The Truth About Pregnancy Sex (& Why I Hate It)

“It’s perfectly fine to have sex whenever you want,” my ob-gyn reminded me at my 11-weeks-pregnant appointment. She was going over the famous list of Pregnancy Dos and Don’ts (no raw fish, no unpasteurized milk or juices, and so on), and the sex part definitely caught my attention. In fact, I couldn’t help but cringe. Don’t get me wrong: I love having sex with my husband…just NOT when I’m pregnant.

Now, I’m not talking about that sweet spot right before the pregnancy symptoms hit. That’s the time when sex is actually really hot. All the extra hormones give my libido a nice little boost, chances are my boobs are a little bigger, and the big O goes from wow to WOOOWWWWW. Let the good times roll!


I’m talking about the moment morning sickness begins — which for me is a day-long battle to keep from throwing up on the subway, at work, while I’m playing with Mason after school — and all bets are off. My skin takes on a sickly pallor and the last thing I want is for anyone to touch me, let alone get all up in my business. After about 12 weeks of that, I get gas and heartburn and a baby bump. Not exactly the stuff that sexy time dreams are made of.

Consider that disastrous pregnancy sex scene in Knocked Up: Alison Scott (played by Katherine Heigl) and Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) are trying to have sex, but nothing works for her. Her chin looks fat and then her floppy boobs, which are “all National Geographic,” are distracting. They finally find a position Alison likes only for Ben to freak out because the baby kicks him in the middle of the act. The mood is killed, they both roll over angry and frustrated…

Well, Ben Stone was right: having sex with a baby between you and your partner is just weird. Part of having good sex is feeling comfortable and it’s impossible to feel comfortable like that. And it’s not like I can toss back half a bottle of red wine to get over my discomfort. Nope, I’m right there in the moment, stone-cold sober, savoring every second of the awkwardness.

But here’s the thing: I know I can’t just go on a pregnancy sex strike. I do crave that closeness with my husband. Instead, this time around, I’m trying to change my expectations. Having sex with a big pregnant belly (and my belly is already big at 15 weeks thanks to the wreckage of my abs from the first time around) isn’t going to be like having sex when I’m in shape. So instead of expecting it to be like it is when I’m not pregnant I’m just going to focus on feeling connected to my husband…and try to stop thinking about how less-than-ideal the circumstances are between us. Awkwardness be damned.  


Do you agree that pregnancy sex is the worst, or do you like it?