You and your partner probably logged a lot of time in bed in order to get pregnant, but now that you're actually growing a human inside your body, sex can be a fraught issue. In the first trimester, you may feel too tired and nauseous for lovemaking. As your bump grows, orgasms can cause uterine contractions that are uncomfortable or make you fret over premature labor, and if you experience complications, you may not be sure if sex is even safe. Like, can you have sex during pregnancy if you have a hematoma? It sounds pretty terrifying.
In layman's terms, a hematoma is a bruise, Dr. G. Thomas Ruiz, OB-GYN at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, tells Romper over email. Hematomas can occur anywhere in the body and consist of "a mass of usually clotted blood that forms in a tissue, organ, or body space as a result of a broken blood vessel," according to Merriam Webster. Hematomas in pregnancy "vary significantly in shape and size, [but] most follow the arch of the uterus and form a crescent-shaped fluid collection between the uterine wall and the membranes," noted a 2003 article published in Obstetrics and Gynecology and, according to Medscape, the most common type of hematoma in pregnancy is a subchorionic hematoma, which "collects between the uterine wall and the chorionic membrane and may leak through the cervical canal." Because of this, hematomas are linked to vaginal bleeding in pregnancy and can be diagnosed through ultrasound.
When it comes to sex and hematomas, the experts Romper spoke with agree that couples should take a break from sex (or at least the kind that involves penetration) until the hematoma is healed. Dr. Mary O'Toole, OB-GYN at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, tells Romper that she advises pregnant women with a hematoma to avoid sex, explaining, "I recommend pelvic rest as intercourse may cause bleeding (from the hematoma), and blood anytime in pregnancy is very disturbing and frightening for a pregnant woman." This is true. Even a little bit of blood during pregnancy, while it may not be a sign of anything harmful, can trigger a woman's fears of miscarriage and other problems.
Besides the prospect of bleeding, Ruiz adds, "If a woman were to develop a vaginal hematoma, intercourse would be painful. Common sense says resume sex when the hematoma has resolved." Dr. Yen Tran, OB-GYN at Memorial Care Medical Group, tells Romper, "We tend to advise patients with subchorionic bleeding to practice pelvic rest to avoid turbulence to the sensitive placenta. Once subchorionic bleeding stops, couples could resume intercourse unless the placenta is low-lying or situated across from the cervix."
Depending on how you feel about sex during your pregnancy, taking a break could come as a bummer or a relief. However, there are always other things you can do to maintain intimacy in the absence of intercourse and alternative methods for pleasuring your partner and yourself. Many couples use this time before baby comes to go on dates, spend quiet nights in, or finally make their way through their Netflix queue. (Babies leave little room for TV show bingeing when you just want to sleep.)
If you are concerned about having sex during your pregnancy for any reason, including a hematoma, talk to your doctor about what's right for you and your baby. All pregnancies require some level of sacrifice, such as giving up wine and sushi. Higher-risk pregnancies may necessitate additional limitations, but remember that it won't be forever, even if it feels that way now.
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