Like most unplanned pregnancies, a woman was shocked to know that she was expecting, but it wasn’t because she forgot contraception— she was still a virgin!
Nicole Moore, 20, from Portsmouth, Hampshire, suffered from a condition known as vaginismus, which causes the vagina to tighten when something is inserted inside.
This means that even putting a tampon could leave her writhing in pain, so sex was out of the question.
Nicole, now 28, said she wasn’t aware her condition even had a name until much later in life, and doctors had told her she was just “extremely tight”.
So when Nicole discovered she was pregnant, imagine the shock of her life!
“I’d spent all my teenage life not being able to insert a tampon, so I knew something was not quite right,” Nicole said. “But doctors told me I was fine, so I just believed for a while that there was something wrong with me.”
“When I was 18 I got into a relationship with my daughter’s dad,” she said. “We began trying to have sexual intercourse, he was a few years older and more experienced.”
“We tried but it was impossible. I didn’t understand why it couldn’t happen,” Nicole added. “The only way I can describe it is like it felt like he was hitting a brick wall.”
“I went back to the doctors who then gave me an examination but again told me everything was fine, and I was just extremely tight.”
Because of this, Nicole and her partner found other ways to be intimate with each other, and while they never thought it could be possible, this was how the pregnancy happened.
The couple understands that the fluids passed between them during sexual activity meant semen entered Nicole’s vagina.
“One day at work I started getting terrible heartburn and sore breasts,” she explained. “My boss at the time, who was a close friend and knew about my situation, said she thought I could be pregnant.”
“I laughed and said there was no way, as I was still a virgin and never had penetrative sex,” Nicole said. “I did a pregnancy test on my lunch break that day at work and it was positive.”
“But she said it was possible if there had been any fluids near my vagina, despite not actually having intercourse. I couldn’t believe it, I was so shocked and confused!”
“All I kept thinking was how on earth am I going to deliver this baby if I couldn’t even have intercourse,” Nicole said. “I was worried my partner would think I’d cheated on him, as it seemed so impossible. But thankfully he knew me and my body, and he didn’t doubt me for a second.”
“So many people still tell me I’m the Virgin Mary which really makes me laugh. It was crazy!”
Nicole explained that it was difficult to get some medical professionals to believe her when she told them she had never had sex, but after seeking a second opinion it was confirmed that while unlikely, it was possible to get pregnant without having penetrative intercourse if the sexual activity introduced fluids to the vaginal area.
“I really struggled throughout my pregnancy with professionals believing my story,” she said. “My boyfriend at the time often had to come with me to appointments to explain that we really hadn’t had sex.”
“I remember going for a check-up at the hospital and not being able to have an internal examination because the nurse couldn’t insert her finger, I tried explaining to her that I still hadn’t had sex and she said to me ‘don’t be ridiculous of course you have,’” Nicole recalled.
“I thought I was never going to get anyone to believe me or get answers.”
When Nicole was 4 months pregnant, she was finally diagnosed with vaginismus and was able to get answers on her condition.
“I had a routine check-up at the doctors for a pregnancy-related illness and happened to be seen by a student doctor who had recently been studying vaginismus,” she said. “I told him about my struggles, and he told me that I likely had this condition.”
“I went home to google the symptoms and couldn’t believe what I was reading,” Nicole said. “I finally realized there wasn’t anything wrong with me and I actually had a medical condition.”
Vaginismus can be caused by a bad first sexual experience or believe sex is shameful, but sometimes there is no reason for it to occur.
After Nicole’s diagnosis, she was referred to a therapist who specialized in vaginismus and was able to teach her ways to help overcome it. With this help, she was able to finally lose her virginity and have penetrative sex while pregnant.
Vaginismus can be improved with a number of methods, including dilators (objects in various sizes that help the patient gradually get used to something being inserted) or even Botox.
While Nicole is frightened of giving birth, her little girl Tilly, now eight, came into the world without any issues. She is now sharing her story to help raise awareness of vaginismus, saying that seeing a therapist was the “light at the end of the tunnel”.
“It wasn’t easy. The process was frustrating, stressful, and upsetting, but I kept with it and was eventually able to have sex for the first time while pregnant.”