Imagine grappling with a paradox where the journey of creating life shadows your intimate moments with discomfort, morphing pleasure into pain. The beacon of causes your pregnancy sex could hurt might be your savior, shedding light on five potential tormentors in your bedroom and offering a comforting hand of advice to reclaim your joy amidst the hormonal tempest of pregnancy.
When pregnant, it’s a whole new ballgame when it comes to penis-in-vagina sex. Some people report that their orgasms improve due to their heightened sensitivity, while others experience cramps and even burning stabs. It’s vital to discuss the topic of painful sex during pregnancy with your prenatal care provider, as there are many potential causes, some of which are normal and others that are concerning.
Here are five possible reasons why having sex during pregnancy is less than ideal, along with suggestions for alleviating those issues.
1. Your body is going through changes.
During pregnancy, you’ll notice shifts in more than just your tummy. Other bothersome (but usual) symptoms include painful nipples, swelling legs, uterine and vaginal inflammation, and cramping.
Partners must coordinate their actions for optimal results. The pressure can be reduced by lying on one’s side.
2. Your blood flow is different now.
As the uterus, fetus, and placenta grow, the blood supply to the genital area increases, resulting in vaginal edema. How much blood is that? This boost in pressure may result in a pleasant or unpleasant sensation during sexual activity.
Pressure from the circulatory system can also cause vulvar varicosities, often known as varicose veins of the vagina. Between 18% and 22% of pregnant women experience this, most often during the fifth month.
Pain during sex due to increased blood flow usually subsides a few weeks after giving birth, which is good news.
3. Your privates are chapped.
Vaginal dryness is uncommon during pregnancy, according to Dr. Belotte. However, when it occurs, it may annoy those around you. Elevated estrogen levels have been linked to vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness, skin irritation, and soreness during sex are all symptoms of low estrogen levels, which help keep the vaginal canal moist.
Other potential reasons for vaginal dryness include, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG):
- Dryness in and around the vaginal area can be exacerbated by being dehydrated.
- Medication Examples Antidepressants and cold and allergy remedies have been linked in some research to vaginal dryness.
- Depending on your health status: Vaginal dryness may also be caused by autoimmune illnesses like Sjögren syndrome.
- If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, a water-based lubricant may help. Discuss your hormone levels, medications, and any other health issues with your doctor or midwife if the problem persists.
4. You have an infection.
Jimmy Belotte, an OB-GYN at Montefiore Health System, says that painful sex during pregnancy can sometimes reveal certain vaginal infections, including cervicitis, vaginitis, and chorioamnionitis. He also notes the possibility of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or a tumor in the pelvis or cervix.
An estimated 21.2% of all women globally suffer from bacterial vaginosis each year. Vaginal yeast infections affect 7 out of 10 women at some point in their life. Vaginal yeast infections are frequent during pregnancy due to hormone imbalance but are readily treated.
Because these conditions might cause harm to the developing fetus, it is crucial to rule them out with your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms (such as pain or discomfort during pregnant sex).
5. You have a sexually transmitted infection.
Dr. Belotte states STIs can also contribute to uncomfortable sex during pregnancy. Genital sores and painful urination are only two of the secondary symptoms that can accompany sexually transmitted infections. Many STIs can have harmful consequences on the growing baby, so it’s crucial to be checked out if you suspect you have one during pregnancy.
The CDC strongly advocates for prenatal testing for STDs. Antibiotics and antiviral drugs are effective against many sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but preventing transmission to the fetus is of more significance. The CDC also suggests using latex condoms during sexual activity to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and to protect an unborn child from contracting an STI.