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Spotting After Sex: Should You Be Worried About Light Spotting After Sex?

Written by Elizabeth Buescher, Gynecologist

While you are pregnant it is understandable that you are careful about what you do, what you eat, what you drink, and even what surrounds you. There are things that you used to enjoy, like drinking alcohol and smoking, that you had to forgo while you are pregnant.

Spotting After Sex: Should You Be Worried About Light Spotting After Sex?

Spotting After Sex: Should You Be Worried About Light Spotting After Sex?

However, for the sake of your marital union, sex should not be entirely neglected while you are pregnant. It is good for your husband to know that he is still loved and his needs are not ignored. And it is good for you to feel wanted and still feel like a woman. It is good for the baby as well to have happy parents.

Of course you are worried if the exertion would harm the baby. Sex is actually allowed anytime during pregnancy but for those experiencing the following, sex would be risky and it would be the best to refrain until the term is over.

1. You have experienced unexplained vaginal bleeding (this is different from spotting after sex).
2. You are discharging some amniotic fluid. This is a clear, watery fluid that surrounds and protects the baby in the womb.
3. Your cervix is opening prematurely (cervical incompetence).
4. You are carrying more than one child (twins or more).
5. You have a history of miscarriage.


Although spotting or bleeding is a warning of miscarriage, you shouldn’t immediately panic when this happens after sex.


What Does Spotting After Sex Mean?

It could either mean just abrasion wounds from the friction caused by sex. Or it could signal an impending miscarriage.

Could I Be Pregnant?

Some spotting after sex can also be due to implantation. This is when the fertilized egg or embryo is implanted onto your uterine wall. This has led to spotting after sex to be one of the signs of conception, but it does not guarantee that you have become pregnant. The best way to really know is only through a pregnancy test.

What Causes Spotting After Sex?

There are many possible reasons that spotting occurs after sex. During pregnancy there is increased blood supply in that area for the baby. The cervix also becomes softer. Consequently it is easy for the friction during sex to rupture the tiny blood vessels around the vagina and cervix, similar to scraping your knee. You may bleed a little from the abrasion and have spotting up to 2 days after sex as the wound heals. Then in stops, unless of course it is subjected to another rougher than normal round. In no manner will it affect the baby itself which is surrounded and protected by amniotic fluid far up in the uterus above the cervix.

Although it is not connected with sex, spotting can occur as you approach the due date when the mucus plug from the cervix is expelled. Unlike spotting during the early stages of pregnancy, miscarriage is unlikely to happen, and this only signals that the baby will be coming out soon. Having sex during this time may lead you to make the wrong assumption that the act has caused the bleeding.

If you are not pregnant, spotting after sex can occur right before your period. Having sex can actually make your period arrive earlier.

What Causes Spotting After Sex?

What Causes Spotting After Sex?

Again, although it is not directly connected with sex, spotting can also occur during ovulation. The start of menstruation is signalled by the decrease of estrogen. During ovulation there is also a decrease in estrogen. It is possible for the uterus to confuse the estrogen decrease during ovulation as the estrogen decrease during menstruation and start shedding its lining, leading to a slight bleeding. A woman’s libido increases during ovulation. Having sex during ovulation may lead to mistake the spotting as having been caused by sex.

Whether you are pregnant or not pregnant, spotting can occur after unprotected sex. Without the shield of the latex condom or lubrication, it is easy for the rough action of the penis to damage the vagina lining with friction and cause tiny abrasional wounds.

Is Spotting After Sex Normal?

It is normal depending on the softness of your cervix and how much exertion was experienced during sex. A lot of women experience spotting for 2 days then it stops. However, should the bleeding continue after 2 days and becomes heavier, and accompanied by cramping in the lower abdomen, it is a warning of miscarriage if you are pregnant.

Pink spotting or brown spotting (some people have observed a peach like color) is a good sign that the blood is only due to abrasion during sex. Bright red spotting on the other hand, and continued spotting for a week, may signal that the source of blood loss is more serious, such as from the womb being expelled during a miscarriage.

It is recommended to wear pads or panty liners while you are experiencing spotting. This is to keep track on the amount of spotting, if it is pink or brown, or if it has red spots, and if you are discharging only blood or if there are blood clots as well, and if there is any tissue discharged. If the pad is soaked with blood then there is definitely a problem. Taking these to the doctor when you go to be examined will be helpful in carrying out tests and making a diagnosis.

Can Sex During Pregnancy Cause Miscarriage?

Even though sex causes the uterus to experience contractions during orgasm it does not affect the baby at all, which is encased in its amniotic sac.

Are There any Other Causes of Spotting or Bleeding?

Infections such as bacterial vaginosis can cause inflammation and irritation of the cervical walls which leads to it to be easily abraded during sex.

Polyps can grow along the cervical walls. They are red or purple in color. They may get damaged during sex and also cause spotting.

Causes of Vaginal Bleeding During Pregnancy

There are many possible sources of bleeding during pregnancy, which may be confused with as having been caused by sex. During the first trimester, bleeding may occur due to ectopic pregnancy, or when the fetus implants itself outside the protection of the uterus. A molar pregnancy can also occur in the first trimester. In a molar pregnancy the placenta becomes a mass of cysts, and the embryo can either be non-existent or malformed. Both may lead to the embryo and uterus being expelled and therefore causing the spotting or bleeding.

In the second and third trimester, placenta previa is the most common cause of bleeding. It is when the placenta lies low enough to block the cervix, when it is normally placed at the top portion of the uterus. Similarly, there is placental abruption, when the placenta is losing its connection to the uterine wall. The placenta is responsible for providing oxygen and nutrients and removing waste for your baby. So at this stage, even if you are no longer in danger of miscarrying, you may lose your baby because of the danger to the placenta. You can think of spotting or bleeding as an early warning signal before it is too late to do anything.

Is There any Way to Avoid Spotting After Sex?

The use of protection or lubrication helps to reduce friction, and consequently reduce the chances of the vaginal and cervical wall to be abraded during sex. There are other sexual positions, such as lying side by side, or entering from the rear, that can reduce the chances of friction. Some women prefer not to engage in vaginal intercourse at all during pregnancy. There are other ways to be intimate with your partner in such a way that can be mutually satisfying for both of you.

Should I Immediately Go to the Doctor?

Even though the spotting may turn out to be a false alarm, it is always best to play safe and consult a doctor.

Make regular appointments during your pregnancy instead of waiting only when you can no longer ignore the problem. By then it may be too late. Avoid self-medication. What you think might help your condition may only worsen it through the wrong assumption.

If you find out that you are indeed about to have a miscarriage, it is not the end of the world. Around 40 percent of women in the world have suffered a miscarriage at least once in their lives, sometimes they did not even know that they had a miscarriage. Experiencing one miscarriage does not mean you are prone to miscarrying. The next pregnancy is likely to be normal. Only women who have 3 consecutive miscarriages are likely to miscarry again.

Even if you do miscarry, do not feel guilty that it was having sex that was the cause. Most of the time it just happens due to things we have no control over, such as genetics. Do not let the act of love that has given you a baby cause you guilt over its loss.