Ask A NurseCategory: PregnancyHigh risk pregnancy and sex
Melissa Rogers asked 4 years ago

I have had bleeding during my pregnancy. I am now 16 weeks and I am 37 years old. I don’t want to have sex because I feel it could harm the baby. Is this true?

1 Answers
Catherine Ruhl, CNM, MS Staff answered 4 years ago

This is an important question for a woman who has a high-risk pregnancy. We can provide general information about when a pregnant woman may be advised to not have sex. You can use this information to discuss your particular clinical situation with your provider and whether or not sex is recommended during your pregnancy. The following are pregnancy conditions when your provider may advise you not to have sex:
• You suspect you may be leaking amniotic fluid (concern is about increasing risk for infection if your water (amniotic fluid) has broken
• You currently have vaginal bleeding and the cause is not determined (could be a sign of a placental problem or preterm labor)
• Your placenta covers the cervix, either partially or completely (called placenta previa)
• Your cervix is shortening or opening prematurely (short cervix or cervical incompetence)
• You’ve had a cerclage placed to keep your cervix from opening
• You’re having premature contractions
For this discussion, “sex” includes breast and nipple stimulation, orgasm, and intercourse. Each of these activities can cause your uterus to contract. The worry is preterm birth of your baby.
Finally, if you or your partner are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection, you should not have sex until both of you have completed treatment.
Most importantly, you need to have the best information applicable to your pregnancy so you can make an informed decision about having sex during pregnancy. If your provider advises that you don’t have any medical reason not to have sex and there is not a reason to worry about harming your baby but you still don’t feel comfortable having sex, then you shouldn’t. Choices you make based on your provider’s recommendations and your own values and preferences are the best choices.