Is Painful Sex a Sign of Early Pregnancy?

Woman in Gray Tank Top While Sitting on Bed

If pain during sex has you thinking about swearing off the bedroom until after the baby is born, rest assured that enjoying sex is possible while pregnant. It just takes some experimenting with positions and open communication.

Most pregnancy symptoms start at least two weeks after you have missed your period. But is painful sex a sign of early pregnancy?

Hormonal changes

Hormones are chemical messengers that impact a wide range of functions throughout the body. A woman’s hormone levels go through significant changes in the first trimester, particularly around her uterus and breasts. The spotting and light bleeding that some women experience during this time is actually a sign of early pregnancy and is called implantation bleeding because it occurs when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterus lining.

Another possible symptom of early pregnancy is a change in the pH level in a woman’s vaginal fluid, which can indicate an infection like yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. A doctor will likely test a sample of the vaginal fluid or urine for signs of infection, as well as perform a pelvic exam and Pap smear.

Other symptoms that can indicate a woman is pregnant include swollen feet and hands, weight gain and increased blood pressure. Many women are also more tired than usual and may need to nap more during the day. Some women experience pain when they urinate, but this is not a reliable sign of pregnancy and is often the result of an infection or medication.

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Some women can also experience painful intercourse (also known as dyspareunia) due to a lack of foreplay or lubrication. Other causes of pain during sex can include an STI like chlamydia, gonorrhea or herpes; sexually transmitted infections can also cause pelvic pain, especially if the infection is not treated promptly.


Anxiety can cause you to feel overwhelmed, and it can be a problem during pregnancy. If it is severe enough to affect your daily life, you should seek treatment. Your doctor will be able to help you find the right treatments for you and your baby. If you don’t receive treatment, the anxiety can lead to a variety of health problems for both you and your baby.

A physical exam can help your doctor diagnose the cause of your painful sex. They will check your pelvis, abdomen and vagina. They may also order a pelvic ultrasound and blood work to look for signs of infection.

Other reasons for pain during sex include sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes. These can have long term effects on your fertility and should be treated early with medication. Another possibility is endometriosis, which is when tissue from the uterus grows in other places, like the ovaries, fallopian tubes, peritoneum or the vagina.

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Other causes of painful sex are insufficient lubrication or sexual techniques. You can try increasing foreplay, using a different type of lubricant or practicing slower penetration to reduce the pain. In some cases, emotional issues can contribute to pain during sex. If the pain is affecting your relationship, counseling or sex therapy can help.

Weight gain

If you’re pregnant, your body will need more fuel to support the baby. As a result, you may experience weight gain, particularly around the hips and belly. In some cases, this is the first sign of pregnancy. Other early signs of pregnancy include a missed period and increased fatigue.

One of the most common symptoms is pain during sex, which can be felt before, during or after sex. The pain can be caused by a number of reasons, including not enough vaginal lubrication, stress or foreplay, or it can be an indicator of a gynecological condition like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

Other pregnancy signs might include a metallic taste in your mouth, a craving for sweets and a change in your libido. If you’re noticing any of these, it’s important to visit a Banner Health OBGYN.

Some women also experience swollen and tender breasts during pregnancy. They can become red and itchy, and they might feel tighter than usual. They can also feel a bit like the way they do before they get their period, especially if they’re using a looser bra.

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Changes in position

Women often experience fatigue and nausea in the first trimester, which can impact sexual desire. This can also lead to discomfort or pain during sex. If these symptoms occur frequently or are severe, they may be a sign of an underlying issue. It is important to communicate with your partner about the situation and consult your healthcare provider. They can help you identify the underlying cause and provide guidance or treatment options to reduce discomfort.

During the second trimester, your baby can start to grow in size and may put pressure on certain areas of the pelvis or vulva. This can make sex feel uncomfortable and may even cause you to cry during orgasm. Some women experience mild cramping during orgasm due to hormones in a partner’s semen.

In the third trimester, your uterus will continue to stretch and the baby may begin to get heavier. This can also lead to pain during sex as your body tries to accommodate the growing space for your baby. If you are experiencing pain in the genital area, it is a good idea to try using pillows or lubrication to minimize the discomfort. You should also talk to your doctor if you are experiencing this discomfort to ensure that the baby is safe. A doctor can perform an ultrasound to see if the fetus is positioned well and will monitor your pregnancy closely.