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Pregnancy often means more doctor’s appointments, more requests for friendly advice and maybe even a pile of self-help books. But, even with all this information, there still may be some questions you feel embarrassed to ask. One of those tricky topics is sex during pregnancy.
Is It Safe?
Sex is safe in most healthy pregnancies. During pregnancy, your baby is protected by the amniotic sac within the uterus. This sac is filled with amniotic fluid which acts as a protective cushion and assists the flow of vital nutrients.
“Sex is safe during most pregnancies,” says Neely Elisha, D.O., a board-certified obstetrician who delivers babies at Inspira Medical Center Vineland. “And, sex can actually be beneficial to a healthy pregnancy, as it can lower blood pressure, decrease stress and provide an emotional lift.”
However, if your partner has a new or temporarily active sexually transmitted infection, the condition can be passed to you or your baby without the proper protection, Elisha explains. “Some sexually transmitted infections, such as herpes and HIV/AIDS, can cause potentially fatal issues in newborns.”
When You Should Skip It
There are a few factors that could make sex during pregnancy dangerous for both mother and baby. Though many are tied to an existing medical condition, it’s important to review any new risk factors with your doctor or midwife to confirm your status before having sex. Potentially dangerous issues include:
- History of premature birth, miscarriage or premature labor. Though evidence has repeatedly shown that sex during a healthy pregnancy doesn’t increase your risk for a miscarriage, it could have an impact on those with a history of high-risk or failed pregnancies. Your doctor or midwife will provide a recommendation based on your personal medical history.
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding, loss of amniotic fluid or other discharge. If you notice this before or after intercourse, it could be a sign of a serious complication. See a doctor immediately.
- Placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta covers the opening of the cervix. Because the placenta is lower than it should be, it could potentially be injured and lead to dangerous bleeding.
- An incompetent cervix or cervical insufficiency, which occurs when the cervix is weak and begins to open prematurely. This could put the amniotic sac at risk.
Questions about sex during pregnancy are common. You should discuss all your questions with your midwife or obstetrician and your maternal fetal medicine specialist if you are seeing one. To make an appointment with an Inspira Women’s Health service provider, call 1-800-INSPIRA.