Is It Normal To Bleed After Sex During Pregnancy?

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Is It Normal To Bleed After Sex While Pregnant?

Any bleeding, light or heavy, after 20 weeks of pregnancy is not normal (1). You should see a doctor immediately. But do not panic as not all bleeding is dangerous. You must keep away from sex to prevent further complications and seek your doctor’s advice on when you can resume having sex (2).

What Causes Bleeding After Sex During Pregnancy?

A tender and sensitive cervix causes bleeding after sex while pregnant. The cervix could be sensitive –because of:

  1. Increased blood supply: The rate of blood supply to the vagina and cervix increases considerably soon after you conceive. During sex, there would be added pressure over the cervical area causing minor bleeding or spotting (3).
  1. Increased capillaries: Several blood capillaries (small blood vessels) form during pregnancy to meet the high oxygen demands of the mother and fetus. Many of these capillaries develop in the vagina and cervix. They are so delicate that they rupture easily during intercourse (4).
  1. Cervical polyps: Polyps are harmless growths on the cervix and happen due to the high estrogen levels. Containing small blood vessels, the polyps are fragile, and any pressure on the area during intercourse could cause bleeding (5).

Does Bleeding After Sex Mean Miscarriage?

Sex-triggered miscarriage are rare because the fetus is secured in the amniotic sac filled with fluid. This cushions the baby and acts as a shock absorber from any physical harm. Moreover, the baby is placed away from the intercourse region.

However, if you have had a miscarriage earlier or weakened cervical walls, the doctor will recommend you to abstain from sex as a safety measure (6).

Tips For Being Physically Intimate During Pregnant

You could minimize the risks of bleeding and complications by following some simple rules.

1. Try comfortable and safe sex positions

Some sexual positions can increase the risk of vaginal spotting or bleeding as they exert pressure on the cervical area. You could try safe positions such as spooning and rear entry (7).

2. Consider oral sex

It is one of the safest practices to get sexual satisfaction without an intercourse during pregnancy. Though not harmful to the baby, refrain from blowing air into the vagina as it can cause air embolism (blockage of blood supply due to air bubbles in the blood vessels (8).

3. Have cozy moments

Be as gentle as possible with progressing pregnancy. You can enjoy the intimacy through cuddling, kissing, hugging, holding hands, and sharing a shower as they are more comfortable. Discuss with your partner about what you like (9).

4. Use lubricants

Use water-based lubricants as they help reduce the friction and discomfort during intercourse (7). They will also reduce bleeding and the chances of irritation in the cervical region. Avoid those containing glycerin as it is likely to cause thrush.

5. Use condom

Make sure you use barrier contraceptives such as condoms in intercourse. They will protect both you and your baby from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (8).

When Should You Avoid Sex During Pregnancy?

Sex becomes a no-no under certain conditions, including:

  1. Placenta previa: In this condition, the placenta lies low in the uterus and covers the cervix fully or partially. Therefore, the chances of miscarriage are high if you involve in sexual intercourse (9).
  2. Cervical incompetence: It is a condition where the cervix starts to open prematurely, and increases the risk of miscarriage and premature loss. You should avoid sex to lessen the chances of an untoward incident (10).
  3. Multiple pregnancies: There are high chances of risks if you indulge in sex when pregnant with more than one baby (11).

When To See A Doctor?

Any bleeding concerns should be brought to your doctor’s notice. Evaluate the nature, appearance, and quantity of bleeding after intercourse. Wear a sanitary pad to see the type of bleeding so that you can give the right details to the doctor.

Here are some symptoms that you should not ignore if they accompany bleeding or spotting after sex during pregnancy:

  • Heavy and consistent vaginal bleeding
  • Vaginal discharge that may show tissues and clots
  • High fever with or without chills
  • Uterine contractions that begin and continue even after sexual intercourse

Even if you have mild bleeding without any pain or cramping, you should talk to your doctor to avoid any complications.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you bleed after sex during early pregnancy?

Yes, it is normal to bleed after sex in your early pregnancy as orgasming can cause uterine contractions that can rupture tiny blood vessels.

You may experience light bleeding after sex during the first trimester. But as you progress to the second and third trimesters, the increasing hormonal activity may reduce the bleeding (12).

2. During pregnancy, is it normal to bleed after sex and have no pain?

Yes, it is normal to bleed after sex without any pain. If it is a mild bleeding, you might feel no pain, unlike blood clots that may be painful. Nevertheless, it is always advisable to check with your doctor and get a checkup done to ensure there is no other reason.

3. Is heavy bleeding after sex during pregnancy normal?

Heavy bleeding is not normal. If you are having heavy bleeding, you need to report it to the doctor immediately (13).

4. What does light pink spotting after intercourse mean?

Pink spotting or discharge after sex during pregnancy is blood mixed with vaginal fluid. But sometimes, it can be due to anemia or disturbed integrity of blood vessels. Therefore, it is advisable to consult your doctor.

5. How long does the bleeding last after sex during pregnancy?

In most cases, mild bleeding that is lightly stained, may continue for a few hours but gradually reduces and stops. If it is heavy or persists, then you should report to a doctor.

Pressure during intercourse could lead to rupture of cervical blood vessels, resulting in bleeding after sex during pregnancy. However, you may choose safe sex positions to avoid any damage to blood vessels and reduce the risk of complications. Also, you may note that any bleeding during pregnancy may be a sign of several other conditions. Therefore, it is essential to consult a doctor to clear your apprehensions about bleeding during pregnancy. Nevertheless, taking necessary precautions could help you enjoy private moments with your partner before the baby arrives.

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Dr. Sangeeta Agrawal

Dr. Sangeeta Agrawal worked in Royal London, St. Bartholomew’s, North Middlesex and Barnet General hospitals in London. Currently, she runs her own clinic in Mumbai. She is also attached to Bhatia Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital, Wockhardt Hospital, and Global Hospital. Her areas of expertise include obstetrics and gynecology, involving teenage care, antenatal, intrapartum, post-natal care, painless labor, fertility control, menopause... more

Rebecca Malachi

Rebecca is a pregnancy writer and editor with a passion for delivering research-based and engaging content in areas of fertility, pregnancy, birth, and post-pregnancy. She has been into health and wellness writing since 2010. She received her graduate degree in Biotechnology and Genetics from Loyola Academy, Osmania University and obtained a certification in ‘Nutrition and Lifestyle in Pregnancy’ from Ludwig... more