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Pregnant Sex
Take heart, first-time fathers.
It can be terrific.

By Kevin Nelson

A lot of first-time fathers worry that their sex life is going to take a nosedive when their wife or partner becomes pregnant. Well, that's not always true. Sex with your pregnant partner can sometimes be some of the best you'll ever have as a couple. Those hormones are raging through her like some kind of narcotic, and since you've already made a baby neither of you has to worry about birth control anymore, which means you can leave those clumsy Trojans in the nightstand drawer.

Having said that, be forewarned that slam-bang-thank-you-ma'am will not cut it with your mama-to-be. If you're going to have great sex-or sex at all–at this time you're going to have to be even more tuned into her than usual. Some weird alien life force has taken over her body like a creature on the X Files, her moods are rocketing up and down, and at any given moment she may or may not care to do the funky chicken with your ugly mug. Bottom line? Relax, put Barry White on the CD, and take it slow.

A full-term pregnancy lasts between nine and ten months and is divided into three trimesters of three or so months apiece. And sex in each trimester is different than in the others. So listen up, class, because what you're going to read below could very well determine how much–or whether–you get laid before your baby is born. Here, then, is a man's guide to sex during pregnancy:

Sex in the First Trimester

If this is your first child, you and your partner may both need to be reassured that sex at this time is safe-for her and the baby. We're assuming, of course, that your wife is regularly seeing her OB/GYN and that the doc will let her know if she's developed one of a small number of medical conditions that can preclude intercourse. But for most couples, doing the Nasty is A-OK. In fact, many couples report quite satisfactory connubial relations right up to the end of pregnancy, thank you, sometimes confessing (as does happen) that their lovemaking triggered the onset of labor.

Morning sickness occurs mainly in the first trimester (although it can extend longer), and can cause waves of nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. And since morning sickness can, and does, strike at all hours, catching her in a welcoming mood may present a challenge. She could be tired, worried, nauseated, or emotional. If she puts up the yellow caution flag, take heed. Pushing or rushing or coming on like Don Juan while your wife is pitching her guts in the bathroom is just not a good idea. Better to wait until she's more in the mood.

If she turns you down, try not to take it personally. And if you notice your own interest waning, don't rush out to stock up on Viagra. This is a complicated emotional time for both of you. She's gaining weight, which is a huge issue for most women. Her mother and other family members may be calling more often to chatter and make plans. She may feel like crap in the morning but still have to go to work. At the same time, you're flipping through a Sears catalog of your own emotions. You may be scared shitless about your ability to provide for your growing new family. And as your partner starts spending more time focusing on herself and the baby, more distractions and less intimacy are normal. As a result, you may feel suddenly distanced from your mate and worry about being excluded once the baby comes. All of these issues can throw a bucket of ice water on your sex life.

A good strategy during this time is lots of flowers, candlelight dinners and baths, plenty of cuddling and foot massages-you know the drill. Compliment her on the beauty of her blossoming form. Listen to what's on her mind, and ask for a moment to share what's on yours. A policy of open dialogue can sometimes lead to openings in other areas. Now, more than ever, build the bonfire slowly before loading on the heavy lumber. Spend a little extra time on foreplay and consider including--or culminating with!--oral sex. (Be careful, however, not to blow air directly into her vagina.)

Sex in the Second Trimester

Although every woman is different, feeling different about different things at different times during pregnancy, your sex life will probably perk up in the second trimester. With morning sickness pretty much behind her, your partner is probably feeling better and has more energy. People see now that she's pregnant, not just gaining weight, and she herself is getting accustomed to and comfortable with her changing shape. Goosed up by those wild hormones, she may even develop a glow, her fertile petri dish of a body oozing raw, earth-goddess sensuality.

In other words, fellas, it's your time.

The second tri- is ideal for a romantic weekend getaway-heavy on the yellow roses, Veuve Cliquot champagne (she can't drink, but that shouldn't stop you), breakfast in bed, etc. Make like Cary (not Hugh) Grant, don an ascot and nothing else, and go nuts.

Adventurousness in bed will depend greatly on how your partner feels, and how big she is. The missionary position will work until her tummy gets too big. When that happens, have her jump on top. Spooning is a popular stand-by (or lie-by). She lies on her side facing away while you come through the back door. Another position (depending, again, on how she feels) is with her on all fours, leaning against pillows, and you kneeling behind her applying the jackhammer. Her hormones may occasionally make her vagina dryer than usual so be sure to keep the Astroglide within arm's reach.

Sex in the Final Trimester

Some women do not like having sex at all in the third trimester. Others want to do it every night right up until labor starts. Your feelings may vary, too. Some of us are turned on by the curvy fullness of a madonna with child (think Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair), others not so much. Though you may secretly think your wife is beginning to resemble the Bud One Airship One, never joke about her body. Always tell her she looks great, and if she presses you with a "Come on honey, tell the truth," stick with telling her she looks great. Whatever your feelings, there's no sense hurting hers.

Because women in their third trimester often have trouble finding a comfortable sleep position, you may find yourself sharing your bed with a variety of different-sized pillows. Don't be jealous. One guy we know got so used to having his wife's full-length body pillow in bed with them that he named it Phil. Although your wife may bring Phil to bed with her, keep your inflatable, life-size Pamela Sue Anderson doll in the closet.

Pregnancy can blow a comet-sized hole in your partner's self confidence and self image. The sexier and more attractive she feels, the more sexually open she will be to you. Sometimes, though, just being held and stroked can be a turn-on for a woman, if intercourse is not in the cards at that moment. But be careful. While your wife's breasts have gotten larger over the past few months, her nipples may have become super sensitive and she may not want to be touched there. The joke is that your wife finally has those DD-cup hooters you've always dreamed of. Trouble is, you can't touch them.

Forget about the Big Bang. Okay, don't forget about it, just remember that you will experience more frequent and spectacular eruptions if you give yourself over to those smaller, quieter moments of physical intimacy that make a woman juice her pants and that men are known to neglect: cuddling, holding hands, touching in a non-sexual way, catching her eye across a room crowded with strangers. Most women will tell you that the greatest erogenous zone of all is a person's mind, which means that your lover's toolbox should include two essentials: communication and attentiveness. Walk with her. Do things together. Talking or singing to the baby inside your wife's stomach can be a warm and intimate moment for each of you. Even going grocery shopping together can increase your intimacy as a couple and indirectly improve sex. As Diane Sawyer has said, "The greatest act of romantic love is to pay deep and undivided attention." Pay deep and undivided attention to the mother of your child and baby, she will let you drive her car, even when she's carrying another passenger in it.

Kevin Nelson is the author of "The Daddy Guide," a guide for new and expectant fathers. The father of two children, he lives in the Bay Area.

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