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So we know pregnancy and hot, hot sex may not be synonymous in your book—but pregnancy doesn't have to mean nine months of abstinence. In fact, it definitely shouldn't! Everyone is different, but there are some typical patterns you can expect.


Here's what the experts at Good in Bed have to say about sex during pregnancy. With a name like that, we couldn't trust them more.?

When it comes to sex during pregnancy, here's what you can expect:

Sex drive

Although hormones and increased blood flow to the pelvis play a role, sex drive during pregnancy is pretty individual. In general, you can expect libido to wane during the first trimester (you know, morning sickness and all), rise when these symptoms ebb and likely fall again during the final months of pregnancy.

Lubrication

As hormonal levels change, you may find that you're dryer than usual. In your second semester, lubrication can actually increase, which some women find boosts their desire for sex.

Orgasms

Increased blood flow and sensitivity in the genitals may mean that your orgasms are more intense and pleasurable than ever before. Some women experience the first orgasm of their lives—or multiple orgasms—during the second trimester of pregnancy. Go get it on, mama.

Baby bumps + sexiness

You may never feel more feminine, strong or sensual than you do now. Many women love their pregnancy curves and discover a new sense of self-esteem.

Rosier skin, healthier hair and full breasts are just a few of the sexier physical changes of pregnancy. The increased blood flow to your genitals may make you feel as though you are in a constant state of arousal.

How you feel about your body can change, not just from trimester to trimester, but from week to week and even day to day.

Fall in love with your pregnant body by embracing things like yoga, sexy maternity clothes, lingerie and pregnancy massages. Basically, you have our permission to buy all the things. ?

How he feels

Obviously, the changes that pregnancy brings are huge for women. A side effect of that is that we can forget about the dads. Let's be real—most men LOVE their pregnant wives. And some are even more turned on by all the new curves. But of course, there will be times it's not you, it's him.

Here are a few reasons he might not be that into it...

—He's worried he'll hurt the baby (he won't)
—He's stressed about money
—He's being polite and doesn't want to pressure you
—He's jealous of the attention you're getting
—He's scared of change
—He's freaked out by fatherhood




So, what should you do?

Talk about it. Things are changing for both of you, so encourage him to open up about his feelings and be open about yours as well. Keeping the lines open to discuss all the intimate details of your sex life is important now, and for the rest of your lives together.

Pregnancy sex myths

1. Sex will hurt the baby.

This is probably the biggest fear that couples have about making love during pregnancy. Specifically, your man might worry that he'll hit the baby in the head with his penis.

Your developing baby is shielded by the strong muscles of the uterus, as well as by the amniotic sac and fluid. The thick mucus plug that blocks the cervix during pregnancy adds another layer of protection. And a penis isn't large enough to do any damage (sorry, guys).

The verdict? Sex is perfectly safe for most couples. And, might we add, encouraged. ?

2. Intercourse + orgasms can trigger premature labor.

Again, if you have a high-risk pregnancy or a history of premature labor, it's best to talk with your health care provider about this. Otherwise, intercourse is safe for pregnant couples.

So try not to worry that climaxing will lead to early labor or a miscarriage. Although some research suggests that orgasmic contractions may trigger labor, newer studies have found that climaxing during intercourse has no effect on childbirth and may even protect against premature delivery.

Fun fact: Orgasms during pregnancy may be some of your most intense. (Where do we sign up?)

3. Pregnant sex is uncomfortable sex.

Okay, so the idea of awkward missionary-style sex with a big baby bump between you two probably isn't going to send you swooning with pleasure.

The first trimester may be filled with nausea, fatigue and other unpleasant physical sensations that hardly put you in the mood. And you may feel too uncomfortable to make love during your last few months. If you're just not interested, that's okay.

But if you're feeling sexy, the right positions, lubrication and other adjustments can help you enjoy comfortable, even mind-blowing, sex throughout your pregnancy.

Best positions for pregnancy

While you can usually enjoy intercourse all the way up until your due date, some positions are more comfortable than others.

In general, any position that puts pressure on your back or stomach can be tough. Not only can your baby bump get in the way, but after the fourth month, lying on your back can cause your growing uterus to put pressure on major blood vessels in your body.

Try these positions + find what works for both of you:

Woman on top

In this position, the man lies on his back while the woman straddles him. It takes the pressure off her back and belly, allows her to control the depth and speed of thrusting—and gives him a great view! This position is great in the first and second trimesters. The increased weight and size of your belly may make it difficult to maneuver in the last trimester.

Sitting

A variation on woman on top, this position involves the man sitting in an armless chair, with the woman facing and straddling him. It is extremely intimate and allows you to gaze into each other's eyes. This position is best during the first and second trimesters.

Side-by-side

You both lie on your side, facing each other. This position also keeps the weight off your belly, supports the uterus and may also make you feel particularly intimate. Enjoy it during the first trimester and early second trimester.

Spooning

The same position that allows for such good post-sex cuddle is also great for intercourse during pregnancy. The man lies on his side behind the woman, facing her back. This takes the pressure off her belly and prevents deep penetration, which may be uncomfortable later in pregnancy. This position is perfect during the last trimester.

Hands and knees

Also known as rear entry or “doggy style," this position places the woman on her hands in knees with her partner entering her from behind. Place a few pillows under her belly and breasts to help support them. Try it during the first, second and early third trimesters. Because this position can result in deeper penetration, you may want to avoid it later in the third trimester.

Modified missionary

You lie on your back, pull your knees up to your chest and rest your feet on his chest (or, if you're really flexible, on his shoulders). He kneels and enters without placing his weight on your body.

When sex is considered unsafe during pregnancy

For most couples, intercourse and other sexual activities are safe all the way up until your water breaks. There are cases, though, where your physician, nurse or midwife may recommend that you abstain from intercourse and/or orgasm.

When placed on sex restrictions, it's important to ask whether you can have intercourse, orgasm through other means like oral sex or masturbation, or neither.

Restrictions include:

—A history of preterm labor (delivering a baby earlier than 37 weeks)
—A history of miscarriage
—Signs of preterm labor, such as premature uterine contractions
—Unexplained vaginal discharge, bleeding or cramping
—Leakage of amniotic fluid
—Incompetent cervix (a condition in which the cervix dilates prematurely, raising the risk for preterm delivery or miscarriage)
—Placenta previa (a condition in which the placenta covers the cervix)
—Multiple fetuses, such as twins, triplets, etc.






If you aren't in any of these categories but experience bleeding, pain or cramping just after intercourse, or if orgasm that doesn't disappear after a few minutes, call your health care practitioner.


A version of this article was originally published on Good in Bed.

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We spend a lot of time prepping for the arrival of a baby. But when it comes to the arrival of our breast milk (and all the massive adjustments that come with it), it's easy to be caught off guard. Stocking up on a few breastfeeding essentials can make the transition to breastfeeding a lot less stressful, which means more time and energy focusing on what's most important: Your recovery and your brand new baby.

Here are the essential breastfeeding tools you'll need, mama:

1. For covering up: A cute nursing cover

First and foremost, please know that all 50 states in the United States have laws that allow women to breastfeed in public. You do not have to cover yourself if you don't want to—and many mamas choose not to—and we are all for it.

That said, if you do anticipate wanting to take a more modest approach to breastfeeding, a nursing cover is a must. You will find an array of styles to choose from, but we love an infinity scarf, like the LK Baby Infinity Nursing Scarf Nursing Cover. You'll be able to wear the nursing cover instead of stuffing it in your already brimming diaper bag—and it's nice to have it right there when the baby is ready to eat.

Also, in the inevitable event that your baby spits-up on you or you leak some milk through your shirt, having a quick and stylish way to cover up is a total #momwin.

2. For getting comfortable: A cozy glider

Having a comfy spot to nurse can make a huge difference. Bonus points if that comfy place totally brings a room together, like the Delta Children Paris Upholstered Glider!

Get your cozy space ready to go, and when your baby is here, you can retreat from the world and just nurse, bond, and love.

3. For unmatched support: A wire-free nursing bra

It may take trying on several brands to find the perfect match, but finding a nursing bra that you love is 100% worth the effort. Your breasts will be changing and working in ways that are hard to imagine. An excellent supportive bra will make this so much more comfortable.

It is crucial to choose a wireless bra for the first weeks of nursing since underwire can increase the risk of clogged ducts (ouch).The Playtex Maternity Shaping Foam Wirefree Nursing Bra is an awesome pick for this reason, and because it is designed to flex and fit your breasts as they go through all those changes.

4. For maximum hydration: A large reusable water bottle

Nothing can prepare you for the intense thirst that hits when breastfeeding. Quench that thirst (and help keep your milk supply up in the process) by always having a water bottle with a straw nearby, like this Exquis Large Outdoor Water Bottle.

5. For feeding convenience: A supportive nursing tank

Experts recommend that during the first weeks of your baby's life, you breastfeed on-demand, meaning that any time your tiny boss demands milk, you feed them. This will help establish your milk supply and get everything off to a good start.

What does this mean for your life? You will be breastfeeding A LOT. Nursing tanks, like the Loving Moments by Leading Lady, make this so much easier. They have built-in support to keep you comfy, and you can totally wear them around the house, or even out and about. When your baby wants to eat, you'll be able to quickly "pop out" a breast and feed them.

6. For pain prevention: A quality nipple ointment

Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, but the truth is those first days can be uncomfortable. Your nipples will likely feel raw as they adjust to their new job. This will get better! But until it does, nipple ointment is amazing.

My favorite is the Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter. We love that it's organic, and it is oh-so-soothing on your hard-at-work nipples.

Psst: If it actually hurts when your baby latches on, something may be up, so call your provider or a lactation consultant for help.

7. For uncomfortable moments: A dual breast therapy pack

As your breasts adjust to their new role, you may experience a few discomforts—applying warmth or cold can help make them feel so much better. The Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pack is awesome because you can microwave the pads or put them in the freezer, giving you a lot of options when your breasts need some TLC.

Again, if you have any concerns about something being wrong (pain, a bump that may be red or hot, fever, or anything else), call a professional right away.

8. For inevitable leaks: An absorbing breast pad

In today's episode of, "Oh come on, really?" you are going to leak breastmilk. Now, this is entirely natural and you are certainly not required to do anything about this. Still, many moms choose to wear breast pads in their bras to avoid leaking through to their shirts.

You can go the convenient and disposable route with Lansinoh Disposable Stay Dry Nursing Pads, or for a more environmentally friendly option, you can choose washable pads, like these Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads.

9. For flexibility: A breast pump

Many women find that a breast pump becomes one of their most essential mom-tools. The ability to provide breast milk when you are away from your baby (and relieve uncomfortable engorged breasts) will add so much flexibility into your new-mom life.

For quick trips out and super-easy in-your-bag transport, opt for a manual pump like the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump .

If you will be away from your baby for longer periods of time (traveling or working outside the home, for example) an electric pump is your most efficient bet. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is a classic go-to that will absolutely get the job done, and then some.

10. For quality storage: Breast milk bags

Once you pump your liquid gold, aka breast milk, you'll need a place to store it. The Kiinde Twist Pouches allow you to pump directly into the bags which means one less step (and way less to clean).

11. For keeping cool: A freezer bag

Transport your pumped milk back home to your baby safely in a cooler like the Mommy Knows Best Breast Milk Baby Bottle Cooler Bag. Remember to put the milk in a fridge or freezer as soon as you can to optimize how long it stays usable for.

12. For continued nourishment: Bottles

Nothing beats the peace of mind you get when you know that your baby is being well-taken of care—and well fed—until you can be together again. The Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Newborn Starter Gift Set is a fan favorite (mama and baby fans alike).

This article is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.

Coverage:

A viral video about car seat safety has parents everywhere cracking up and humming Sir-Mix-A-Lot.

"I like safe kids and I cannot lie," raps Norman Regional Health System pediatric hospitalist Dr. Kate Cook (after prefacing her music video with an apology to her children."I'm a doctor tryin' warn you that recs have changed," she continues.

Dr. Cook's rap video is all about the importance of keeping babies facing backward. It's aptly called "Babies Face Back," and uses humor and parody to drive home car seat recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

"Switching from rear-facing to forward-facing is a milestone many parents can't wait to reach," Dr. Cook said in a news release about her hilarious video. "But this is one area where you want to delay the transition as long as possible because each one actually reduces the protection to the child."

Last summer the AAP updated its official stance on car seat safety to be more in line with what so many parents were already doing and recommended that kids stay rear-facing for as long as possible. But with so many things to keep track of in life, it is understandable that some parents still don't know about the change. Dr. Cook wants to change that with some cringe-worthy rapping.

The AAP recommends:

  • Babies and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat.
  • Once they are facing forward, children should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible. Many seats are good up to 65 pounds.
  • When children outgrow their car seat they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle's lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly, between 8 and 12 years old.

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[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

Suicide rates for girls and women in the United States have increased 50% since 2000, according to the CDC and new research indicates a growing number of pregnant and postpartum women are dying by suicide and overdose. Suicide rates for boys and men are up, too.

It's clear there is a mental health crisis in America and it is robbing children of their mothers and mothers of their children.

Medical professionals urge people to get help early, but sometimes getting help is not so simple. For many Americans, the life preserver that is mental health care is out of reach when they are drowning.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg just released a plan he hopes could change that and says the neglect of mental health in the United States must end. "Our plan breaks down the barriers around mental health and builds up a sense of belonging that will help millions of suffering Americans heal," says Buttigieg.

He thinks he can "prevent 1 million deaths of despair by 2028" by giving Americans more access to mental health and addictions services.

In a country where giving birth can put a mother in debt, it's not surprising that while as many as 1 in 5 new moms suffers from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, more than half of new moms who need mental health treatment don't get it. Stigma, childcare and of course costs are factors in why women aren't seeking help when they are struggling.

Buttigieg's plan is interesting because it could remove some of these barriers. He wants to make mental health care more affordable by ensuring everyone has comprehensive coverage for mental health care and by ensuring that everyone can access a free yearly mental health check-up.

That could make getting help more affordable for some moms, and by increasing reimbursement rates for mental health care delivered through telehealth, this plan could help moms get face time with a medical professional without having to deal with finding childcare first.

Estimates from new research suggest that in some parts of America as many as 14% or 30% of maternal deaths are caused by addiction or suicide. Buttigieg's plan aims to reduce those estimates by fighting the addiction and opioid crisis and increasing access to mental health services in underserved communities and for people of color. He also wants to reduce the stigma and increase support for the next generation by requiring "every school across the country to teach Mental Health First Aid courses."

These are lofty goals with a lofty price tag. It would cost about $300 billion to do what Buttigieg sets out in his plan and the specifics of how the plan would be funded aren't yet known. Neither is how voters will react to this 18-page plan and whether it will help Buttigieg stand out in a crowded field of Democratic candidates.

What we do know is that right now, America is talking about mental health and whether or not that benefits Buttigieg's campaign it will certainly benefit America.

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[Editor's Note: Welcome to It's Science, a Motherly column focusing on evidence-based explanations for the important moments, milestones, and phenomena of motherhood. Because it's not just you—#itsscience.]

If you breastfeed, you know just how magical (and trying) it is, but it has numerous benefits for mama and baby. It is known to reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, and cuts the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by half.

If this wasn't powerful enough, scientists have discovered that babies who are fed breast milk have a stomach pH that promotes the formation of HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells). HAMLET was discovered by chance when researchers were studying the antibacterial properties of breast milk. This is a combination of proteins and lipids found in breast milk that can work together to kill cancer cells, causing them to pull away from healthy cells, shrink and die, leaving the healthy cells unaffected.

According to researchers at Lund University in Sweden, this mechanism may contribute to the protective effect breast milk has against pediatric tumors and leukemia, which accounts for about 30% of all childhood cancer. Other researchers analyzed 18 different studies, finding that "14% to 19% of all childhood leukemia cases may be prevented by breastfeeding for six months or more."

And recently, doctors in Sweden collaborated with scientists in Prague to find yet another amazing benefit to breast milk. Their research demonstrated that a certain milk sugar called Alpha1H, found only in breast milk, helps in the production of lactose and can transform into a different form that helps break up tumors into microscopic fragments in the body.

Patients who were given a drug based on this milk sugar, rather than a placebo, passed whole tumor fragments in their urine. And there is more laboratory evidence to support that the drug can kill more than 40 different types of cancer cells in animal trials, including brain tumors and colon cancer. These results are inspiring scientists to continue to explore HAMLET as a novel approach to tumor therapy and make Alpha1H available to cancer patients.

Bottom line: If you choose to breastfeed, the breast milk your baby gets from your hard work can be worth every drop of effort.

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