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Your Pregnancy Sex Worries Solved

If there's one thing a pregnant woman needs to understand about her sex life for the next nine months, it's that there is no "normal." Your sex drive may follow the same roller-coaster ride as the rest of your pregnancy: too tired and/or queasy at first, revved up and ready to rock and roll in the middle, and "you've got to be kidding" as you head toward the finish line. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Looking good and feeling good don't necessarily happen at the same time. Yes, you may feel as big as a barn. But your vaginal area is engorged, thanks to extra blood flow down there. Your nerve endings are also more sensitive, which might lead to easier orgasms. And the pregnancy hormone oxytocin is a lust-igniter.

A little action won't hurt the baby. In a normal pregnancy, the baby is well protected in its amniotic sac, and the cervix is tightly clamped shut. "You can be on your back for five minutes or so," notes Joel Evans, M.D., assistant clinical professor of ob-gyn at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY, and the author of The Whole Pregnancy Handbook. He suggests the woman-on-top position or side position. "Any one where she controls the depth of penetration is good." Don't worry if your orgasm is followed by mild contractions, which may occur for five to ten minutes afterward -- they won't be strong enough or last long enough to actually throw you into labor.

When to say no. If you experience any spotting or bleeding -- whether it's right after intercourse or totally unrelated to it -- refrain from sex until you see your care provider about it. The only likely reasons you'd be advised to abstain are if your water has broken, or you have a weak ("incompetent") cervix, placenta previa (when the placenta covers the cervix), or a history of premature labor, dilation, or rupture of the membranes.