Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions

anonymous on September 9, 2011

Since getting pregnant, I have vaginal swelling after sex...should I be worried?

I'm 3 months pregnant. Ever since I got pregnant, I get swollen "down there" after sex. What could be the problem?

answered by
Annette Fuglsang Owens, MD, PhD on September 9, 2011

Thanks for sharing your question with us. I’ll do my best to help.


First, remember that being pregnant causes a lot of changes to occur in your body...for one, your body has different levels of certain hormones that can change the way your body responds to vaginal intercourse. So, it’s possible that vaginal swelling after sex is a normal response for your body while pregnant...in fact, swelling (or “engorgement”) is a normal part of arousal (whether or not you’re pregnant), and some women experience earlier arousal during pregnancy.


Or, something else may be causing your swelling...


For example, yeast infections can cause the skin around your vagina to become red, itchy and possibly swollen. Normally, all women have some yeast living in their vagina. However, changes in hormones (e.g., due to pregnancy) can cause the yeast to overgrow which causes infection.


Or, you might be having an allergic reaction to something you’re using during sex, like a lubricant. Even if you’re using the same lubricant you’ve always used, sometimes women’s bodies can become allergic during pregnancy, or for no reason at all.


That said, I would encourage you to see your obstetrician/gynecologist for a full examination and definite diagnosis of your swelling.


If you do have a yeast infection, it’s a good idea to get treated...why? Because, in some instances, yeast infections can be passed to a baby’s mouth during birth. Treatment for yeast infections in pregnant women is the same for non-pregnant women with one exception: you shouldn’t take treatment orally. Also, the infection could take a little longer to clear up.


If you haven’t already found a obstetrician/gynecologist that you feel comfortable with, I hope you’ll do so soon. Getting regular check-ups for you and your unborn baby will help you both stay healthy. At your first prenatal appointment, your doctor will talk to you about taking care of yourself and the baby as it grows.


Thanks again for writing, and I wish you a healthy pregnancy and delivery.


Related info:

Annette Fuglsang Owens, MD, PhD

Dr. Owens is an AASECT-certified sexuality counselor. Her areas of expertise include the medical aspects of human sexuality and sexual problems, as well as the impact of STDs ⎼ and other diseases, illnesses and disabilities ⎼ on sexuality. Dr. Owens was educated at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

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