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Painful Sex During Pregnancy

Many women complain of painful sex during pregnancy, which is a frequent occurrence characterized by diverse forms of discomfort. In most cases, this is quite normal, especially during the first three months as the hormonal changes impose their rules, and the woman’s body becomes more irritable.

Due to pregnancy hormones, blood flow, and changes in libido, sexual interest during pregnancy will probably be different at some levels: it may decrease or, conversely, increase, depending on its intensity. Moreover, some women may enjoy easier orgasms or even have an orgasm for the first time during pregnancy.

Pregnant women may also experience some pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse. This may raise some doubts from time to time, but in general, sex life during pregnancy is a completely natural and even very useful activity.

Is sexual intercourse safe during pregnancy?

There is no reason to suspend sexual intercourse during a pregnancy that is progressing normally. Instead, continuing sexual activity during pregnancy strengthens the couple’s relationship, prepares for a balanced reception of the baby, and reduces the risk of sexual problems after delivery.

Many couples, especially those who have previously miscarried, are often concerned about whether sex or orgasm would be harmful to the baby and could cause a miscarriage in the first trimester.

However, this association has never been subjected to rigorous scientific examination, even in the case of a previous miscarriage. Sometimes, a miscarriage occurs immediately after intercourse, but the act was only a trigger for rejecting a distressed or already dead fetus.

The baby will not be hurt or infected by anything. Not only the embryo is protected by the membranes, the amniotic fluid, and the uterine wall, but also the cervix is closed so that the sperm cannot get close to the embryo.

In certain situations where the risk is particularly high, experts may not recommend having sex for the first 3 months, so that the fertilized egg can calmly set into place and begin to divide.

But during the second trimester, the baby is firmly held in the womb at 8 cm length, the situation returns to normal with the stability of the woman’s hormone levels, fears and anxieties are thus reduced. Doctors say that sex in the second trimester is useful and even necessary.

As the growing belly gets larger in the last three months, certain positions will become impossible to do because of the woman’s physical discomfort. It is, therefore, enough to find the most appropriate sexual positions for intercourse, those that don’t disturb the woman’s abdomen or make her more tired.

On the other hand, when a woman term is exceeded, she may be advised to have sexual intercourse in an attempt to trigger childbirth: sperm contains prostaglandins that would act to make the cervix more flexible for dilation and cause uterine contractions.

However, in the presence of some pathologies or in the event of a predisposition to them, sex is contraindicated in all cases, as it can cause either a miscarriage or premature birth. If the pain is severe and remains painful, the best thing to do is to consult a gynecologist.

What causes painful sex during pregnancy

Women experience painful sex during pregnancy in different ways, it depends on both you and your partner, and it is not only due to hormonal factors and physical changes but also to your emotional state.

Pregnant women are frequently worried about what can harm their babies, and they consider sex as one of the potential risks…which is not true. Actually, your baby is absolutely safe and you can continue to have sex until the end of pregnancy without any problems.

The reasons for painful sex during pregnancy can thus be both physiological and psychological, and pregnant women can feel discomfort not only directly during sexual intercourse, but also after.

Pain During Intercourse

During pregnancy, the hormones in your body are fluctuating and your blood flow increases. Some areas that you previously considered as pleasure zones can become painful: your breasts and nipples often become swollen or sensitive, making their stimulations uncomfortable or even painful.

Paying attention to sensitive areas and facilitating or completely avoiding sexual play with these areas is a good way to keep sexual pleasure.

Female sexual desire often decreases during the first trimester of pregnancy. Various factors such as hormonal changes, fatigue, nausea, somnolence do not promote sexual interest. In addition, emotionally, a woman strongly feels the presence of an inner baby in her.

Sometimes there are spasmodic contractions of the vaginal muscles, which appear simply because of a woman’s fears and makes penetration more difficult. The relaxation and attention of the husband may help to avoid this kind of pain.

Besides that, hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause a certain amount of vaginal dryness, causing pain during intercourse. The lubricant production of the female genital tract decreases, which increases sensitivity and makes penetration less pleasant and even painful.

If this happens, it is necessary to use artificial lubricants to avoid such a problem during sexual intercourse.

On the other hand, more blood flows to the pelvic area and genital organs during pregnancy, which makes these more sensitive and sometimes painful for some women during intercourse. Varicose veins can also appear around the vagina, which can be painful.

Since painful sex during pregnancy can have different forms, it is also important to identify where the pain sensation occurs. The most common cause during the first trimester is located in the cervix: the opening to the uterus that is located at the top of the vagina. The closure of the cervix makes penetrations more painful.

When pain occurs in this area and is in harmony with the male penis movement, it is very likely to be due to excessive cervix irritation, as it is too sensitive and irritated by friction, and during pregnancy this sensitivity increases.

If the pain occurs above the pubis, it may indicate a uterine contraction in response to the partner’s movements that may be too violent. In this case, the partner should be careful: active contractions can cause increased uterus sensitivity, which is unpleasant for pregnant women.

Other factors such as the shortest cervix, the growing belly, and the increasing pressure on the bladder can also make intercourse uncomfortable, especially during the last three month.

The cervix is typically 3 to 5 centimeters long and gradually shortens during pregnancy. In this case, some women may find deep penetration of the penis uncomfortable or even painful. This may be a good time to explore different penetration positions and depths to avoid such pain or discomfort.

Pain after Intercourse

Pain after sexual intercourse is more common in cases of gynecological infections than in the context of pregnancy itself. For example, the pain felt while lying on one side often refers to an ovarian cyst.

Pain can also be a consequence of fungal or bladder infections caused by the change in acidity. If symptoms that may suggest an infection occur (abnormal discharge, urinary or vaginal burning, etc.), it is still recommended to discuss it with your doctor.

Some women experience pain or cramps in the lower abdomen or lower back after having sex during pregnancy. Pain in the lower abdomen that occurs after intercourse is usually not a concern, it is generally mild and lasts about one to two hours.

With increased sensitivity in the vagina, lips, clitoris, breasts, and nipples, orgasm may be more intense during pregnancy, which can be experienced in a painful way. After an orgasm, you may have stomach pain due to the contraction of the abdominal muscles.

Slower blood flow after orgasm can cause stagnation, muscle tension, and pain. Another reason for this stagnation may be infrequent sexual intercourse without orgasm or long-term sexual abstinence. This is most often a pulling sensation and a slight feeling of heaviness in the genitals.

On the other hand, the increase in blood flow to the pelvis and reproductive organs causes slight cramping in the lower back region after intercourse.

The combination of prostaglandins from the partner’s sperm and muscular spasms produced by orgasm can also trigger slight uterine contractions, which is a common phenomenon, especially in the later months.

If these sensations are temporary, they will not affect the fetus. However, if the pain is severe and prolonged, you should consult a doctor.

When should you stop sexual intercourse?

Fear of harming the baby should no longer be used as a pretext to restrict sexual activity. In fact, the fetus is well protected inside the amniotic sac: a mucosal plug located at the cervix separates it from the vaginal cavity.

In some cases, your doctor will advise you to stop having sexual intercourse during pregnancy. Indeed, certain situations can lead to contraindications, including the following:

  • When there are significant uterine contractions that affect the cervix, with a risk of premature delivery.
  • When the placenta is unusually low and covers the cervix (placenta previa), there is a risk of bleeding.
  • When there is a risk of miscarriage.
  • When the water sac is broken or amniotic fluid is leaking, the risk of infection is high.
  • When heavy and unexpected vaginal bleeding occurs, and the cramps become more severe.

It is also recommended to avoid any sexual intercourse that could contaminate chlamydia or other sexually transmitted infections. Whenever in doubt, it is advisable to ask for the partner’s analyses.

3 best sex positions during pregnancy

As your pregnancy progresses, some positions may become uncomfortable. It may be necessary to adapt your technique and avoid all those where you would be oppressed by your partner’s weight or where you are flat on your belly.

Look together, talk about it, and as long as it’s comfortable, go for it!

You can also enjoy other intimate contacts such as hugs, mutual caresses with hands or mouth, etc. Even without much penetrative sex, pregnancy can be a special moment of intimacy between you and your partner.

1. The missionary position

The classic “missionary” position, man on top and woman on his back, can be maintained for a long time. As long as the partner can avoid pressing on your belly by lifting his body with both hands as support.

This traditional position can be difficult with a big belly. You can place a pillow under your hips before lying on your back and ask your partner to take position between your legs with his body parallel to yours.

2. Woman on the top

The female dominant position becomes one of the most appreciated and less uncomfortable during pregnancy. At this stage, a pregnant woman can initiate the position and control it. She can, therefore, manage penetration depth, movement speed, and thus avoid possible pain. Take control and get on top!

3. Lateral position

The lateral position also offers more comfort to women, especially in late pregnancy. During this time, it is best to avoid lying on your back, either to sleep or to have sex: your baby can suppress your vena cava, which makes you feel very weak.

Instead, being inclined on one side is a good idea to avoid weighing down your abdomen and support your uterus at the same time. You can either face each other while lying on your sides or positioning yourself to allow entry from behind. Try to pull one leg upwards to give room for your partner.

You can also enjoy other intimate contacts such as hugs, mutual caresses with hands or mouth, etc. Even without much penetrative sex, pregnancy can be a special moment of intimacy between you and your partner.

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