At first, there is nothing more unnerving than the thought that occurs mid-coitus: “I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant”¦ I’m already pregnant!” I spent the first decade or so of my sexually active life carefully making sure I didn’t get pregnant. Then I spent two weeks actually trying to get pregnant. Now it’s just sex, which might be the most unnerving of all. There’s no long-term thought involved in it beyond “I hope this doesn’t give me a backache.”
One of my first physical symptoms of pregnancy was breast tenderness, and it continued for the first twelve weeks or so. I used to love it when someone paid attention to them, but suddenly even touching my boobs meant Josh had a 50/50 chance of getting yelled at because they were too tender. Gentle cupping? Mostly okay. Nipple stimulation? Get away from me, we’re done here, I need to put on another sports bra. Even removing my bra at night was painful, imagine trying to negotiate intercourse when I was afraid to let my boobs move more than ½” at a time.
My cervix became more sensitive and seemed to re-position itself early on, so certain angles that had previously been delightful became painful. The needed angle change, combined with my desire to never let anyone touch my boobs ever again and my raging nausea, meant that sex was to be navigated like a minefield–everything seemed to be potentially painful or miserable in an act that I still greatly desired and had previously enjoyed. I felt like my body was betraying me left and right, and it created stress between us until we were able to relax and try different techniques to achieve our mutual goal (orgasm, duh).
The pregnancy books will suggest that you give up missionary and learn to love being on top, or lying on your side with him behind you. This is nice advice, but maybe you already feel self-conscious about your body, and its changing dimensions and sensations make being on top the most unsexy place ever–you can see your body and instead of feeling all sexy and earth-mama-ish, you just feel awkward, and it means he gets too deep, and maybe you also are still having personal issues with your weight that being on top of your partner just seems to exacerbate. If you like missionary, keep up with it! Just adapt the position–don’t let him lie on your stomach; lift your knees and use your bent legs to help control penetration depth and angles. As your uterus size increases, it will crowd your organs and your lungs, decreasing your lung capacity, something you won’t notice until you have to stop mid-intercourse to catch your breath as you lay in your back. On your side with him behind you is pretty low-stress on your body, but may be difficult to initiate if you’re sleeping with a pregnancy body pillow like the Snoogle. Right now, in order to initiate sex, I first have to summit the Snoogle and then shove it over to the side of the bed. With my increasing bulk and my decreasing lung capacity, this is a lot of grunting and huffing, not the most erotic scene ever.
The unspoken spectator to all of the sex you do get around to having is your fetus. As every pregnancy book will tell you, the penetrating partner can rest easy because the kid won’t be encountering the penis–there’s a closed cervix, among other things, blocking its way. However, it may take some getting used to once you start to show, an undeniable reminder of what’s happening in your body. Sometimes I love the bump, but during sex it’s simply an obstruction. When the fetus is asleep, that is. The oxytocin released by orgasm may cause uterine contractions, which are easy enough to ignore in the heat of the moment. However, that oxytocin can also get into your fetus’ system, either putting them to sleep or waking them up. I can safely guarantee you that there is nothing your partner wants to hear less in the moment post-coitus than “hey, he really liked that, he’s moving around like crazy.” This is an almost sure-fire way to ensure that you will not be having any more sex for at least an hour, or until your partner forgets what you said.