15 Reasons A Pregnant Woman Might Feel Pain While Doing ‘It’

Most couples assume that they can continue with their amorous activities during pregnancy. But that's not always the case.

A beautiful connection has often occurred in order for a child to be made. The physical closeness and love between two people has – either intentionally or not – led to the creation of a child. Though this process is basic science, it doesn’t make it any less amazing – and I still have to stop and marvel at it now and again.

I look at my handsome and loving husband, I see my two beautiful children, and I’m nearly blown away at the way nature works to create families, the way my own natural drive to find a partner and reproduce has caused two more humans to join the adventure in this wild, wondrous world.

Once a couple has conceived, they may find themselves feeling excited, close, anxious, and an entire range of other emotions.

They probably assume that, for the most part, they’ll be able to continue on with their routine as a couple as usual (knowing, if they’re practical folks, that sleeplessness and more may force things to change a bit in the bedroom once the baby actually comes).

Therefore it’s disconcerting for some gals to find that sex with their partner has not only changed once they’re with child but also become painful. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but to try to better understand what might be going on if it does, here are 15 reasons a woman might feel pain while doing it during pregnancy.

15Like Lightning

Believe it or not, there is a commonly used phrase passed around pregnant circles and forums and the like called “lightning crotch.”

Some women, as the cervix changes and as the growing uterus puts pressure on the nerves of the area in question, experience almost stabbing pains in their vaginas.

It might be disconcerting, to be sure, if you weren’t expecting it.

Any pain should of course be discussed with your OB/GYN during your prenatal care appointments (or via a phone call if something concerning happens in between regular visits).

Much of the time, though, this sensation is a normal part of the changes the body must undergo during pregnancy.

If sex doesn’t strike the right nerve, it just might be related.

This type of pain is often unpredictable, though some women find that certain positions trigger discomfort.

14Swollen Situation

With extra blood flow and increased pressure on the circulatory system, tissues throughout the body can be somewhat swollen during pregnancy. And the tissues of the vagina are not necessarily an exception to this.

If things feel different or even painful during intercourse, it could be this issue that’s influencing the experience.

I’ve found no advice to share with you here, but I do have some ideas myself that just might be worth a try. You know how your pregnant feet can tend to be more swollen at the end of the day? Maybe being intimate in the morning or at other times would allow you to experiment and see if your body was in a more comfortably receptive state.

Additionally, how about trying some different positions if the usual one isn’t quite working anymore?

13Battle Scars

If things are painful during sex or not feeling quite right, it could be due to something from your past.

Though past sexual abuse may be related to psychosomatic symptoms (consult with a doctor and therapist for help with anything related to this), that’s actually not what I’m referencing here.

I’m talking quite literally about scar tissue that may have been caused by a past procedure, injury, or something related.

It’s quite common, in fact, for women to experience vaginal tearing during normal vaginal delivery of a baby, so if a gal has had a baby before and then experiences pain during sex when pregnant again, it may be related.

If there is scar tissue causing discomfort or pain, an OB/GYN will sometimes be able to very simply remove some of it, and surgery may also be an option.

12The Warm Up To Contractions

So you’re counting down the days until that all-important due date (or perhaps not really quite so important as some may believe, actually, because something like 5 percent of women actually deliver on their due dates). You are preparing mentally. You may be doing exercises and taking childbirth courses to prepare yourself physically.

You eat well, stay fit, and attend all of your scheduled prenatal care appointments.

You decorate the nursery, may get a new family car, install a car seat, and baby-proof your home.

Well just as you are busy making all of these preparations, your body is making preparations naturally as well. Many women experience false or “practice” Braxton-Hicks contractions. They are a tightening of the uterus that may somewhat mimic a true contraction, but these don’t get longer, stronger, and closer together like the real thing.

Such cramping sensations may be the cause of pain during sex (or at other times, especially at night) during pregnancy.

11Trying Different Things

As the baby grows and the body prepares for birth, the vagina may very likely feel, well, different. As things shift in position and shape, the old angles and positions that you and your partner enjoyed may no longer be enjoyable or doable. They may even be considered painful.

The solution? Well, I’d say first of all talk to your partner honestly and seek advice from your doctor for all things health-related. But many would tell you to get creative with some new and different positions and approaches in order to find something that feels right.

With lying flat on your back off the table later in pregnancy anyway (because the growing uterus can put too much pressure on the major vein called the vena cava), it may be an ideal time to try getting on hands and knees.

10It Could Be The Real Deal

A doctor has told me more than once that at night in bed is a time that it sort of makes sense for a woman’s labor to actually begin. The conditions of feeling comfortable and safe combined with hormones and timing mean that it is certainly not uncommon for a woman to begin to experience true contractions or even experience her water breaking while in bed at night.

What else might tend to happen in bed at night? One of the main things that comes to mind is of course – you guessed it – sexual intercourse!

I wouldn’t by any means jump to the conclusion that any painful sensations experienced during sex are absolutely true contractions and a sign that labor is beginning. But, especially if you are toward the end of your pregnancy, I wouldn’t completely rule it out either.

9Parts Are Under Pressure

With the weight of a growing baby, a rapidly growing uterus, and a lot of extra fluid, there is likely to be a lot more pressure on the lower parts of the body as that bump grows, grows, and grows some more.

Some women feel that this pressure leads to discomfort or even pain, whether it’s during sex, sleep, exercise, sitting, walking, or some combination thereof.

A lot is being asked of the body’s joints and muscles. And new pressure may be put on various nerves, as well.

With the feeling that the uterus is pushing down on all the parts below, sex can certainly feel different, and unfortunately, especially later on in pregnancy such as during the third trimester, it’s not always in a good way. At least you know it has to end at some point (because the baby will be born)!

8A Preventable Problem

It’s possible for people to have STDs and not even know it. HPV and many others are lurking out there, and if a gal has had unprotected sex, it’s definitely possible that she’s contracted a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or sexually transmitted infection.

If painful sex is an issue at any time, the best thing to do is consult with your doctor. If it is an infection or disease causing the trouble, it’s definitely best to know and receive any needed treatment.

Women are screened every year or two for abnormal results in their pap tests and given vaginal exams. If they screen for these problems so regularly, they must be pretty darn common, don’t you think?

Using a careful combination of condoms and caution can help to prevent the spread of disease.

7Muscular Matters

This may be getting a bit graphic, but I’ll try to keep it pretty PG for all of my vast and varied readers out there in Internetland. You know how sometimes at the… height of pleasure or leading up to it, the body really tenses or flexes in certain places? Maybe things are going so great that it makes a lady’s toes curl?

Well if you’re an athlete in any capacity, you’ve probably experienced a muscle cramp before. When you get one in the calf muscle of one of your legs, it’s quite commonly referred to as a Charley horse.

The thing is, when you’re pregnant (very much so in the third trimester when you are carrying significant additional weight) and also especially during labor, it’s very common to get these very painful muscle cramps.

If you experienced this awful muscle cramping in the boudoir at some point, you wouldn’t be the first.

6The Twins Are Sensitive

One of the very first things you noticed that made you think, “Hmmm, maybe I should pee on that stick today…” may have been really sore boobs that felt even more tender to the touch.

For many gals, breast soreness and sensitivity starts at the very beginning of this wild ride called pregnancy and lasts all the way through.

Toward the end of those magical 40 weeks, the breasts are probably feeling quite full and heavy – it’s a time when the girls are about to fulfill their destiny as important tools for feeding a newborn baby.

The thing is, even if you’ve specifically instructed your partner to STEER CLEAR of the chest region when things get intimate in the bedroom, in the heat of the moment, there may very likely be some contact between the bed or some part of your partner and those two ultra-sensitive makers of milk.

5Acidic Attack

Many women experience a quite nasty sensation during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester when the growing uterus is really pushing the stomach and other digestive organs out of its way.

It’s heartburn, and some people never experience it until pregnancy. The bummer of it all is that it often really becomes an issue as soon as you lie down at night. A painful, burning sensation may make you feel kind of like you’re going to throw up or like acid is rising in your throat, but not necessarily with any sensation of gagging as you would normally have when you need to vomit.

Lovely, right?

Well maybe it’s as soon as head meets pillow and things are about to get busy, or maybe it’s while being, um, jostled around, but heartburn during pregnant sex could very possibly put a painful damper on things.

4Lacking Lubrication

Hormonal changes can cause all sorts of interesting developments in the pregnant body. It’s not like a gal will be a totally different person, or even that she’ll be noticeable changed by these essential life chemicals coursing through her system. It’s just that there might, at least sometimes, be some side effects.

And one of these side effects, both during pregnancy and also actually afterward during breastfeeding in the postpartum period, can be vaginal dryness.

Where lubrication is lacking, things can be uncomfortable or even painful. Let me say right at the top that you should definitely talk to a doctor about any pain you are experiencing and any and all health concerns that you have.

If vaginal dryness is the issue, a doctor may recommend using an over-the-counter lube.

3It's All In Your Head

I had pretty severe headaches from almost as young as I can remember. Then, in my early or maybe mid-twenties, they sort of went away. They just weren’t really often an issue anymore. I seriously went from never leaving the house without pain-relieving medication in my purse just in case to not really having to worry about having one of these debilitating bad boys any more.

Then I became pregnant with my first child. I couldn’t take many of the medications that had worked for my headaches before, so I started carrying with me many days – no joke – a couple squares of very dark chocolate, which for me, seemed to do the trick and make the pain go away before it got too intense to handle.

If you’ve suffered frequent headaches, you know that your position can have a LOT to do with how they feel, and that sometimes, lying down just isn’t in the cards.

If hitting the hey, so to speak, with your hubs brings the headaches on during pregnancy, you aren’t alone.

2Can't Get The Friction Going

Um, let’s see, how do I go about this… You know how intimacy can tend to involve moving the hand and wrist in a repetitive motion, sometimes many, many times in a row?

Well there is something you may have heard of called carpal tunnel syndrome, and it’s fairly common for women to experience the painful condition during and also after pregnancy.

A major passage in the wrist can become painful, especially for gals who frequently carry out the same repeated motion. (The condition can be problematic for daylong typers and for manual laborers, as well.)

Even if you take a pretty, ahem, hands-off approach in the boudoir, supporting yourself on hands and knees, grabbing at the bed sheet, and other such motions, to be frank, may certainly aggravate the condition.

1It's A Painful Passage

I’ve found that if people have allergies, they get it. And if people don’t have allergies at all, they may have a really, really hard time understanding why they’re such a big deal for those who suffer from them.

It’s almost impossible to describe that it’s not just that runny nose, it’s not just itchy and red eyes, and it’s not just sinus swelling and pain. It’s not even all those things or more added together and experienced at once. It’s much more awful than that, and it can all lead to headaches, as well.

Well many folks with allergies find they intensify when they lie down at night to go to sleep (or do other stuff) and even find themselves completely stuffed up by morning. Pregnancy can aggravate allergies symptoms – especially sinus swelling, so sinus pain once you hit the hey could very well be an issue.


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