Thicker Hair, Better Sex? You Bet!
Sure, pregnancy can be a nine-month gripefest — about aching backs, swollen ankles and barf-athons — but as I experienced, it can also be a time of unexpected and wonderful changes, both physical and emotional. “Some medical conditions improve during pregnancy, and for a lot of women, it’s a time of remarkable health and happiness,” says Stuart Fischbein, M.D., an OB/GYN in Camarillo, California.
Here’s how your eating habits, body image, relationship and more might improve during pregnancy.
From Fit Pregnancy: 40 Weeks: A week-by-week guide to pregnancy.
PERK: Autoimmune symptoms improve
Autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis, multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis and lupus develop when the body attacks its own cells, mistaking them for intruders. “But the maternal immune system has to develop tolerance [for the developing baby], and it does that by suppressing one form of immunity,” explains Roberto Romero, M.D., chief of the perinatology research branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
POST-BABY REALITY CHECK: Pregnant Belly Basics: After delivery, most patients’ symptoms return to their pre-pregnancy levels.
PERK: Hair gets thicker
Look at your shower drain — chances are, it’s not clogged with hair. “Normally, women lose 50 to 100 hairs a day, but during pregnancy, hormones prolong the growing cycle,” explains Andrea Cambio, M.D., a dermatologist in Cape Coral, Florida. “As a result, fewer hairs fall out, and there is an increase in the percentage of hairs that are growing."
POST-BABY REALITY CHECK: You may need to call the plumber. “There’s a steep drop in the percentage of growing hairs, and hair falls out rapidly,” Cambio says.
PERK: Couples get closer
The anticipation of having a baby, choosing names, preparing the nursery, marveling at the ultrasound — for couples in a healthy relationship, all of these experiences can make for a second honeymoon of sorts. And, best of all, there are the perks of pregnant sex.
POST-BABY REALITY CHECK: Eh, don’t count on those foot massages to continue. A study that tracked marital happiness among 218 couples through the first eight years of marriage found a “sudden deterioration” in satisfaction in the years following a birth compared with pre-baby levels.
Post-baby, you’ll likely understand these rove during pregnancy, and for a lot of women, it’s a time of remarkable health and 20 Reasons You’ll Miss Being Pregnant.
PERK: You feel sexier
“Shifting hormone levels can cause your libido to soar,” says New York City certified sexuality educator Amy Levine, M.A. Many women let go of body-image insecurities when they’re pregnant, she adds: “Your curves, particularly your voluptuous breasts and the belly you proudly show off to your partner, can make you feel sexier than ever.” There’s also that whole pregnancy orgasm. And, for couples who struggled to conceive, sex can be especially liberating, now that there are no monthly ovulation calendars to worry about.
POST-BABY REALITY CHECK: Enjoy the sex while you can. It may be a long while before your and your partner’s libidos and schedules match up.
Are you OK down there? Experts allay your fears about post-baby sex.