Pain During Sex While Pregnant: The 7 Causes and 4 Cures to Try

Written by: Dr Dmitry Loktionov



Time to read 5 min

Pregnancy, a significant event in a woman's life, brings about numerous changes in the body, both visible and internal. While the joys of motherhood are unparalleled, certain challenges accompany the journey. One such issue that many women encounter is pain during sex while pregnant. It's a common concern and can be a source of distress for couples. This article aims to shed light on the causes of such discomfort, some remedial measures, and when to seek professional help.

Dr Dmitry

Dr Dmitry Loktionov - MB. BCh. OB-GYN

Dr. Dmitry is an accomplished doctor, women's health advocate, and founder of Quanna, a next-generation sexual wellness brand. With a background in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, he works towards empowering women with knowledge and improving access to holistic care.

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Are You Alone in This?

You're not alone if sexual intercourse during pregnancy causes discomfort. Many women experience varying degrees of discomfort during sex while pregnant. It's crucial to remember that these changes are normal and often a part of the body's natural response to pregnancy.

What Causes Painful Sex During Pregnancy?

Before diving into remedial solutions, let's first understand what triggers pain during sex while pregnant.

1. Hormonal Changes and Vaginal Dryness

Pregnancy brings about a surge in hormonal activity that directly impacts your body. Vaginal dryness, a common consequence of these hormonal fluctuations, can lead to discomfort during intercourse. The hormonal changes in your body may decrease the natural lubrication, leading to vaginal dryness and resulting in painful sex.

2. Increased Bladder Pressure

The growing fetus exerts additional pressure on your bladder, making you feel like you need to urinate more often. This bladder pressure can cause discomfort or even pain during sex.

3. Heightened Sensitivity

Pregnancy hormones can make your breasts and nipples more sensitive and tender, contributing to discomfort during sex.

Recommended Reading: Causes of Vaginal Pain & How to Decrease Sensitivity Naturally

4. Adjusting to New Sex Positions

As your baby grows, certain sexual positions you once enjoyed may start to feel uncomfortable, resulting in pain during sex. Experimenting with different positions can help alleviate this issue.

Here are the best positions to have sex in if you’re pregnant and want to avoid pain.

Best Pregnancy Sex Positions to Avoid Pain

Lying on Your Side

When it comes to sex positions while pregnant, lying on one's side is usually the most comfortable. Whether you’re having sex face-to-face or back-to-face, it keeps the weight of your pregnancy off your back. If there is any pressure on the lower back, put a pillow between your knees and have your partner lie and enter you from behind.

Sex lying on your side

On Top

Being on top for a woman reduces the pressure on your belly and you can control the depth of penetration as well. Face your partner so they can stimulate your clitoris. However, keep in mind during 3rd trimester pregnancy it can be difficult to get into this position due to the bigger size.

Sex with pregnant women on top

Rear Entry

When having your partner enter you from behind lay your arms and head on the bed to rest so that you don't have to hold up the weight of your belly. You can also stand with your hands on the wall and your partner holds up your belly from behind while entering you. However, the best rear entry position is spooning as you’ll both be most comfortable.

Rear entry sex for pregnant women

Oral Sex

Sex during pregnancy doesn't have to be penetration. It can be you lying back and letting your partner do all the work. Oral sex during pregnancy is best done lying on your back or sitting in a comfortable chair.

Oral sex for pregnant women

5. Mild Cramping

Sexual climax releases oxytocin, which can trigger mild cramping in some women. While these cramps usually resolve with rest, if they persist or intensify, it's advisable to consult a healthcare provider.

6. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

STIs can lead to serious complications for both the mother and the baby. If you suspect you or your partner have contracted an STI, it's crucial to refrain from all forms of sexual activity and consult a healthcare provider immediately.

7. Other Physical Changes

The physical transformations during pregnancy, such as swelling in tissues, can cause discomfort during sex. The increased blood flow, enlargement of veins, and changes in the vascular system can all contribute to discomfort.

How To Stop Pain During Sex While Pregnant

Understanding the cause of discomfort can guide you toward the right solutions. Below are some measures to mitigate pain during sex while pregnant.

1. Open Communication

Open and honest communication with your partner about your discomfort is vital. Exploring different positions and taking things slow can help you find what works best for you.

2. Use of Sex Lubricants

If vaginal dryness is causing discomfort, using water-based lubricants can help ease the friction and make sex more comfortable.

Recommended Reading: An Exciting Guide to Lube

3. Treating Infections

Infections such as yeast or bladder infections can cause discomfort during sex. If you suspect an infection, consulting a healthcare provider for proper treatment is crucial.

4. Staying Hydrated

Dehydration can aggravate dryness, including in and around the vagina. Ensuring adequate hydration can help maintain natural lubrication and reduce discomfort.

When to Consult a Gynecologist

Pain during sex while pregnant isn't typically a cause for concern unless it's severe, accompanied by intense cramping, or associated with bleeding. If you experience persistent pain after sex, lasting more than an hour, or any bleeding beyond mild spotting, it's advisable to consult a healthcare provider, doctor, or gynecologist.

If you're experiencing urinary symptoms like frequent urination or a burning sensation, it may be a sign of an infection and warrants immediate consultation.

Final Thoughts

Experiencing painful sex while pregnant can be distressing, but it's important to remember that you're not alone. Open communication with your partner and exploring what works for you can help alleviate the discomfort. However, any persistent or severe pain warrants immediate consultation with a healthcare provider.

Remember, pregnancy is a unique journey for every woman, and it's essential to listen to your body. If something doesn't feel right, don't hesitate to seek professional help. After all, your well-being directly impacts the little life growing within you.