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Why Does Sex Hurt During Pregnancy?

Pain during sex while pregnant is fairly common and should not be concerning, unless it’s severe or you have bleeding. However, it can be a sign of STIs that can impact your baby.

This is why it’s so important to communicate with your partner and experiment with positions that feel comfortable for both of you. You may also want to try a lubricant that’s safe for pregnancy.

Hormonal Changes

While the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy are a good thing for both you and your baby, they can also cause a range of discomforts. This includes pain during sex, which can be a sign that something is wrong.

One reason that sex may hurt during pregnancy is that your pelvis and nether regions become enlarged due to the increased blood flow required to support the fetus and placenta. This can make it uncomfortable to penetrate or have oral sex, and this pain can vary depending on which trimester you are in.

Another reason that sex can hurt during pregnancy is that the round ligaments, cordlike structures within your pelvis that connect the front of your uterus to your groin, can stretch or loosen. This can lead to sharp or stabbing pain that is more likely during sex or when you move, and it could be exacerbated by certain positions during penetration.

In addition, the fluid retention associated with pregnancy can put pressure on the blood vessels, which can also be painful. This can be a common problem during the second and third trimesters, and it can affect both women and men. If this is causing you to feel discomfort, it’s important to communicate with your partner about trying out different positions that can alleviate the pain.

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Weight Gain

Pain during sex is often caused by your changing body. Your uterus and vulva become larger as you get further along in your pregnancy, which can put pressure on your pelvic area and make penetrative sex uncomfortable.

Your uterus also sits lower in your pelvis as you reach the third trimester, which can make it hard to find a comfortable position for penetration. Some women have found that using pillows to help ease the pressure can make a big difference, or that changing their partner’s position works better. You may want to try the spoons position, where you lie on your back with your knees bent and place a pillow between your buttocks for support. Then, ask your partner to stand behind you for penetration.

Some sex discomfort is normal during pregnancy, but if you’re constantly experiencing painful intercourse, talk to your doctor about what could be causing it. Calling your doctor is especially important if you have significant pain that lasts more than an hour, or if you are bleeding after sex or experiencing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). And if you have urinary symptoms like a burning feeling when you pee, you should call your doctor immediately as those are a sign of infection. Your doctor can recommend safe ways to manage the discomfort so you and your partner can continue to have sex comfortably.

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Anxiety

If you have a painful vaginal sex experience during pregnancy, it is important to figure out what is causing the pain and how best to alleviate it. It may be a simple matter of using more lubrication, or it might be something more serious like a pelvic infection. If you have pain in your genital area along with a burning sensation while you are peeing or frequent urination, it is very important to contact a doctor to make sure you do not have an ectopic pregnancy that could be dangerous for both mother and child.

In some cases, painful sex during pregnancy is due to a change in hormone levels that cause heightened sensitivity of the vagina, nipples, and other erogenous areas. This sensitivity can actually make sex more enjoyable for some couples, but it can also be uncomfortable.

Ultimately, pain during sexual intercourse is not always a cause for alarm and can be alleviated with some basic lifestyle changes. Using more lubricant, taking it slow, and experimenting with different positions can help. In some cases, the pain may be caused by the enlarged size of the uterus. If this is the case, try sleeping in side-lying positions to help relieve the pressure on the cervix. It is also important to talk with your partner about what would be comfortable for you, and to use condoms with new partners to ensure you don’t have a sexually transmitted disease or infection.

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Infections

Infections during pregnancy are more common than normal, and some infections can cause pain during sex. This is especially true if you have a yeast infection that generates itchy feelings in the genital area, or if you have a urinary tract infection. Pain during sex caused by either of these infections may also be accompanied by a burning sensation while peeing, cloudy or bloody urine and/or a low-grade fever.

In the first trimester, painful sex is most likely caused by your uterus growing and stretching to accommodate the baby. Your round ligaments (a pair of cord-like structures that connect the front of your uterus to your pelvic area) can also be very sensitive, Shepherd says.

The swollen areas in your erogenous zone (such as the breasts, nipples and vulva) can also hurt during sex. This is largely due to the increase in blood flow to these regions in order to support your growing uterus and fetus. Some lubrication and finding a comfortable position for penetration can help ease this discomfort.

Other reasons for painful sex during pregnancy include the onset of contractions or orgasm, a hormone-like substance in semen called prostaglandins that can cause cramping, and the pressure on the lower abdomen from the weight of your pregnant uterus and pelvic organs. If you are experiencing discomfort during sex, talk to your doctor about it and try to find ways to manage the pain.