A new report reveals that having sex during pregnancy and beyond is one of those things that is trickier to prepare for.
Let's face it, things change. Body parts go wonky; emotions go haywire-and that's all before sleep deprivation kicks in.
Dr. Lauren Streicher, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University and author of the forthcoming Love Sex Again said that a lot of couples have a lot of questions about sex, which doctors aren't bringing it up, the Huffington Post reported.
Which is why Streicher and several other notables in the sexual health arena agreed to share a few of the very common things that happen during pregnant sex and sex after childbirth.
During the second trimester, many women experience a surge of hormones (including testosterone), which can significantly boost their sex drive, Rose Hartzell, a certified sex therapist with San Diego Sexual Medicine, said.
At the same time, it's not uncommon for a woman's partner to report being particularly turned on by her body-namely, her growing breasts-Streicher. And that could lead to an overall boost in couple-wide randiness, if you will.
Women's breasts might leak during sex. Streicher said that it typically begins in the second trimester, adding that it can be difficult for a woman's partner to adjust to the idea that her breasts are not simply there for sexual pleasure.
As pregnancy progresses and women's bodies change, many once beloved sexual positions are no longer comfortable or even feasible.
A 2012 study that looked at mothers' desire postpartum found that women tended to perform oral sex on their partners or masturbate before they were ready to have intercourse or receive oral sex themselves.
Indeed, roughly 40 percent of women reported they masturbated within the first few weeks of having a baby.
By the end of the first three months, 85 percent said they'd started having intercourse again, but Streicher said data suggests that many women don't totally enjoy it right away.
Thus, the "you're good to go after six weeks" advice that most doctors give to couples after a vaginal birth or C-section simply isn't realistic or all that helpful, she said.
The number one thing women don't expect is vaginal dryness, which may cause pain during sexual activity. The dryness results from a lack of estrogen, particularly among women who breastfeed.
A good lubricant can help, but if the dryness persists, Streicher suggests talking to your health care provider about your options.
Another change for which Streicher believes women are woefully unprepared is the incontinence that can occur after childbirth.
For many women, urine leakage (during sex or otherwise) does indeed go away on its own, usually within a matter of weeks or months, she said; for others, pelvic floor physical therapy may be necessary, or they might benefit from using an at-home kegel exerciser device.