Can Sex Cause Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy
You're growing as your baby is growing. This can lead to increased pressure in the pelvis and muscles surrounding the vulva, that may create discomfort.
There are a lot of changes happening within your body right now, and you may start to feel discomfort in your pelvic region, including painful sex. Sex is never something you want to feel uncomfortable with (that kind of defeats the whole point, right?), but it’s understandable to be worried about experiencing painful sex during pregnancy, particularly if you never had pain before you became pregnant.
Can You Have Sex During Pregnancy?
Experts say that it is completely safe to have sex during pregnancy, and sex alone cannot harm the baby. However, you need to keep in mind the positions and the intensity of sex, and finding creative positions for comfort. Also, there may be a change in the way you will feel about having sex during pregnancy. Sometimes, you might want to unleash your inner animal, and other times you won't even want to kiss. You can, of course, find other ways of connecting on a more emotional level if you are experiencing pain or discomfort.
Why Does Sex Cause Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy?
More Weight & Blood Flow
There is more blood flow to your pelvic region during pregnancy, which can increase sensitivity and sometimes discomfort for some during sex. The weight of the growing uterus and baby means more work for the pelvic floor muscles. An increase in tension in the pelvic floor muscles is common and can lead to a change in sensation with sex.
When you are pregnant, hormonal changes can lead to vaginal dryness. This may cause discomfort and pain during intercourse. There are many lubricants that are safe for use in pregnancy and can help ensure it is a pleasurable event. Water based lubricants without additives and glycerine are preferred.
Changes In Your Body
Your nipples become more tender, you have a growing uterus and belly which shifts your centre of gravity. This can contribute to back pain, and pelvic girdle pain which may decrease your interest in sex or make sex more uncomfortable. You can try different positions such as side-lying or take charge and go on top. This way, you won't be exerting pressure on your belly and can also be more in control of your body.
The veins in your pelvic region can increase, and this alone can cause pelvic congestion. Some may also experience vulvar varicosities which are varicose veins on the outer surface of the vulva. They are typically due to the increase in blood volume to the pelvis during pregnancy and the associated decrease in how quickly the blood flows from the lower body to the heart. Varicosities and pelvic congestion can make sex uncomfortable.
Anxiety and even perhaps the fear of hurting the baby could contribute to an uncomfortable experience during sex as well. It’s important to remember that, unless your doctor’s advised otherwise, sex is perfectly safe during pregnancy. If anxiety is taking over your life, consider talking to your healthcare professional about it.
Most of the fears and anxiety are all centered in your core. Two major components of the core are the pelvic floor and the abdomen. These two parts of your body play an integral role in sex and they are probably the two areas you are thinking about the most right now.
Core breathing will help increase blood flow and circulation to the healing tissues, it will help restore tone to the pelvic floor and abdomen and it gives you time to just breathe, even if just for a few minutes. It also helps stimulate nerve growth factor which can ensure optimal healing.
Reconnecting to your core will not only help you heal physically but with a stronger core, your confidence and emotional well-being will benefit as well
Return To Sex Postpartum
It is generally advisable to wait six weeks before resuming penetrative sex, but there is nothing to say that you have to return to sex by this time. Seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist between 6-8 weeks postpartum can be beneficial before returning to sex. Using a product such as the Kegel Release Curve may also help ease the transition back to sexual activity.
It is common to feel discomfort postpartum but if anything feels more intense or is worrisome, speak to your care provider.