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Cramping After Sex During Pregnancy: Is It Normal?

Is It Normal To Have Cramps After Sex During Pregnancy?

It's normal to experience cramping after sex in a low-risk pregnancy. Orgasm, oxytocin released due to the stimulation of the nipples and genitals, and the prostaglandins in your partner's semen can all cause minor uterine contractions. These soon subside without hurting the baby. But if you have a complicated pregnancy or are at risk of preterm labor and miscarriage, ask your doctor.

Pregnancy is a trying time. Every little discomfort or pain in the body that you would have ignored earlier now becomes a scary possibility. And when it comes to sex during pregnancy, your mind becomes ever so anxious. So is cramping after sex during pregnancy a normal thing? Yes, it is quite common and quite normal. Cramping might not be harmful for the pregnancy or the baby itself but can be a painful experience.

Cramping After Sex During Pregnancy Is Mostly Normal

If you have a low-risk pregnancy, contractions should not deter you from enjoying sex during pregnancy. If you have a history of miscarriage or preterm labor, you must ask your doctor whether sex is advisable. In such cases, contractions caused by intercourse are more worrying.

It is actually very common for an orgasm to cause some minor contractions of the uterus. When your nipples are rubbed or the genitals are stimulated, the hormone oxytocin is released. Oxytocin can cause the uterus to contract. Moreover, your partner’s semen contains chemicals called prostaglandins, which induce uterine contractions. Penetration can also stimulate the cervix, and this too releases prostaglandins. Since contractions can be caused by orgasm, masturbation can also give you minor cramps.

  • Second and third trimesters: After sex, you may experience irregular uterine contractions called Braxton Hicks contractions or false labor. Most often, these are normal and temporary. They do not hurt the baby.1 But if you get contractions every 10–12 minutes for an hour, it may lead to premature labor. Contact your doctor immediately.

Check For Symptoms Of Preterm Labor

For most cases, cramping is a normal part of pregnancy. However, pain after sex can be a concern when the pain is accompanied by the following conditions which indicate preterm or premature labor, that is labor before 37 weeks of pregnancy:2

  • More than 5 labor-like contractions per hour
  • Watery fluid leaking from your vagina – this is your water breaking
  • Change in vaginal discharge
  • Sharp pain in your lower abdomen which may be accompanied by contractions
  • Consistent dull backache
  • Pressure in the pelvic area
  • Cramps in the abdomen without diarrhea

Check For Symptoms Of Miscarriage

If you lose the baby within 20 weeks of pregnancy, it is known as miscarriage. The most common symptom of miscarriage is vaginal bleeding.3 So if you experience any of the following after sex when you are pregnant, do consult your OB-GYN.

  • Vaginal cramping, bleeding, passing clots or grayish discharge, accompanied by diarrhea and dizziness
  • Dizziness with bleeding, along with severe pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Less than normal movement of the baby
  • Light spotting that lasts longer than 3 days
  • Pain that does not go away with rest
  • Cramping, along with pain in the shoulder and/or neck

5 Ways To Relieve Cramping

  1. Cramping and backache can often be alleviated by resting with your feet up and drinking extra fluids. Dehydration can also trigger contractions.
  2. Try to sit, lie down, or change positions.
  3. Soak in a warm bath.
  4. Try doing relaxation exercises.
  5. Place a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel on the area of the ache.

References   [ + ]

1. Sex in Pregnancy. NHS.
2. Premature Labor. American Pregnancy Association.
3. Miscarriage – Symptoms. NHS.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.