Vaginal Pain During Pregnancy

Submitted by Pregnancy and Baby Care team on April 25, 2012

As you approach your third trimester, it is generally a time of great anticipation and excitement. D-day is around the corner and you can finally begin to enjoy the moment of having your new baby. In addition to this, many women complain that they are tired of being pregnant and can’t wait for all the health issues and problems associated with a pregnancy to finally end. Among these complaints such as back pain, acute acidity, swollen feet, sore breasts, there are various other aches and pains that can keep you up at night as well. One such issue is the problem of vaginal pain during pregnancy.

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What really causes Vaginal pain during Pregnancy:

Vaginal pain is a common occurrence especially in the third trimester. Some of the causes for vaginal pain include:

  • Enlargement of the Uterus: Vaginal pain during pregnancy may be a result of the enlargement of the uterus due to the growing fetus. This could add extra pressure on the vagina and the surrounding muscles and lead to unusual aches and pains.
  • Hormonal changes: Changes in the hormonal structure during pregnancy can cause vaginal dryness. This in turn may cause discomfort during sexual intercourse and lead to vaginal pain.
  • Stretched Ligaments: As your pregnancy progresses, the ligaments supporting the pelvic area and the vagina get stretched and sometimes overstretched. When this happens you may experience a sharp and shooting pain in the vagina.
  • Vaginal Infection: If you suffer from pain in the vagina or in the external genitals (such as the vulva and the entrance to the vagina), it may be due to a vaginal infection. Consult with your doctor at the earliest to conduct the necessary tests and confirm the diagnosis. Infections of any type during your pregnancy need to be treated immediately. The most common type of vaginitis or vaginal infection is a yeast infection known as Candida. During your pregnancy, you are especially prone to such infections as your immunity is lowered. Regular treatment of infections using antibiotics and cortisone medications are rarely prescribed during a pregnancy. This makes recovery a much longer process.
  • Cervix Dilation: If pain in the vagina is a sharp and stabbing and it occurs in the latter period of the third trimester, it may be linked to the cervix as it begins to dilate. This can take place as early as a few weeks before the actual labor begins. It is not normally a cause for concern but you should discuss the pain with your doctor nonetheless. If the discomfort caused is too much or the pain occurs in the lower abdomen with or without any vaginal bleeding, speak to your health care practitioner immediately.
  • If vaginal pain does not reduce over a period of time or worsens in intensity and is accompanied by bleeding, pain in the abdomen, shoulders and neck, these may be signs of an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is often very difficult to diagnose as the symptoms mirror that of early pregnancy such as nausea, sore breasts and missed periods. However, if you notice spotting and suffer from low blood pressure, back pain and dizziness get to an emergency room immediately.

How to treat vaginal pain during Pregnancy?

Most doctors will recommend that you do nothing to treat vaginal pain during pregnancy, as it is rarely a cause for concern. Try having a warm bath as this may help relax the muscles and lessen any discomfort. If the pain in the vagina is caused by an infection, medication may be recommended. However, nothing should be taken without first having informed your doctor. Pregnancy girdle or support underwear may help relieve the pressure on your abdomen and help reduce vaginal pain as well. Remember; always maintain good posture during your pregnancy. Never bend from the waist and risk pulling a muscle or jump up from sleeping position as this could be harmful to you and the baby.

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