Your body undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy, and eventually, many familiar activities will start to feel different. It is not unusual for sex to be uncomfortable when you are pregnant, but how can you tell what is normal and when you should be concerned? Read more about painful sex in this article.
In some cases, painful sex during pregnancy has a very simple cause. For example, because pregnancy makes many women need to use the bathroom more often, it could just be the pressure of a fuller-than-usual bladder making sex uncomfortable. Swelling in your tissues might make your labia feel larger and your vagina feel tighter, which can also cause some pain.
However, other changes your body undergoes can also cause or contribute to painful sex. Here are five major causes of painful sex during pregnancy and what you can do about it.
Uterine Growth And Cramping
In the first trimester of pregnancy, which lasts through the end of the 13th week, you will start to notice your body changing in ways that can cause some pain during sex. Uterine cramping is not uncommon in early pregnancy, and it often leads to painful sex. As your uterus begins to expand to accommodate your growing baby, you may start to experience mild pain during sex. However, this is normally nothing to worry about.
As your pregnancy progresses, your uterus will stretch further to support the growing baby. By the time you reach your third trimester, your uterus will be quite heavy, and doctors report that many of the issues women encounter with painful sex while pregnant are related to the bulk of their pregnant uterus and the way that they are carrying the baby.
It can be difficult for your body to stay on top of all the chemical changes taking place in your vagina during pregnancy. One of these is the presence of more sugar within your vaginal secretions that yeast can feed upon, which is one reason that expectant mothers are especially vulnerable to yeast infections. Although they can occur at any time in your pregnancy, they are especially common in the second trimester. A yeast infection can cause you to feel burning both during and after intercourse. Bladder infections and bacterial vaginosis are also more common in pregnancy due to the physical and hormonal changes your body experiences.
Round Ligament Pain
Round ligaments are cordlike structures within your pelvis connecting the front of the uterus with the groin. They work to support the uterus and hold it in place. As they stretch during pregnancy, it can lead to serious discomfort, and sex can exacerbate it. It may feel like a sharp and stabbing internal pain, or it could cause a duller ache that suddenly occurs with certain movements during sex. Round ligaments can also sometimes cause pain when rolling over in bed, getting dressed, or walking while pregnant.
If the pain you are experiencing during sex feels like a deep ache inside your pelvis, it could be due to pelvic congestion. This is caused by the natural enlargement of the veins and blood vessels in the pelvis during pregnancy and can feel like a heavy pressure inside the vagina.
During pregnancy, increased blood flow and hormonal changes can cause your veins to enlarge and not perform as efficiently as they do when you are not pregnant. When you have enlarged veins in your pelvis or on your vulva, it can cause painful sex, particularly during the second trimester of your pregnancy.
What To Do About Painful Sex During Pregnancy
The cause of your discomfort should guide how you address painful sex during pregnancy. If it is related to the size of your belly or the position of the baby, it may be time to carefully experiment with new positions and moves. Pillows can help to ease the pressure on certain parts of your body, while lubricant can help if your discomfort is related to swelling.
Although pain during sex is usually nothing to be concerned about, particularly if it is mild, it is still important to seek medical advice if you are experiencing significant pain or bleeding or you are having a high-risk pregnancy.
This is particularly important if you also have urinary symptoms, such as a burning feeling during urination or the urge to urinate frequently as it could be a sign that you have an infection.
Ultimately, you know your body best. If you feel like something isn’t right or you are worried about pain after sex, it is always best to have it checked to ensure your pregnancy remains healthy.
Reach Out to Raleigh Gynecology Wellness
If you are experiencing painful sex, determining the cause can help you find relief. For more information about managing painful sex, get in touch with the healthcare professionals at Raleigh Gynecology Wellness today.