely other women experience no change in sexual drive or even an increased interest in sex during pregnancy. This is also normal and healthy.

    Men and Pregnancy

    Men also sometimes experience changes in libido during a partner's pregnancy. These may include increased arousal due to the physical changes occurring in his partner, or fear and anxiety about harming the baby or becoming a father. Irrespective of the apparent changes, it is important for a couple to openly discuss sexual issues during pregnancy. Rapid physical changes are occurring and something that is enjoyable and comfortable one week may be painful the next. Also if sexual interest or desire does decrease, couples should be encouraged to explore other options for non-penetrative sex (ie no intercourse) or ‘outer-course’ as an alternative means of sexual expression, such as cuddling or massage.

    Talking about Sex when Pregnant

    Many women find discussing sexual matters with their obstetrician or GP very uncomfortable. However, if you have any questions regarding the changes you are experiencing, it is important to seek reassurance and have your questions answered.  At Sexology Australia we have experienced therapists that can address your concerns – to complement your obstetrician or GP you consult during your pregnancy.
    Please contact us at Sexology Australia for further information or to make an appointment.

    Click here for further information on Pregnant Sex 

    Post-natal Sexual Issues

    Despite how much you prepare and anticipate the arrival of your baby, no-one can really explain how you will feel, react or cope with the challenges that confront a first-time mum during the initial 6-12 weeks post birth, irrespective of whether it is a vaginal or caesarean birth.  Many women are cautious of PND (post natal depression), yet may struggle with their determination to feel normal and happy juggling the demands of a newborn and visitors etc – and of course their ongoing sleep deprivation which has an insidious, cumulative effect.  And many women also have to contend with thinking about childcare options and return to part-time or full-time employment, and also consider whether to continue breastfeeding, express or switch to formula if they haven’t already done so.

    Sex is important – as it brings emotional and psychological intimacy and closeness, yet most women are suffering from chronic fatigue and fluctuating levels of sexual desire, and some women suffer from a significant decrease in sexual desire during this period.

    Although the 6-week post-natal check is considered the time when sexual activity can resume, many women struggle with desire and may not be psychologically or physically ready to pursue sexual intercourse, particularly if they experienced a difficult vaginal birth.

    Communication with your partner is vital to maintain psychological and emotional intimacy. It is important to discuss and share your feelings about sex with your partner.  As in the final stages of pregnancy, couples should be encouraged to explore ‘outer-course’ as an alternative means for sexual expression, such as cuddling or massage.

    Here are some tips to enhancing your postpartum sex life!

    Please contact us at Sexology Australia for further information or to arrange an appointment.