Painful Sex During Pregnancy – What to Do

A lot of changes occur during pregnancy, including pain during sex. It is completely normal and there are many reasons for this. If the discomfort is severe enough to prevent sex, talk with your doctor. There could be an underlying cause that can easily be solved.

In the meantime, try a water-based lubricant, experiment with different positions and communicate with your partner!


Painful sex during pregnancy isn’t uncommon and it can be caused by various reasons. It may be due to the uterus stretching, increased blood flow to the pelvic area, round ligament stretching or an infection like a bladder infection. It can also be caused by hormones, like the pregnancy hormone relaxin, that stretches pelvic ligaments and widens the cervix.

The second trimester is the time when this pain can occur most often because it is when the uterus starts to stretch and become larger. This can cause it to be painful during sex because it creates pressure on the bladder, creating that deep ache or cramping sensation. During orgasms, the uterus can contract which can also create this type of pain.

Another reason for painful sex is the nipples and vulva becoming bigger, which can create a feeling of friction or sensitivity during sex. These changes are due to the increase in blood flow, which can also put extra pressure on the vulva and nipples.

It is also common for the round ligaments, which are cordlike structures that support the uterus and connect it to the groin. These can get stretched during pregnancy which can lead to discomfort and may even hurt during sex because they are sensitive. It can feel like a deep ache or cramping and it can increase in intensity with certain movements, such as when one is sneezing or standing up quickly.

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Pregnancy is a magical time, but sometimes those amazing changes in the body cause pain during sexual intercourse. While this is totally normal, it’s not something to ignore and there are some things you can do to alleviate the discomfort.

In the first trimester, the uterus is expanding in order to accommodate the growing baby. This causes cramping, which can lead to painful intercourse. This is a common problem that most women experience in the first trimester, and it typically resolves after the 13th week of pregnancy.

During the second trimester, the blood flow to the pelvic area increases and this can cause sensitivity in the vulva, which can make sex more uncomfortable. A good lubricant can help to alleviate the sensitivity, and a great option is a water-based lubricant or a vaginal gel that is free of fragrances and toxins.

In the third trimester, the uterus is still expanding to support the baby, which can cause pain during sex. A good lubricant can also help with this, and a great option is a silicone-based lubricant. This can be rubbed into the skin and is super smooth, so it can help with the sexy factor! This type of lubricant is also safe for the baby and your partner.

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A woman’s body goes through a lot during pregnancy, and that includes some changes that can make sex uncomfortable. It’s important to know what might be causing the pain and to talk to your doctor about it, as soon as you notice discomfort or notice other signs of trouble.

If you’re experiencing painful sex, it might help to try a different position or to switch up sexual activities. Oral sex or mutual masturbation may help, too. It’s also a good idea to use condoms, since infections are common in pregnant women and can cause serious health problems for both mom and baby.

In most cases, pain during sex in the second trimester isn’t anything to worry about, except for pain that doesn’t go away after a few hours or if there’s bleeding after sex. Other signs of a problem include urinary symptoms, like the urge to pee more often or a burning sensation when you use the bathroom, and discharge that’s thicker than normal, says Lamppa.

Hormonal changes during this time can cause the round ligaments in your pelvis to stretch, which can lead to vaginal pain after sex. The round ligaments connect your uterus to the front of your pelvis and can become stretched or strained as a result of pregnancy, she adds. If you’re having round ligament pain, your doctor might prescribe an over-the-counter pain reliever.

Seek Medical Attention

While it’s uncomfortable to deal with pain during sex while pregnant, the fact is that it’s not usually a sign of a problem. But, as with any symptom or issue that arises during pregnancy, it should be brought up to your doctor’s attention.

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“Pain during sex isn’t concerning unless it lasts more than an hour or there’s significant bleeding,” Shepherd says. But, she adds, if it’s accompanied by symptoms like urinary pain, a burning sensation when you go to the bathroom or a lot of vaginal discharge, you should call your doctor. “That could be a sign of a yeast infection, bladder infection or an ectopic pregnancy,” she explains.

Most of the time, pain during sex is due to a few factors, including a heavy uterus and stretching of the pelvis as it prepares for birth, Levitt says. It can also be caused by swelling in the labia and tissue of the vulva.

Fortunately, these causes can usually be resolved with a little bit of experimenting or the use of pillows or lubricant. But, it is important to bring up the issue with your partner and to talk about it openly, as it can feel embarrassing to discuss, especially when you’re dealing with so many other physical and emotional changes. You’ll both be better able to find solutions if you communicate effectively.

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