Talking about sex with your physician can be a little on the embarrassing side (even as you get older). Coupled with pregnancy, the physical act of sex can elicit a whole host of questions and your doctor is the right person to ask. Let's face it, the medical professional who is about to guide you through the next nine months is going to see and experience a lot more of you, so you might as well get the sex questions off your chest!
Obstetricians are accustomed to fielding the questions/concerns of their pregnant patients and some of them just might sound familiar to you. Jennifer Lesko, MD with Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA shared the three most common questions she gets from prospective parents and her answers.
Will having sex cause me to have a miscarriage?
Many couples worry about the health of their baby during sexual intercourse and some even fear that sex can actually cause a miscarriage, but this is not the case. According to the Mayo Clinic, miscarriages (particularly those that occur early on in pregnancy) are a result of chromosomal abnormalities or other problems with the growing fetus.
Will having sex hurt the baby?
There's no need for you or your partner to worry about "hurting" the baby during the act of intercourse. The baby is protected by amniotic fluid from the mother's uterus and the muscles of the uterus itself. It's also important to note that a woman's cervix is closed during pregnancy so you don't have to wonder about whether a certain 'appendage' might accidentally hit/touch the baby during sex -- it won't!
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Is sex safe during pregnancy?
"Sex is safe and okay to have during a normal pregnancy," explains Dr. Lesko. Paula Kolbas, MD, an Ob/Gyn with New England OBGYN Associates in Brookline, MA concurs. She clarifies that some of the fear may be the result of spotting or bleeding during/after sex. This is fairly normal during the early months of pregnancy, but Dr. Kolbas cautions that if the problem persists you should check with your physician.
"If you bleed or cramp during sex you should consult with your physician and/or abstain to make sure there are no underlying problems," she says.
With these questions answered experts point out that there are conditions (or a history of) where sex is not advised during pregnancy:
- Placenta previa
- Premature rupture of membranes
- Incompetent cervix
"If you have any pregnancy complications such as placenta previa (placenta near your cervix), preterm labor or a short cervix you should abstain from sex. It is very important to discuss this with your physician," Dr. Kolbas cautions.
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Tara Weng is formerly a medical/features producer at the NBC television affiliate in Boston, MA, and National Editor of Health/Parenting channel at GalTime.com.