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How To Keep the Romance Alive During Pregnancy
7 surefire ways to make pregnancy a plus for the both of you.

Following some simples tips you and your spouse can keep the romance alive.

Pregnancy is supposed to be a joyous time for couples, but this momentous occasion is not always a smooth road. Pregnancy can cause strain in one’s relationship and often times, many physical transformations and emotions that come with pregnancy can result in a woman feeling undesirable or unattractive—hormonal imbalance; morning, afternoon, evening sickness; aching back and swollen feet are just a few examples of common body changes that a woman will go through during her pregnancy. To prevent unwarranted conflict or "sex slumps" during pregnancy, use these tips to stay intimate.

1. Stay Connected During Pregnancy
Women go through a wide range of hormonal changes during pregnancy and, for some lucky couples, this can actually cause their sex lives to become even hotter. However, this isn’t always the case with everyone; many find the fluctuation in hormones create a negative effect on their intimate life. That’s why it’s so important that even before these changes begin to take place you and your partner commit to communicating openly throughout the pregnancy. The key is to be honest with one another from the very start. Couples often expect one another to be clairvoyant, yet the truth is we’re not mind-readers, and during times of transition like these it’s even more vital that you open up about everything you are feeling.

It may help to pick out books for your husband to read that will help him to share in the experiences you may be going through. Going through such physical, emotional and mental changes, pregnant women need added support during this time. By focusing on keeping an intimate connection, you are ensuring that you will have the kind of support you need and deserve.

2. Don’t Fear Sex
There are many different issues that can arise during pregnancy and every woman’s circumstances are different; with that being said, you should always check with your health care provider to find out what is safe for you. Once you get the "green light," it’s important to trust your doctor and not let fears or myths stop you from having a healthy and enjoyable sex life throughout your pregnancy!

Also, try Kegeling (naturally tightening and relaxing the muscles, which form part of the pelvic wall regularly); the exercise has many wonderful benefits that:

* Help you to be more orgasmic
* Enhance sexual enjoyment for both partners
* Prevent prolepses of pelvic organs
* Condition muscles making birth easier, and help prevent tears and episiotomies
* Help prevent leaking urine when you sneeze or cough

For more on how to conduct Kegel exercises, read "Kegel-size."

3. Explore Other Intimate Activities
If you’re not feeling well, let your partner know and be open to exploring other forms of intimacy to maintain that connection. There are so many ways to be intimate with your partner outside of just making love. Read a book together, cuddle during a romantic movie or let him massage and rub your feet—especially when they tend to be swollen from the pregnancy.

4. Get in the Mood
Morning sickness or nausea is often a phase of your first trimester, which will eventually pass. If you are not feeling well, it’s important that your partner is understanding and patient with you. However, if you are feeling well, it’s imperative to make time for intimacy even if you're not "in the mood." With the exception of a health reason specified by your doctor, you should make an effort to be intimate and be careful not to rely on the pregnancy as an excuse to put off spending romantic time with your spouse. Sometimes, women find that they may not be in the mood initially, but if they make time and go with the flow they find they are really enjoying themselves in the process.

5. Be Expressive
A pregnancy is a major life change not just for women, but also for men. There are many reasons that men can become distant or lack desire to have sex—some include fear that they will hurt the baby in some way, or even deeper psychological issues such as the fear they won’t be a good father or won’t be able to handle their new responsibilities. Needless to say, these types of stresses don’t bode well for the kind of relaxed environment that is conducive to an enjoyable intimate experience. Communicate to find out what may be troubling him; a little reassurance can go a long way!

6. Open the Doors of Communication
This is worth repeating! It is vitally important to communicate and set boundaries from the very beginning of what you expect. From the second you realize you are pregnant, you should be talking with one another and emphasizing how important it is to maintain intimacy throughout the first, second and third trimesters—all the way until the baby is born and beyond!

7. Nurture Your Relationship
Make sure that you are not just talking about the baby all of the time. You and your partner have a relationship that is separate from the relationship you will have relative to your child and you need to make sure that you nurture that as well! Establishing the distinction and creating boundaries early could go a long way.

Patty Brisben, is the CEO and Founder of Pure Romance www.pureromance.com. For more than two decades, Patty has been educating and empowering women all over the country about sexual health and relationship enhancement. Today, Patty speaks, lectures and writes about a wide range of issues. Drawing from extensive research in the industry and using her warm and engaging personality, Patty has become a noted expert in the fields of intimacy and relationships. Patty has been quoted in several magazines including Self, Women's Health, Glamour, Redbook, Men's Health, Details, US Weekly, In Touch and Life & Style.

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Over 1 million couples turn to Hitched for expert marital advice every year. Sign up now for our newsletter & get exclusive weekly content that will entertain, educate and inspire your marriage.

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