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Your Guide to Dating While Pregnant

Holly Zwalf is a queer solo parent by choice, smutty spoken word performer, and trashy novelist. When her baby was born she packed up the house and they drove around Australia for six months in a red polkadot teardrop camper. She blogs a...

How to swipe right while pregnant

First of all, listen up: Just because you’re knocked up doesn’t mean you can’t still play the field.

Some people date during pregnancy because they’re hoping to find the one with whom to raise said child. Others are just really horny. Whatever your motivation, bear in mind that having a baby puts an immense amount of pressure on even the most solid, well-established relationships. You’re dangerously tired, the baby cries and gets sick and cries again, and if you're like a lot of people, your sex drive completely vacates the building. The last thing you want to be dealing with on top of all that is the fallout of a breakup. So, unless you’re open to taking that risk — and starting a serious relationship during your pregnancy — it pays to be upfront from the very beginning that you're just looking for something casual.

I remember I wrote in my own Tinder profile, “7 months pregnant — solo mum by choice. Not looking for a co-parent, just looking for some fun before the baby arrives.” After all, there's no point in hiding the fact that you're pregnant (that would have been impossible for me anyway by the time I felt well enough to have sex), and I wanted to be clear from the beginning that I wasn’t open to sharing my baby.

More: I'm Glad I Went to an Orgy While Pregnant

If you're planning to date while you're pregnant, that's great. (After all, a little-known fact is that during pregnancy, there's a massive increase in blood supply — including blood flow to your genitals, which makes anything sexual feel hot.) You will do fine and likely have a lot of fun. You just need to be wary of a few things.

Morning sickness is a total mood-killer

If you’re one of the lucky few who doesn’t get sick, you’ll be good to go from day one. Otherwise, get a Netflix subscription and a truckload of crackers, and batten down the hatches until you feel better.

Pregnancy fetishes do exist

There are plenty of people who are drawn to pregnant bodies. The only issue there is that you may run the risk of being fetishized — which, by the way, can be a hell of a lot of fun! But if you’re uneasy about that idea, stick to using headshots in your online dating profiles as a starting point to weed out the fetishists.

Your body changes & so do you

The things I used to like sex-wise weren’t the things I wanted at seven or eight months pregnant. A casual lover came to visit me once and leapt straight into doing things the way we’d done them six months earlier. Old Me had liked it hard and rough and fast; New Me apparently wanted slow and gentle. The date was a complete flop.

Sometimes your organs just don't behave

You get gassier for one thing. Right at the crucial moment during a one-night stand, I started farting and couldn’t stop. I had no choice but to grit my teeth and try to ignore it until it was all over. After that, my orgasm kick-started six hours of Braxton Hicks (false contractions). Needless to say, I barely slept all night.

More:  Your Practical Guide to Immaculate Conception

Sleeping — literally — with someone isn't the same

Unbeknownst to me, I’d developed an epic snore during my pregnancy. I only discovered this when I was at a new lover’s house for a long weekend and woke up the first morning to discover she’d had to spend the night on the couch.

Kink gets complicated

If you like to walk on the wild side, you’ll need to do your research about safety and pregnant bodies. My first date after the morning sickness subsided was with a kinky butch on an interstate work trip. I couldn’t lie on my back for long because it made me dizzy. I couldn’t lie on my right side for long because it put pressure on my liver. I had to leap up midway through making out and shut all the doors because the smell from the kitchen was making me feel nauseous. My head always needed to be higher than my belly, I didn’t want to put my hands above my head, and I was so uncomfortable on a daily basis that I certainly didn’t want any more pain in my life, which canceled out the majority of her plans. The list of things I didn’t want her to do was so long, we ended up opting for good-old vanilla sex instead.

On another kinky interstate Tinder date, one I scored right before the cut-off for being too pregnant to fly anymore, I was better prepared. This date was into ropes and bondage, so she diligently spent an entire day reading and consulting doctors about safe ways to tie me up. The hardest thing was finding a position that was comfortable for me. I couldn’t be on my knees because my gigantic belly made me topple over. I couldn’t be upside down because of heartburn. I couldn’t stand for long because my feet ached, and lying down was such a complicated process involving pillows and bolsters that we ended up with me bound in a beautiful pattern of shibari knots while sitting comfortably on a kitchen chair.

Be very, very careful in the final trimester

I don’t mean with sex — as long as you’re safe, you can keep doing that right up to the end (or even during labor, as many do for pain relief!). But no, I mean careful with your emotions. Your hormones are running high at this point. In my final weeks, I somehow got it into my head that I wanted to get back together with my ex (we’d split up years ago, but we're now good friends). So what did I do? I asked her to be there with me at the birth. I cried when I imagined us exhausted, all covered in blood and sweat and holding a newborn baby together. She was in a committed relationship at the time and was completely unavailable, but I was swept up in a hormonal romantic fantasy, and if I’m honest, I was also a little scared. I was on the brink of something huge, and the idea of having someone I loved holding my hand was comforting. In the end, the birth was a complete catastrophe, and in the chaos, I didn’t even consider calling her in.

More: Do Pregnancy "Rules" Really Matter?

I did manage to have a lot of fun dating while pregnant — and a lot of pleasure too. So if you're a single mom-to-be, whether by choice, accident or providence, don’t be scared to give it a go. Just try to be clear with yourself (as well as any interested parties) about exactly what it is you’re looking for.

After all, once the baby has arrived, you’re going to have so little time for — or likely interest in — dating. So, as Janis Joplin once said, you may as well "get it while you can."

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