‘Now she felt good. She felt great. She loved her swelling body, loved how everyone gave way before her, paid her tribute, wanted to touch her arm or shoulder. In the mirror, her face glowed. Her days of nausea were forgotten. Pregnancy was easy, it was a breeze on a summer day.’
– John Thorndike, A Hundred Fires in Cuba
Once again, I have discovered huge gaps in my supposedly comprehensive medical knowledge. In further proof that I can’t remember facts that I rarely use, I actually don’t know when pregnancy moves from the second to third trimester, and much of what I’ve read seems to vary too! I can only assume that as the ‘end’ of pregnancy is such a moveable feast, measuring a third from the end is more variable than measuring from the beginning – I’ve seen anything from 26 weeks to 30 weeks listed as the start of the third trimester. I am currently at 27 weeks, which is over the strictly mathematical line of 26 weeks and 4 days as two thirds of 40 weeks so I’m declaring my second trimester over!
In contrast to the first trimester when I felt like crap but looked pretty much the same, during this trimester I have felt pretty much my normal self but have looked really different! My tits and nipples have continued to grow and my belly has swollen to a somewhat terrifying size considering there are three months of growth left. And our baby girl is moving a lot too – kicking and jumping and creating all sorts of strange internal flipping feelings. Luckily, this hasn’t felt as alien as I’d feared it might, but it has still been a strange sensation. I generally feel much better too. Less fatigue, no nausea, but these have been replaced with excess gas, constipation, back ache and other charming new symptoms like that.
But despite all that, this trimester has been pretty fun. I haven’t noticed that much talked about rush of pregnancy horniness yet, and doubt that I will now, but I have felt more like my normal self and my sex drive has returned to somewhere close to normal. I did wonder if that was the secret – that I just wanted sex again after three months of feeling exhausted and flat, and this was misinterpreted as an increased level of desire. I have, however, heard from others that pregnancy did increase their libido so I guess it’s another example of how we are all wonderfully individual.
As my belly has grown, it has changed how we have sex. I’m sure this will be the main topic of my third trimester post, but certain positions have become more awkward than before. I just feel generally less limber so perhaps more acrobatic positions and frequent changes are significantly more effort! When I’m on top, it’s difficult for him to penetrate so deeply unless I’m sitting very upright as my bump is in the way, and spooning also requires much more of a back bend than I remember, stretching my belly. Doggy style remains the easiest and least affected position – it’s a favourite for a reason – and missionary sex still feels amazing but has, um, other problems…
But the most significant change to my sexual experience now that I’m pregnant has been in exactly how I orgasm.
I’ve written in previous posts about orgasms that I’ve long been aware of the difference between my experience of solely clitoral orgasms and those that develop from internal and G-spot stimulation, but this has been exaggerated as my body has changed. I also had no idea quite how much my uterus was involved in my orgasms but, wow, it really contracts as I come and remains firm for a good few minutes afterwards. I can’t decide if these pleasurable contractions are a new feature of my pregnant uterus or if it is simply a matter of my uterus being just so much bigger now that I can’t mistake where this sensation is coming from.
As a quick aside from sexual experiences to more general pregnancy experiences, I have been very surprised how often I’ve been having Braxton-Hicks type contractions. Ever since I’ve been able to feel the top of my womb above my pubic bone, there have been times when it’s contracted and become firmer. They’re not that painful, just a bit crampy like the end of a period pain, but I’ve been having them most days, sometimes when I’ve over exerted myself or simply changed position. Neither my midwife or midwife sister seemed that bothered by this so I’m not worried and have been thinking of them as good practice for later!
Speaking of which, these cramping practice contractions are so much more frequent when we’re having sex that I have been wondering about using orgasms to assist with labour, something I definitely intend to investigate thoroughly closer to the time…
The uterine contractions aren’t the only way that my orgasms have changed. Almost as if the pleasure has to climb a bigger mountain in my massive uterus to reach the peak, I’ve found clitoral orgasms harder to reach when having partnered sex. Even when masturbating, there feels like much more of a cliff edge to approach and push over than before – the build up to clitoral orgasms is harder and more effortful, without much change in the resultant orgasm. In contrast, pelvic and internal orgasms having become much, much easier and much, much stronger! Whether it is because of increased blood flow or my renewed attention to pelvic floor exercises, penetration feels a lot better and I come much more easily this way now than before. It’s been quite a revelation!
So in general, the second trimester has been much more fun! My libido has returned; I’ve been wanking again, something that noticeably fell away when I was so exhausted in the first trimester, and enjoying sex a lot more again, even if orgasms are occasionally followed by somewhat uncomfortable cramps. And the pregnancy books aren’t lying when they say that your hair and skin become much more luscious during this time. I literally feel like I’m blooming, which makes me feel sexy again. Hurray!
I’m a little nervous about the third trimester, and not just because it ends with birth – I fear that the minor difficulties we’re having now with awkwardness and manoeuvrability are going to get a hell of a lot worse, which is likely to make me feel less sexy and more like a beached whale. Watch this space!
Oh, and to end with a cautionary tale – the increased susceptibility to thrush is real and awful! Take care with underwear and lube choices, and treat early. Honestly, the horror…