Finding out that your pregnancy is considered high-risk can prompt a lot of questions. Chances are, your doctor will meet with you and discuss how this diagnosis will effect your pregnancy. That's why it's important to cover all topics in this confab and find out all the things your doctor wants you to know about sex during high-risk pregnancy, because getting busy when you should be resting can have consequences. Having your doctor shut down your sex life may not sound fun, but it's ultimately to protect you and your baby throughout the course of your pregnancy.
To find out what doctors really want you to know, I talked with Dr. Noel Strong of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Mount Sanai. Right away, Dr. Strong made it clear that typically, sex is considered safe during pregnancy. "Approximately 20 to 25 percent of all pregnancies will be deemed high risk for some reason, and for the majority of those pregnancies sex will still be considered safe," Strong said.
Depending on the circumstances of your high-risk status, it's possible you could be eligible for a little bit of action. However, for many expectant moms, sex is a straight up no-no until after delivery.
Here's what you need to know about how a high-risk pregnancy could affect your sex life over the next nine months.
1. If You're On Bed Rest, It's A Off Limits
Sometimes a high-risk pregnancy can mean bed rest for an expectant mother, and if that's the case, then sex is off limits until after delivery. According to the University of Washington Maternity and Infant Care Center, no sexual stimulation of any sort should happen while on bed rest. It may be time to revisit the art of cuddling.
2. It Varies For Everyone
One thing you'll learn about pregnancy, it that each woman's can be very different. When it comes to sex during high-risk pregnancy, some women can have a limited amount of sex, while others will be strictly prohibited from sexual activity, as Dr. Chris Illiades reported for Everyday Health,
3. Keep Communicating
Keeping your partner in the know is important. According to Strong, couples are encouraged to talk about their feelings toward sex throughout the pregnancy. This goes for those with high-risk diagnosis as well as those without.
4. Past Complications Are A Factor
To avoid history repeating itself, your doctor may advise you against sex during pregnancy. According to the website for the March of Dimes, "if you have pregnancy complications now or if you’ve had them in the past, having sex during pregnancy may not be safe."
5. It Depends On Your Conditions
All high-risk pregnancies aren't created equal. As Dr. Prudence Hall told Self magazine, “Traditionally 35 and older is considered a high risk pregnancy,” although more and more doctors are getting away from using this term when it relates to age. But being 35 or older is a lot different that having a high-risk condition such as placenta previa, which would call for no sex while pregnant, according to the website for the American Pregnancy Association.
6. Somethings May Be OK
If you have a high-risk pregnancy, don't be afraid to ask your doctor the specifics about sex. As What To Expect's website pointed out, sometimes certain aspects of sex are permitted (like foreplay, but no penetration) or penetration only with a condom. Make sure to set the record straight with your doctor before proceeding with a romp.
7. Sometimes It's Just A No
Strong warns that some conditions just pose too much risk and lead doctors to recommend abstaining from sex. If you have placenta previa or low lying placenta, premature rupture of membranes or "broken water", scenarios in which there is vaginal bleeding, cervical insufficiency (short or dilated cervix), if your partner has a sexually transmittable disease (which now includes Zika exposure).