Painful Sex During Pregnancy: Tips To Help | Kidadl


Painful Sex During Pregnancy: Tips To Help

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Your body is going through huge changes while you're pregnant, which means that unfortunately, pregnancy sex pain is a pretty normal occurrence.

With a body that seems to change shape and size every five minutes, intercourse that felt great last week might suddenly feel awful. Needless to say, it's not always great for your sex life!

While, sometimes, painful sex during pregnancy can point to bigger health problems for you and your baby, most of the time it's just a completely natural thing that pregnant women have to deal with in the lead-up to meeting their new arrival. Changes in your body, the blood vessels in your vagina and cervix, anxiety, and uncomfortable legs are all some of the factors that mean that your partner might be struggling to get you in the mood. But don't worry, we've got some tips from women who have been through it to get your sex life back on track.

Why not take a look at our article on experiencing morning sickness at night and working while you're pregnant to find out more about pregnancy?

What Causes Painful Sex During Pregnancy?

There are a lot of reasons why pregnancy can make sex less comfortable, like an increase of blood flow to the vagina and uterus.

Sex during pregnancy can sometimes feel amazing, but there are a few reasons why it might hurt more than usual.

Firstly, you are experiencing a much higher level of blood flow to your pelvic region throughout pregnancy because of your larger than normal uterus. This can make things feel a lot more sensitive, especially if you're experiencing an inflamed uterus and vagina.

Pregnant women also tend to experience more tenderness in their nipples and swelling in the legs, which are both very normal symptoms that contribute to sex feeling less than amazing.

You might be experiencing uterine cramping that causes painful sex during early pregnancy. If you're struggling to enjoy sex in the first trimester, this could be the reason, and luckily it should ease up as your baby grows.

It's no secret that being pregnant means using the bathroom a lot more often, and sex can also put uncomfortable pressure on your full bladder and cause a worse experience.

We all know that anxiety is a bit of a mood killer when it comes to your sex life in general, and that can be even more of the case during pregnancy sex. Constantly making sure the sex is safe for your growing baby, or worrying that you might be hurting the baby by having sex while pregnant will tense up your muscles and make your vagina a lot more tight, which can cause a lot of discomfort during intercourse. Some people worry that engaging in sex during pregnancy might lead to an increased risk of having a miscarriage, but there is no research to show this to be the case at all, and many couples carry on having sex the whole way through their pregnancy.

In the first trimester, nausea might mean that it's hard to get in the mood. Add this to the exhaustion that comes hand in hand with growing a human inside you, and you don't exactly have a recipe for romance. Luckily for most women, this feeling ends at around 12 to 14 weeks.

Finding blood after sex can feel scary, but it's usually not a cause for panic. The cervix is soft and engorged while you're pregnant, so some spotting in the later months of pregnancy is completely normal, especially when you're engaging in penetration. In early pregnancy, you might notice some bleeding during sex too, which can be completely normal, but it's best to get it checked over with your doctor anyway.

Sometimes women who experience pain during pregnancy sex could have an underlying medical condition like a genital or pelvic infection, and in some rare cases, it might point to an ectopic pregnancy.

Occasionally the reasons for painful sex during pregnancy will need some medical intervention, for example, if you are suffering from an infection like vaginitis, chorioamnionitis, or cervicitis. Pelvic inflammatory disease can also cause sex to be uncomfortable or painful, as well as suffering from a vaginal and pelvic mass or swelling. If you have an untreated STI, a bladder infection, a yeast infection, or bacterial vaginosis, these can all contribute to a painful experience during pregnancy sex too.

Although most of the time it's nothing to worry about, it is important to get checked out by your doctor if you experience uncomfortable sex or pain after sex while pregnant, because these conditions can sometimes harm your baby, so it's best to sort them out as soon as you can.

How To Treat Painful Sex During Pregnancy

Check with your doctor or ob-gyn if you're feeling vaginal discomfort during pregnancy as they might have some handy tips to help you out.

There are many solutions to painful sex during pregnancy, which vary depending on whether you're in your first trimester, second trimester, or third trimester, and the reasons why you're feeling pain during sex in the first place.

The ways you might treat painful pregnancy sex during the first trimester might be very different from how you tackle sex in the weeks coming up to labor, so identifying what the problem is will probably be the best way to start finding a solution. Typically the second trimester is the best time to enjoy sex while you're pregnant, so it might just be a case of finding ways to minimize the aches and pains in the other trimesters.

The first port of call is to explore different positions with your partner and work out what feels good. Positions that might have been your go-to before pregnancy might just not feel comfortable, and exploring new moves that take the pressure off your stomach and let you take the lead and control the action might make things feel better. Pregnant women often prefer positions where they are on top of their partner, or side by side, instead of more partner-dominated positions. If you like to have sex with your partner on top of you, it's important for them to fully support their own weight with their arms so that they don't put too much pressure on you. After month four, it's best to avoid the missionary position for long periods of time.

If you're experiencing pain in the cervix during penetration, you might want to swap to oral sex. It's important to make sure that your partner doesn't blow any air into your vagina. Although it's very uncommon, there are rare occasions when this can lead to an air embolism blocking a blood vessel, which can be a life-threatening scenario for you and your baby.

If you are experiencing bleeding during or after sex, it's important to seek medical advice, but generally speaking, your doctor might suggest that you control the depth of penetration during sex to limit any bleeding.

It's a good idea to take things slow. Sometimes your baby is in a position that is contributing to sex feeling less comfortable, or the size of your belly is just making things harder to work with. You might want to experiment with using pillows to ease the pressure, and try out a vaginal lubricant if you're experiencing discomfort from swelling.

If the pain is caused by pelvic congestion or varicose veins, you might want to try surgical compression stockings to help prevent blood from pooling in your veins. Elevating your legs as much as possible and trying to minimize time spent on your feet could also help relieve the pain that is distracting you from enjoying sex.

Should I Be Worried?

Most of the time, painful sexual experiences during pregnancy are nothing to worry about and are just a symptom of the physical and hormonal changes that come with the territory. It's a good idea to schedule a check-up with your ob-gyn if you are experiencing sex pains during pregnancy to make sure everything is healthy. It's best to call your ob-gyn straight away if you're still feeling any pain more than an hour after a sexual encounter, or if you find that you're bleeding more than just spotting.

Generally, there isn't anything to worry about unless the discomfort in your body turns to significant pain, if you incur any bleeding or if your pregnancy is considered to be high risk, in which case you should contact your doctor and ask their advice on how best to proceed.

If you're feeling the urge to pee frequently, feeling pain or burning when you go, or are experiencing any unusual discharge you might have an infection, so it's a good idea to call your doctor in this instance too.

If you found this article helpful, then why not take a look at our exploration of licorice root in pregnancy or which are the worst weeks for morning sickness?

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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