Pregnancy, Morning Sickness and Sex – an impossible combination?

morning sickness pregnancy
morning sickness pregnancy

There’s nothing less romantic than getting sick in the middle of sex, right? And yet this is the reality of most pregnant women, especially in the first trimester. Is it possible to have a satisfying sex life when suffering from morning sickness?

What’s causing morning sickness in pregnancy

According to the American Pregnancy Association 50% of women suffer from morning sickness during pregnancy. To me this statistic sounds a bit understated. I haven’t met a woman who has not felt sick at least a few times in early pregnancy.

A severe case of nausea, called hyperemesis gravidarum affects circa 1% of pregnant women. It can be very dangerous so if you feel you’re constantly vomiting, contact your physician or midwife ASAP.

Morning sickness is your body’s reaction to hormonal changes. Usually it goes away after the first trimester. It’s not uncommon, however to persist way into the second trimester. Ironically, the name “morning” doesn’t do this unpleasant symptom justice. Many pregnant women say they feel sick all day.

Nausea or vomiting may be triggered by different, sometimes odd things, like smell taste or… touch. I remember I felt sick whenever I had something around my neck like a scarf or even a tight collar. I had a problem how to dress on the cold days!

Morning sickness caused by a scarf
Many things can trigger nausea in pregnant women. Even… wearing a scarf!
(Photo Oleg Magni from Pexels)

Morning sickness and sex

Obviously, the constant sick feeling is a sexy mood killer. You feel tired from running to the bathroom all day. Vomiting can make you dehydrated and tired. Make sure to drink plenty of water and talk to your doctor or midwife if you feel really weak.

Nausea may also make you feel unattractive. You worry your breath smells bad. It’s like you’re a victim of your own biology! Add to that diarrhea which is common in the first weeks of pregnancy… let’s just say you have the right not to be in the mood!

Intimate play can be a trigger in itself for your sick feelings. Some forms of touch, especially around the neck or mouth, may provoke a reaction. And oral sex when you’re the giver? Forget it! If a penis is involved, the gagging reflex might be impossible to control.

Some sexual positions will also provoke nausea. Anything where you have to bend down, with your head low. Any position in which you are leaning your belly against a piece of furniture. If you used to enjoy anal, now may not be the good time, due to digestive problems and haemorroids .

Lover of bondage? Forget mouth gags or any type of restraint going near your neck or stomach. Lover of sensual experiences? The amazing ylang-ylang you used to love may now make you barf in no time.

Yes, morning sickness and sex don’t really get along well and if you feel bad, just take it easy and slow down with your intimate calendar. The nausea will go away at some point and will have more energy for bedroom play.

You have the right to take a break from sex

If you’ve been following me for a while you know one of my rules of Good Enough Sex: it’s supposed to be easy.

The moment it starts feeling like a chore is the time to say “stop”. Pregnancy is the time to take care of yourself. If you don’t feel like wiggling between the sheets with your hubby, just say no!

You have the right to refuse sex when you’re not in the mood. Just talk about it.
(Photo: Burst from Pexels)

Your sexuality is a cycle. There will be times in your life when you won’t be very active. Heck, you may decide to go completely abstinent for a while. No-big-deal. Just work it out with your partner if you’re in a relationship.

In my sex coaching practice I’ve met too many women who were to afraid or insecure to refuse sex and agreed to do it for their partner’s sake. But by not speaking up when your lover is suggesting sex and you don’t want to do it, you’re not helping anyone. You’re doing a disservice to yourself, him or her, and your relationship.

How to refuse sex without feeling guilty?

Look, I get it. It’s not easy to say no. As women, we’ve been taught to play nice and be good girls. We love our partners, desire our lovers and we don’t want them to feel bad. Here’s the basic rule of assertiveness: you are not responsible for someone else’s feelings. Your job is to take care of your own well-being.

Your partner is an adult person, they can handle a no. Just say you don’t want to do it tonight. If you want, you can add a word of explanation but you don’t have to. It’s our body and your choice. What’s good in this situation is to ask your partner, how this refusal makes them feel. This is a sign of genuine concern.

You don’t have to offer anything in exchange (“Honey, I don’t really want to go all the way, let me give you a hand-job to make it all better”). You can talk about it because this will not be the first time you’re not in the mood. Pregnancy or not. Discuss how you want to react to these situations as a couple. After all, your partner may one day reject your sexual proposal too.

How to have good sex despite morning sickness?

What’s a horny, sick and pregnant girl to do? Pregnancy is such a weird time. Your hormones are all going crazy and you may feel sick and totally into erotic stuff at the same time. There are ways to enjoy pleasurable sex despite morning sickness. So, get creative!

1. The different kind of sixty-nine

You’re getting sick just imagining his penis (or her vulva) in your mouth? Let him (or her) pleasure you orally while you use your hands. This is best done lying on your sides or you laying on your back and your partner adjusting their position so they don’t crush you and make you feel uncomfortable.

2. Choose the right time

If your sickness hits you the hardest at certain times of day, plan your dates accordingly. Also, double check if your sickness is not related to how hungry you are or if it doesn’t get stronger after a meal. If yes, make sure to eat light at the right time. The best bet is to eat 5 smaller meals a day.

3. Do the smell check

Collect your cosmetics, condoms, lubricants, oils, your partner’s perfume etc. and double check if their smell doesn’t trigger nausea. If yes, change brands or avoid these.

Even the smell of condoms can trigger nausea!

4. Use pillows and cushions

Make sure you’re comfortable and that your head is upright to avoid the gag reflex. Use all the pillows and cushions you need. There is even a special type of sex furniture and accessories you may want to check out.

5. Watch out for those kisses

Kissing is amazing but during this trying time of morning sickness, you may have to give it up or change your style. Deep kissing, tongue in mouth, can trigger your nausea so you may want to switch to gentle kisses or other types of caress instead.

Sex in pregnancy can be fun, despite the morning sickness but remember to take care of yourself. Don’t pressure yourself, take it easy and drink that ginger tea (ginger is supposed to help with feeling sick). I’m curious, what are your tried and tested ways to deal with morning sickness during pregnancy?

Are you currently pregnant and suffering from low libido due to your nausea or other things? Join my free webinar “3 Expert Tips for Low Libido in Pregnancy” and get answers to your questions!

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