Phew, maybe you’re thinking…this girl gets straight to the point! And it’s true, because in this blog I want to talk about sexuality both during pregnancy and afterwards once the baby arrives. I have noticed that sex is kind of an awkward subject for women to talk about during appointments with their midwife. But why is that?

We all know how people get pregnant, so why can’t we talk about it? After all, research shows us that many women experience problems with sex during and after pregnancy.

At the moment I am a first year midwifery student in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. My first year of study is all about the physiology of pregnancy. I believe my studies and future job as a midwife are privileges, and I think that it’s an honour to be a part of such life changing events for women, and to be able to offer them support.

To continue on the subject of sexuality, maybe you’re thinking to yourself – what kind of problems could there be? The most common problems during pregnancy are generally a belly which is in the way, back pain or other pain in the body, feeling unattractive or feeling scared of hurting the baby. After delivery, women can struggle with the healing after a rupture, vaginal dryness, low sex drive and tiredness – because with a newborn baby you’re awake a lot during the night! And sometimes, with so many changes taking place in their bodies, women can feel unattractive or worry that their partners don’t find them as attractive as they did before.

The main message I have for any women who are worried is that it’s okay to have sex during pregnancy! You can try different positions and find what works and feels best for you at different stages of your pregnancy. There are only some specific circumstances when it’s not smart to have sex or an orgasm, for example, if you’re experiencing blood loss or suffer from severe varicose veins. It’s also not a good idea when your water breaks, as it could threaten premature birth, or when the placenta is located before the exit of the uterus.

Finally! Your little baby is there. What happens now? My advice here would be to take the time your body needs to heal! It has just accomplished an incredible thing, and will need to recover. The first time you have sex after giving birth can be exciting. Start carefully, take your time and consider using lubricant to make things easier.

Of course, if you experience regular or intense pain during sex at any point of pregnancy or after childbirth, make an appointment to talk to your midwife or doctor. They will be able to help you, give you tips and hopefully put your mind at ease. And if that is a too big step for you, try researching using reliable websites online until you feel more ready to talk to someone in person.

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