Pregnancy can cause physical and emotional shifts. This can include increased sexual desire, or horniness. Rising and falling hormone levels during pregnancy can drastically affect a person’s sex drive.

During pregnancy, the body changes shape, hormone levels fluctuate, and many other day-to-day differences occur.

Increased libido can be a side effect of pregnancy. However, many other factors can cause a person’s appetite for sex to rise, so it is not possible to consider a change in libido a concrete sign of pregnancy.

In this article, we examine whether horniness can be a sign of pregnancy. We also look at how pregnancy affects libido and the potential early symptoms of pregnancy.

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Research has shown that pregnancy may change sexual desire and activity. Both an increase and a decrease in libido are common during different stages of pregnancy.

If other symptoms occur alongside it, increased sexual desire could signal that a person is pregnant. Usually, later in the pregnancy, sexual desire decreases.

Rising and falling hormone levels during pregnancy can drastically affect a person’s sex drive. However, other factors, such as stress, self-confidence, and comfort, can also play a role.

Over the three trimesters of pregnancy, certain hormone fluctuations can predict sex drive patterns.

During the first trimester

In the first few weeks of pregnancy, during which hormone levels start to change, a person might feel more sexual desire.

However, hormonal changes can also cause morning sickness, fatigue, sore breasts, and other symptoms that could decrease a person’s desire for sex.

During the second trimester

In the middle of a pregnancy, a person might start to feel better. Nausea typically lessens at this point in the pregnancy, and hormonal changes become more manageable, so a person might be more interested in having sex.

Although a person’s bump will start to show, most sexual positions are still achievable and comfortable.

During pregnancy, a person gains about 3 pounds of blood. Most of this blood flows below the waist, making arousal easier and more intense. A person might also orgasm more quickly because of the extra blood.

During the third trimester

As a person’s bump grows over gestation, sex might become less comfortable and less desirable.

Although it is perfectly safe to have sex if both partners want to — as long as the water has not broken — it may be less common during the last few months of pregnancy.

Sexual activity and desire may drop off during this time due to:

  • fear of pregnancy loss
  • fear of harming the fetus
  • lack of interest
  • discomfort
  • physical awkwardness
  • fatigue
  • a decrease in the ability to orgasm and achieve sexual satisfaction
  • an increase in pain during intercourse
  • the person’s self-perceived attractiveness

In one study, almost 70% of people reported a decrease in sexual desire during the third trimester of pregnancy, and more than 80% reported a reduction in frequency.

Other physical symptoms indicate pregnancy, the most obvious of which is the lack of a period. As a person’s period can vary due to many factors besides pregnancy, other symptoms that may help identify pregnancy include:

  • tender and swollen breasts
  • morning sickness
  • cravings or distaste for certain foods
  • an increase in fatigue
  • urinating more often
  • headaches
  • constipation
  • heartburn
  • mood swings
  • weight gain or weight loss

Regardless of whether a person is pregnant, libido fluctuates all the time, and many different factors can affect it.

These include:

  • the menstrual cycle
  • stress
  • medications
  • hormonal changes, such as during menopause
  • certain medical conditions
  • birth control
  • mental health conditions
  • quantity and quality of sleep

A urine test and a blood test are the two ways to test for pregnancy. A person can do a urine test at home using a pharmacy pregnancy test, while only a doctor can perform a blood test.

To take a pregnancy test, a person must catch their urine midstream on the testing stick to test for the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone, in the urine. During a blood test, a doctor will take a blood sample to analyze for the same hormone.

Home pregnancy tests are at least 97% accurate if people do them correctly. A blood test will give a person more detailed information about their pregnancy.

A person should see a healthcare professional if they experience heightened sexual arousal and other pregnancy symptoms, especially if they have not been using birth control properly or have engaged in unprotected sex.

If the increase in libido is the only symptom, it is probably just a normal fluctuation.

If the increase is so drastic that a person is having difficulty concentrating or completing everyday tasks, they may need advice from a mental health professional.

During pregnancy, most people experience a wide variety of changes, which sometimes include a change in sex drive.

Over the first two trimesters, it is normal to notice an increase or decrease in sex drive due to hormonal shifts or physical discomforts.

By the end of pregnancy, most people experience a reduction in sexual desire and activity. However, it is still safe to have sex until the water breaks, as long as both partners wish to do so.