Pelvic Pain After Sex During Pregnancy
Bringing new life into the world is exciting. However, this shouldn’t stop you from having sex. Medical experts recommend having sex during pregnancy, except if you are at risk of complications. Unfortunately, sex can sometimes be painful during pregnancy.
If you feel pelvic pain after sex during pregnancy, you may wonder what the underlying cause is and if you should stop having sex altogether.
This article explores pelvic pain and sex during pregnancy and how we can help you at Concept of Movement Physiotherapy, Barrie, ON. We also discuss the likely causes of painful sex, when you should see your doctor, and how to prevent it.
What is Pelvic Pain?
If you experience pain around your pelvic area, you have pelvic pain. Your pelvic area is the region from your lower abdomen that ends just above your thighs. It consists of skin, pelvic bones, fatty tissue, pelvic floor muscles, and organs- uterus, vagina, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and cervix. Pain in this region may be mild or severe. Sometimes, it can be sharp or dull, intermittent or constant. You may also feel pelvic pain radiate into your lower back, thighs, and buttocks.
Sex During Pregnancy
Now that you know what pelvic pain is, if you feel it during sex, it may be due to several factors. Sex during pregnancy is safe and shouldn’t harm your baby, especially if your pregnancy is progressing normally.
However, because your body experiences significant body changes during pregnancy, your sexual desire and libido may change. Your weight gain, growing belly, or breast tenderness may make certain sexual positions uncomfortable for you. If you feel any discomfort, discussing it with your partner is ideal.
Why Do You Have Pelvic Pain After Sex During Pregnancy?
You can experience pelvic pain after sex during pregnancy due to several reasons. We explore some of the top reasons you may be experiencing painful sex during pregnancy.
Cramps in pregnancy are similar to those you experience during your menstrual period. These are perfectly normal as your uterus is expanding to accommodate your baby. However, they can cause pelvic pain after sex.
As your baby grows, your pelvic region will feel extra pressure and weakness. This increased pressure can lead to painful sex. Because your uterus becomes heavier during your second and third trimesters, you are more likely to experience painful sex during this time.
You will also experience a full bladder frequently as your uterus expands. With the frequent urge to urinate, you may experience pelvic pain if you have sex with a full bladder.
Your immune system function and hormone levels will fluctuate during pregnancy. Consequently, you are more likely to develop an infection. The most common type of infection in pregnancy is a yeast infection. This infection can lead to pain, burning, and itching in your vaginal area.
Sex can be uncomfortable with an untreated yeast infection. Although this infection is not transmittable, you must get a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
These changes affect your circulatory system. Your body will increase blood flow to your pelvic region to support your growing baby. However, the increased blood flow can sometimes engorge your pelvic region's veins. You are likely to experience chronic pain after sex during pregnancy due to this condition.
Your labia can swell during your first trimester. This swelling may intensify as you go further in your pregnancy. Your labia may swell in pregnancy due to increased baby weight and blood flow. Fluid retention can also cause swelling. Unfortunately, having sex with a swollen labia can cause pelvic pain during pregnancy.
As earlier mentioned, pregnancy can affect your hormone levels. These hormones, especially estrogen, are responsible for vaginal lubrication. If your estrogen levels are low, you will experience vaginal dryness, which can increase friction and make sex uncomfortable.
Your body changes significantly during pregnancy. Your breasts become more tender, and your posture changes. Your ligaments may also loosen. These changes can increase discomfort and cause pelvic pain after sex during pregnancy.
Baby’s Weight and Position
Your baby’s weight and position during pregnancy can also add to discomfort. For instance, your baby’s weight is growing during the fourth month. This increases the pressure on your major blood vessels and causes pain if you are having sex in the missionary position.
Also, if your baby is positioned low in your pelvis, there will be increased pressure in the region, causing pain.
How Does Physiotherapy Help Pelvic Pain After Sex During Pregnancy?
You should seek medical attention if your pelvic pain lasts hours after sex. You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience accompanying symptoms like fever or bleeding.
Your physiotherapist at Concept of Movement Physiotherapy can help with pelvic pain. After a diagnosis, you will get a customized treatment to alleviate your pain. This treatment may include exercises, manual therapy, or education to improve your condition.
Here are some of the ways physiotherapy can help you with pelvic pain after sex during pregnancy;
Physiotherapy in Barrie uses manual therapy to ease pelvic pain, especially during pregnancy. This treatment method involves the use of mobilization or manipulation. Your physiotherapist will use passive techniques to mobilize your joints. Manipulation, on the other hand, is an active technique.
If you undergo manual therapy, your physiotherapist can help relax your pelvic floor muscles and relieve tension. This reduces pain in your pelvic region and reduces the likelihood of painful sex.
Your physiotherapist can educate you on effective ways to move your body during pregnancy to minimize discomfort. You will also learn to maintain proper posture and the best exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
Your physiotherapist may also prescribe using sex toys or a lubricant to stimulate the vaginal area and minimize dryness.
Your physiotherapist can carry out a pelvic floor massage to reduce muscle discomfort. This treatment technique helps relieve pelvic region tension and promote relaxation. Consequently, you may be able to have sex without feeling excruciating pain.
Physiotherapy Exercises for Pelvic Pain After Sex During Pregnancy
Exercises and stretches are a core part of physiotherapy for pelvic pain during pregnancy. Your physiotherapist will recommend exercises that suit your pregnancy journey. These exercises are gentle, and they target the right muscles.
You will also learn to carry out the exercises safely without overstretching. Some exercises that may help with pelvic pain after sex during pregnancy include the following;
You can perform this exercise while lying on your back during your first trimester. However, you may need to sit or stand in your second and third trimesters. You can carry out this exercise by;
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and relaxed
- Tighten your belly and buttock muscles
- Gently shift your pelvis upward. You should feel the curve of your back flatten.
- Hold the position for 5 seconds and relax.
- Gradually increase the number of tilts you do per day as you feel comfortable.
This exercise stretches and relaxes your pelvic floor. You can do it before sex to induce relaxation and decrease pain. You can do this exercise by;
- Lie down on a flat surface
- Keep a pillow under your head and one under your knees
- Place your hands on your abdomen. Let one palm lie along your outer ribcage and the other in front of your belly (above your belly button)
- Inhale and allow your diaphragm to fill your abdomen with gentle breath. You should feel your breath travel from your ribcage, down into your abdomen, and then into your pelvis
- Exhale in opposition
How to Prevent Pelvic Pain After Sex During Pregnancy
You can prevent or minimize the severity of painful sex during pregnancy by following these tips;
Use Comfortable Positions
Your baby’s position and weight can make sex quite uncomfortable. You can try out new positions with your partner to ease this discomfort. For instance, side-by-side positions may be more comfortable as your belly grows.
Communicating openly with your partner can help them understand what feels good and what doesn’t during sex. Let your partner know if you feel any discomfort during sex so you can try something different.
Regular physical activity can improve your flexibility and strength. Talking to your doctor before you begin any physical activity during pregnancy is ideal.
If you experience pelvic pain after sex during pregnancy, you don’t have to endure it silently. Communicating discomforts and uncomfortable sexual positions with your partners can help minimize pain. You can also seek medical advice from your doctor on the best positions to prevent pain.
Always remember that you are not alone on this journey. Women’s Pelvic Health in Barrie, ON, is always ready to assist you on this journey. Our physiotherapist will assess your condition and recommend the best treatment to help you through pregnancy.