Dear Doctor: I am four months pregnant. Ever since I conceived, I have lost the sex urge. Will I remain like this even after delivery? I am married and I cannot do without sex in marriage. Please help.
Dear Nantongo: It is normal during pregnancy for a woman’s libido to run an undulating course. During the first three months, a rapid rise in sex hormones, emotional changes and morning sickness, may make sex a burden. However, later in pregnancy, as a woman’s general well-being improves, libido improves.
The increased blood flow to the genitals after three months of pregnancy makes a woman more easily aroused, and sex more pleasurable, further increasing her interest in sex.
Later in pregnancy, libido may go down. This is due to extreme tiredness and increased body size and the related discomfort requiring then a change in sex style (not to press the big tummy) and a less physical approach.
Many pregnant women are prone to vaginal candidiasis that may make sex painful, and this, together with the partner’s reaction to pregnancy (such as if he denies the pregnancy) may reduce the quality or frequency and desire for sex.
A few weeks after delivery, a woman’s tissues are returning to pre-pregnancy state and there may be little natural lubrication available, making sex painful and undesirable. After about six weeks, however, the tissues will have normalised thereby improving one’s sexual desire.
Women, during pregnancy, have many concerns. Their body image and changing shape (during and after pregnancy), sense of feeling unattractive, safety of the baby (some think that sex during pregnancy will cause disease to the baby) . These, among others, make them not desire sex.
These usual concerns require open discussion between partners with the help of antenatal health providers. The health providers will also help you choose the best contraception that may not make you lose libido further.