6 Reasons Why Pregnancy Sex May Be Painful That Are Totally Normal, According To Experts
December 21, 2017
By Tessa Shull, Romper
With changes in your libido and hormones, pregnancy sex will likely feel different on some level. That may raise a little concern from time to time, but the truth is, it’s generally normal. During my first pregnancy, I didn’t really experience any pain during intercourse, but my second time around was met with the occasional discomfort that alarmed me at first. When you learn that there actually are reasons for normal pain during pregnancy sex, however, it really helps put your mind at ease.
Once my OB-GYN shared that discomfort isn’t all that uncommon during pregnancy sex, I was able to take a breath and carry on. It’s relieving to know there are actually perfectly logical reasons to feel discomfort during sex and pregnancy in general. There’s a lot going on inside your pregnant body, and some of those things contribute to how you’re feeling, especially when it comes to the vagina and breasts. On the flip side, there are of course things that you should not ignore during sex while pregnant as well.
If you notice that there are some new feelings or discomfort during pregnancy sex, don’t panic. Although it’s always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider if you think something’s wrong or if issues persist, knowing that there are also very normal discomforts during pregnancy sex may keep you from panicking, because in all honesty, you’re probably freaked out of everything when you’re pregnant.
1. Changing Body & Growing Belly
In an interview with OB-GYN Dr. Vasiliki Moragianni of Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, she tells Romper that although pregnancy sex is safe, it can be uncomfortable primarily due to a woman’s body changing — plain and simple. As your pregnancy progresses, Moragianni says that a growing abdomen or swollen vaginal tissue can also contribute to uncomfortable sexual experiences. As a result, you may want to adjust your sex positions to something more comfortable for each trimester.
2. Pleasure Zones Are Super Sensitive
According to Modern Mom, areas you once considered pleasure zones can become painful during pregnancy. Your breasts and nipples often get engorged or tender, and that can quickly cause those areas to go from a turn on to a turn off in a snap. Paying attention to areas that are sensitive and easing into sexual play with those zones or avoiding them altogether is a good way keep sex pleasurable.
3. Vaginal Dryness
“Hormonal changes can lead to vaginal dryness,” making intercourse more uncomfortable, Moragianni says. “Some things that couples can try on their own are changing sex positions and using a lubricant.” There are several lubes that are safe for pregnancy sex you might want to check out if you notice pain and dryness down there.
4. More Blood Flow
In an interview with The Bump, OB-GYN Dr. Sarah Prager said that more blood flows to your pelvic region during pregnancy, which causes sensitivity and sometimes discomfort for some during sex. With a larger-than-normal uterus sitting lower in your pelvis, it can contribute to the pain during intercourse. Again, this may be a good time to explore different positions and penetration depth in order to avoid pain or discomfort while you’re getting hot and heavy.
Moragianni tells Romper that “anxiety and even the couple’s fear of hurting the baby could contribute to an uncomfortable experience.” It’s important to remember that, unless your doctor’s advised otherwise, sex is perfectly safe during pregnancy. If anxiety is taking over your life, consider talking to your healthcare professional about it. During my second pregnancy, I started experiencing anxiety for the first time, and knowing what I know now, I wish I’d reached out for help to deal with that struggle. I think it would’ve helped alleviate a lot of mental and physical discomfort in many areas, including the bedroom.
6. Non-Physiologic Contributors
“Other, non-physiologic, reasons for painful pregnancy sex include genital or pelvic infections, or an ectopic pregnancy,” according to Moragianni. An ectopic pregnancy is one that’s implanted outside the uterine cavity and could become a major issue if left untreated. If you notice signs of an infection, you should also reach out to your doctor for help getting it treated.