Bleeding After Sex While Pregnant

Bleeding after sex while pregnant is common and not always a cause for concern. However, it is important to monitor the bleeding and see a doctor if the amount of blood is more than light spotting.

Spotting is normal in early pregnancy and is caused by the fertilized egg settling into the lining of your uterus – a process known as implantation. However, heavy bleeding following penetration may be a sign of a miscarriage.

Causes

Bleeding in early pregnancy is common, and it can occur for many reasons unrelated to sex. Nonetheless, it is still important to know when this bleeding could be a sign of something serious and when you should seek immediate medical attention.

Around the seven-week mark, you may begin to see some light spotting. This is known as implantation bleeding, and it is caused by the fertilized egg attaching to the lining of your uterus. This can happen without having sex, and it typically does not occur right after sex, but rather about eight or nine days after conception or 12 to 13 days after your last menstrual period.

Light spotting can also occur when you bump your cervix while having sex. The cervix softens during pregnancy and can be injured by penetrative sex or by a pap smear, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Heavy or prolonged bleeding after sex is not normal and should be evaluated by a doctor, according to ACOG. It can be a sign of placenta previa, an ectopic pregnancy or a vaginal laceration.

Lastly, it is possible that your bloody spotting is due to a low-lying placenta, a condition that can cause catastrophic hemorrhaging in the second or third trimester. This problem is more likely to develop when the uterus is large and the baby is crowding the placenta.

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Symptoms

While it might be cause for alarm, a lot of times bleeding after sex during pregnancy is normal. It’s more common than you might think, with it happening in 25% of pregnancies during the first trimester, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Light spotting or pink, very light red or brown blood after sex is often implantation bleeding, which occurs when a fertilized egg attaches to your uterine lining. This type of bleeding is similar to a period and usually comes without any pain. Sex that involves penetration can also trigger it if the penis bumps the cervix. The cervix softens during pregnancy and can also be irritated by other things, such as a pelvic exam or an ultrasound.

Bleeding that is heavier than spotting or that lasts longer than a period might be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus in one of the fallopian tubes. It’s a dangerous condition for both mom and baby, so it’s important to see a doctor as soon as you notice the symptoms.

Heavy bleeding that is accompanied by cramping might be a sign of premature labor. It could also be due to a more serious medical condition such as placenta previa, where the placenta covers part or all of your cervix, or placental abruption, where the placenta separates from the uterus.

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Treatment

Seeing blood after sex while pregnant is understandably alarming, but most of the time it’s nothing to worry about. Light spotting after sex happens in up to 25% of pregnancies, and is caused by the fertilized egg attaching itself to the uterine lining. You may also have implantation bleeding around the same time you’d normally get your period, which can cause light spotting.

Rough sex or even just bumping the cervix during sexual activity can lead to light bleeding, too, as pregnancy hormones soften your cervix. You can also bleed from a condition called cervical ectopy, which is a raw area of the cervix that bleeds easily. The good news is that this usually goes away on its own after the pregnancy.

Heavy bleeding – enough to fill a pad every hour or more – is not normal, and may be a sign of a miscarriage. Regardless of the cause, it’s important to let your doctor know right away so they can evaluate and treat the problem.

If you don’t want to skip out on the romance, consider taking it easy or slowing down on rough sex until your doctor has cleared you to continue. It’s also important to remember that having sex while pregnant doesn’t cause a miscarriage, and regular lovemaking is one of the healthiest ways for couples to bond while waiting for their baby.

Prevention

Pregnancy hormones increase throughout gestation and make blood vessels more friable (easily damaged). Vaginal penetration, such as during sex or by a finger or toy, can disrupt those blood vessels. That’s especially likely if the penetration is forceful or you have a weakened cervix. Light bleeding is normal after sex, as well as during orgasm, and usually doesn’t indicate a problem.

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In most cases, light bleeding after sex is due to the fertilized egg implanting in the uterus lining. This is called implantation bleeding and typically occurs around the time you’d have your period if you weren’t pregnant. The spotting might be mixed with semen or mucus and may last 2 to 7 days.

If you’re experiencing light spotting during the first trimester that lasts longer than 2 or 3 weeks, talk to your healthcare provider. It might be a sign that the placenta is hanging lower in your uterus and that you need to stop having penetrative sex until it climbs higher up the wall of your uterus.

However, don’t let spotting or a history of miscarriage discourage you from enjoying sex with your partner, as sex is important for healthy pregnancy outcomes. It’s also a great way to stay close to your partner and keep the romance alive while you wait for baby. Any amount of bleeding after sex should be checked out by your healthcare provider, though, especially if it’s heavy and persistent.

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