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Pregnancy ‘honeymoon period’ is shorter than previously thought, study says

Pregnancy ‘honeymoon period’ is SHORTER than previously thought! Research reveals that women’s sexual desire only increases 60 percent in the second trimester

  • Experts surveyed pregnant women about their sex lives for each week of pregnancy
  • The chance of having sex only increased 60 percent from the second trimester
  • Previously, the entire trimester was considered prime time for sex

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The second trimester of pregnancy is often referred to as the “honeymoon period” as the symptoms of illness begin to fade and the need for sex returns.

But a new study suggests that the chances of having sex during this trimester are shorter than previously thought.

Researchers surveyed more than 200 American women about how often they had sex during each week of their pregnancy.

Overall, the odds of having intercourse increased for about 60 percent of the second trimester.

This is somewhat of a surprise, as the entire second trimester is generally considered the best time for sex.

A new study suggests pregnancy 'honeymoon period' - the second trimester - is shorter than previously thought (file photo)

A new study suggests pregnancy ‘honeymoon period’ – the second trimester – is shorter than previously thought (file photo)

THE THREE TRIMESTERS

first trimester

0 to 13 weeks

Begins on the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period.

second trimester

14 to 26 weeks

third trimester

27 to 40 weeks

A premature baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy

“Our findings show that pregnancy and the frequency of intercourse have a more complex relationship than previously thought,” said lead study author Shari M. Blumenstock of Indiana University.

“We hope the results will help clinicians provide useful information about the fluctuations of sexual behavior during pregnancy, and spread awareness about possible sudden drops in sexual frequency, which in turn may prepare or reassure both women and partners.”

For many pregnant women, the first trimester of pregnancy – 0 to 13 weeks – is characterized by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, constipation, cramps and more.

During the second trimester — 14 to 26 weeks — many of these pregnancy symptoms disappear or diminish.

Women regain a lot of their energy in the second trimester and often find that their libido increases, leading couples to rekindle their sex lives.

The NHS says it’s ‘completely safe’ for women to have sex during their pregnancy unless a doctor or midwife has told them not to, although some expectant couples abstain from sex entirely.

Researchers found a trend of decreased sexual activity during the first trimester - but surprisingly, there was no increased sexual activity during the entire second trimester (known as 'the honeymoon period')

Researchers found a trend of decreased sexual activity during the first trimester - but surprisingly, there was no increased sexual activity during the entire second trimester (known as 'the honeymoon period')

Researchers found a trend of decreased sexual activity during the first trimester – but surprisingly, there was no increased sexual activity during the entire second trimester (known as ‘the honeymoon period’)

BRITISH ABSTAIN SEX DURING PREGNANCY, STUDY FINDINGS

One in six British couples abstain from sex for the entire nine months of their pregnancy, according to a 2017 study.

A survey of 2,000 parents found that many worried about getting too intimate in case they hurt the baby, while one in 10 thought it was wrong to have sex with a baby on the go.

And while expectant couples claim to have had the best sex at about four months, by the sixth month, nearly one in six had stopped altogether.

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According to the study authors, differences in sexual frequency during pregnancy have already been documented in studies that examined only once per trimester.

Therefore, they wanted to assess changes in the frequency of intercourse more regularly, throughout all weeks of pregnancy.

A total of 237 women between the ages of 18 and 22 participated in an interview and weekly follow-up surveys about how often they had had sex.

Across the gestational period, the frequency of intercourse decreased overall, in line with common pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue and nausea, the researchers found.

They then looked at how the odds of intercourse fluctuated across the three trimesters by analyzing the raw data with computer models.

In general, the odds of having intercourse dropped sharply — about 18 percent per week — between conception and 11 weeks, so during the first trimester.

Then it increased about 3 percent per week between weeks 11 and 21 (the end of the first trimester and ending before the end of the second trimester).

But from week 22, the likelihood of intercourse then steadily decreased (6 percent per week) until the end of pregnancy until birth.

It's safe to have sex during pregnancy, there are conflicting views on how pregnancy can affect your sex life - from a turnoff to a turnoff

It's safe to have sex during pregnancy, there are conflicting views on how pregnancy can affect your sex life - from a turnoff to a turnoff

It’s safe to have sex during pregnancy, there are conflicting views on how pregnancy can affect your sex life – from a turnoff to a turnoff

Interestingly, the study was the first to show that sharp swings within trimesters correspond to pregnancy symptoms, which increase through the first 11 weeks and then disappear.

The experts say documenting “more precise patterns of change in sexual frequency” will be important for expecting couples “wanting to maintain sexual intimacy” during pregnancy.

They also acknowledge that the limited age group of the participants (18 to 22) “are less likely to have problems with sexual dysfunction” and may therefore have biased the results.

“It is less likely that changes in sexual frequency are related to aging-related sexual problems or pregnancy complications,” they say.

The new study is published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

IS SEX SAFE DURING PREGNANCY?

It is completely safe to have sex during pregnancy. Your partner’s penis can’t penetrate past your vagina and the baby can’t see what’s going on.

However, it is normal for your sex drive to change during pregnancy. Don’t worry about this, but do talk about it with your partner.

Later in pregnancy, orgasm or even sex itself can trigger contractions (known as Braxton Hicks contractions).

When this happens, you will feel the muscles of your uterus (womb) harden. This is completely normal and there is no cause for alarm. If it feels uncomfortable, try your relaxation techniques or lie down until the contractions are over.

Your midwife or doctor will probably advise you to avoid sex if you have had heavy bleeding during pregnancy, as sex may increase the risk of further bleeding if the placenta is low or there is a hematoma (blood build-up).

You are also advised to avoid sex if your waters have ruptured (water ruptures) as this can increase the risk of infection. If you are not sure, ask your midwife or doctor.

Some couples find sex very enjoyable during pregnancy, while others just feel like they don’t want sex. You can find other ways to love or make love. The most important thing is to talk to each other about your feelings.

Source: NHS Choices

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