Pregnancy period: How to maintain intimacy with spouse

Emeh Joy

Pregnancy sure does come with a unique feeling of joy and excitement as the new life grows inside an expectant mother, but this can also be a trying period for most partners as some do not know what to expect or how to keep their intimacy intact during this time.

A man holding his pregnant wife affectionately

Before you know it that initial feeling of euphoria that washes over a couple when they learn they will soon be having a baby gets overshadowed by a sense of fear and apprehension.

The months after are usually not easy not just for the expectant mother but also for the father as well.

This is because the mother will go through a lot of physical, emotional and psychological changes which will tend to put a strain on the couple's relationship.

Mind you, most of these changes that take place are a result of factors that are not under her control, such as hormonal fluctuations.

What should you expect during pregnancy?

We are not here to talk about embryogenesis, cell differentiation, gastrulation, neurulation or other medical jargons that are linked with conception but we are here to talk about what will really happen to a pregnant woman after conception.

The things she can feel, notice and can talk about. Most mothers can relate to these changes.

1st trimester (first 12 weeks of pregnancy)

This period is usually physically exhausting for the expectant mother. The baby bump may not be pretty much visible now; however, certain changes would be noted. You should expect to experience vomiting, nausea, sensitive breasts and fatigue this period.

All these may culminate to a decreased desire for sex. But low sex doesn't mean 'no intimacy'.

2nd trimester (12 to 32 week of pregnancy)

This period is even more exciting for a spouse as the baby starts making its presence felt. This is the period when the mother indeed starts feeling the young being growing within her.

Sex desire is more likely to increase during this period; however, in most cases, the feeling of a baby inside there could cause a decrease in sexual frequency.

3rd trimester (32nd week of pregnancy till childbirth)

At this point, you are getting closer to your due date, and you are much likey to experience lots of doubts and uncertainties as regards the upcoming birth. Pelvic changes will accompany the anxieties, and they are all normal.

Often, all these lead to fluctuations in sexual desire as there would be periods of intense sexual activity followed by periods of low sexual passion and the desire to focus on the baby alone.

The ability to cope with these changes will help the general wellbeing of you and your partner. If you don't manage the situation of things you may lose not just the connection with your partner but also the benefits of a full parenting team.

How do you keep the connection and intimacy intact with your spouse?

Keep the communication lines open

Communication is crucial at every point in a marriage or relationship, pregnancy period inclusive.

Some women tend to get withdrawn during this period, but you should know you are not helping your spouse much by doing so.

Indeed, the father would want to be part of your life and that of the unborn baby at such time and since he can't share in the physiological and anatomical changes you go through, the least you can do is to share your experiences with him.

Tell him how you feel. Tell him where it hurts. An incoming baby shouldn't break the bond you both share.

Mix your baby business with pleasure

Yes, we know this is a delicate period for you, and you have pretty tiny thing growing in there, but you don't always have to bring up the overly serious attitude.

You could decide to go baby clothing shopping with your spouse; hands entwined as you work the aisle of the store. Go for that ultrasound appointment together and follow it up with lunch at your favourite spot.

The idea is to turn your baby business into a fun one.

Don't lose your spontaneity

Don't get stuck up focusing on just the baby that you and your partner lose sight of yourselves. As much as you can and just for no particular reason, surprise your partner. It doesn't have to be with a gift.

It could a gesture as simple as an affectionate kiss, caress, hug or a flirty compliment.

Feel free to go all adventurous and freaky (but ensure your baby is safe)

Bring romance into the picture

People often make this mistake of thinking intimacy is all about sex. Intimacy goes beyond sex.

It could be a lot of things, even without sex in the picture. Intimacy is you feeling the other person is really there for you. It is that feeling of closeness and atmosphere of openness you feel towards another.

Intimacy could be expressed through a romantic attitude. This goes to the men especially, the expectant mother, at this point, would need lots of love, lots of reassurance.

Think of sending her beautiful flowers with love notes. Think of bringing her breakfast in bed etc.

Both partners shouldn't take the romance out of the picture now. You can schedule weekly date nights or watch romantic movies.

For the men- court your pregnant wife

Pregnancy is a very sensitive period for women. The cascade of hormones released could leave them overwhelmed with emotions; hence, the frequent switch in their moods.

This is even the perfect time when you should treat your wife with the same degree of love and attention you used to give her when you were dating. Don't allow them to all get buried in marital duties and preparations for the incoming baby.

Revive the art of flirting with your spouse. Send each other flattery texts and bring back that magic that had always existed between you two.

A man got his pregnant wife beautiful flowers

Involve your man in every step of the way

You will be tempted not to tell him about many things because "he is a man and won't understand". And so you start seeking for your mom or sister to talk to.

While it is great to have someone that has experienced similar things to talk to, it will be highly inappropriate to assume your husband would be so insensitive as not to understand your fears and what you are going through.

Your husband loves you and cares about you; thus, you shouldn't keep him in the dark. Keep him updated about everything. Discuss your doctor's appointment, the pain you feel, the strange cravings you get and the weird changes you noticed within you.

Don't be afraid to have sex and don't be scared not to have sex

Perhaps you should read that point again to grasp it. Some couples nurse the fear that having sex during pregnancy would hurt the baby, but that is hardly true.

You both need to be open about your needs. Most days you might not be in for it as you may be experiencing soreness of the breast or cramps, but there are surely days you would feel up to it, communicate.

Don't totally write off your partner's needs even when looking out for yourself. Sex is safe during this period you just have to be more careful about your positions.

Again, you shouldn't be afraid of not having sex. As we said earlier, intimacy isn't just about sex. You both can do the cuddling, massaging, flirting and touching without necessarily going all the way if you don't feel like it.