But what if vaginal pain happens during the first and second trimesters? Is it normal? Should it be a cause for concern?
What is Vaginal Pain or Pressure During Pregnancy?
Most women describe vaginal pain as a kind of “pressure” they feel in their vaginal area. Sometimes, they also characterize it as a “feeling of heaviness”, as if something is weighing down their genital region.
However, the exact description of the pain varies: in some cases, it’s a dull ache, but for others, it’s more like an intense pressure.
The bottom line: Vaginal pain is, in most cases, normal, and you might be surprised to know that it doesn’t only happen during the third trimester.
The Causes of Vaginal Pressure During Pregnancy
Vaginal pain during the third trimester normally happens because of the pressure of the growing baby in the uterus. But as we’ve mentioned earlier, it may also happen in the early stages of pregnancy.
Below are the most common reasons why vaginal pain or pressure occurs.
The Effects of Relaxin
From the name itself, the hormone relaxin, which is produced by the placenta and ovaries, helps relax the muscles in preparation for childbirth.
But as much as it relaxes your muscles, this hormone may cause vaginal pain not just during the third trimester, but also in the first and second.
According to studies, relaxin works on stretching the ligaments and joints in your pelvis. As the ligaments stretch, they also weaken; and this weakening often leads to vaginal or pelvic pressure.
The Added Weight of the Baby
We cannot discuss the causes of vaginal pain during the second and third trimester without mentioning the added weight of the fetus.
As your baby grows, your body, particularly the joints and ligaments in your vaginal area, will have to stretch to accommodate the extra weight. This stretching can bring pain to your genital region or lower belly. Sometimes the pain can even be described as “sharp or jabbing” (round ligament pain).
Another common cause of vaginal pain during the third trimester is the dilation of the cervix. Please note that it’s normal for the cervix to dilate or “widen” during the late stages of pregnancy in preparation for labor and delivery.