Pregnancy & postcoital bleeding

Written by james bolger
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Sex can be a normal part of pregnancy, and so can a small amount of bleeding. But when bleeding follows sex (postcoital bleeding), pregnant women may naturally be concerned. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), blood after sex does not always indicate a serious problem. Still, you should discuss any bleeding during pregnancy with your health care provider.

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Causes

According to ACOG, bleeding from the cervix is not unusual during pregnancy. Blood flow to the cervix and vagina are increased during pregnancy to support the foetus. Sexual activity can break some small blood vessels, leading to bleeding or spotting. According to ACOG, there is no reason to fear that bleeding after sex can cause a miscarriage.

Severity

A little bleeding or cramping can occur after sex. In most cases, taking a brief rest will resolve the problem. Keep your health care provider informed about any bleeding you experience. According to the University of Michigan Health System, you should seek immediate medical help if the pain and bleeding doesn't stop or gets worse, if the bleeding is heavy (similar to a period) or if it appears that your water has broken.

Risks

In most cases, postcoital bleeding does not indicate a risk to the pregnancy or to the mother. The foetus is protected by the amniotic fluid in the uterus and a mucous plug that blocks the cervix. In some cases, depending on the amount of bleeding, its cause, and other symptoms, your doctor may ask you to avoid intercourse until after the pregnancy.

Misconceptions

Many people hesitate to have sex during pregnancy. According to the Mayo Clinic, most sex acts are safe as long as the pregnant woman is interested and feels up to the activity. Women with a history of difficult pregnancies or premature labour may be advised not to have sex. If you have any pre-existing ideas about the safety of sex during pregnancy, discuss them with your health care provider. You may like what you hear about the varieties of intimate expression available to you during pregnancy.

Alternatives

If bleeding after sex causes discomfort to you or your partner, try varying positions or other sex acts. You can maintain intimacy and have fun without traditional intercourse. Massage, cuddling and/or showering together can provide intimacy without the risk of postcoital bleeding. According to the Mayo Clinic, oral sex is another alternative, as long as your partner avoids blowing air into your vagina. Anal sex is generally not recommended during pregnancy due to the risk of infection.

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