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Many pregnant women complain of vaginal pain during their pregnancy, and wonder if it is normal. In most cases it is normal for women to experience aches and even sharp pain in their vaginal area, normally beginning around their second trimester. While many women can expect the ache to continue throughout the rest of their pregnancy, it is rarely a sign that there are complications.
Common Causes of Vaginal Pains during Pregnancy
There are several different causes for women to feel pain in their vaginal areas during pregnancy, and the most common one is caused by the developing baby. It can begin during the second trimester, but most pregnant women who feel an intensely sharp pain in their vaginas are simply feeling the baby pressing down on their pelvic nerves. The closer a woman gets to her delivery date, the lower the fetus drops which in turn can cause the ligaments and the nerves in the pelvic region to become pinched and stretched. Most women only experience this sharp pain for a few seconds, but it can last for up to a couple of minutes. The best treatment is to simply lie down on the left side to let the baby readjust, but sitting can also help relieve the pain and pressure.
Another cause of vaginal pain can include increased blood flow to the uterus. During pregnancy the amount of blood in a woman's body can increase by 50 percent, with the majority of it flowing into the uterus. This increase in blood flow can cause the vagina and labia to become swollen, and even tender when touched. While the vagina might be sensitive to touch and pressure sometimes, it can also cause a woman's sex drive to increase. This can lead to an increase in the desire for intercourse, which is perfectly safe for the majority of pregnant women. Engaging in sexual activities can also help to relieve some of the vagina swelling that that women can experience during pregnancy.
Other Reasons for Vaginal Pain
With the growing popularity of smooth bikini areas, ingrown hairs are becoming more of a problem for many pregnant women. Certain hormone levels increase in a woman's body when she is pregnant, which can cause her pubic hair to grow back thicker and coarser. Not only is it extremely irritating when the hairs are growing back, they can also become painfully ingrown. One of the hormones that a woman's body is producing more of is progesterone, which causes more sweat and dead skin cells that can clog her pores. Continuing to shave this sensitive area, or waxing can cause additional vaginal pain due to the increase in blood flow.
While yeast infections are not common in all pregnant women, many do experience some type of vaginal irritation. The disruption in the body's natural hormonal levels can result in a yeast infection. This can be easily treated and usually does not put the baby at risk. Yeast infections and painful vaginal irritations are usually caused by wearing tight fitting clothes that keep all of the moisture in. This results in a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Simply by wearing looser, cotton underwear, most instances of vaginal irritation can be prevented.
Vaginal acne is not common, but it does appear in some pregnant women and can cause vaginal discomfort. The change in female hormone levels combined with the damp area around a woman's vagina can cause acne to develop. In most cases it can be easily treated by washing with a gentle soap, and even applying witch hazel. Once the hormonal levels return to normal, the acne usually clears itself up.
Most cramps associated with pregnancy occur around a woman's abdomen and pelvic area, but they can also be felt in the vaginal area. They are more common after sexual intercourse, especially if she has experienced an orgasm. These cramps are not a sign of premature labor, and will generally begin to slow down after a few minutes.
It is normal for women to have vaginal pain while they are pregnant, and in most cases it is not a sign of a more serious medical condition. These aches and pains can be caused by a number of different factors, and will generally go away on their own. If the pains persists, or worsens, a health care professional should be consulted to make sure her vaginal pain is not a sign of a more serious problem that could affect her and the baby.