Sex during pregnancy can be lots of fun, but it can also be difficult and uncomfortable, especially if you are facing a complicated pregnancy. For women who are told they have an incompetent cervix, there may be more concern. (It's such a scary-sounding term.) Can you have sex during pregnancy if you have an incompetent cervix?
What is an incompetent cervix anyway? While the name sounds insulting, an incompetent cervix refers to a weakened cervix that may open too early in pregnancy, causing preterm labor, explained the American Pregnancy Association (APA). A weakened cervix, the article noted, can be caused by previous trauma to the cervix (from previous births or surgeries) or by a malformed uterus or cervix. If you are at risk for an incompetent cervix, suggested the APA, your doctors should evaluate you with an ultrasound or pelvic exam, and they may recommend closing your cervix with sutures (cervical cerclage) until you are near your delivery date.
The bad news (if you're looking forward to having sex) is that if you do have a weakened cervix, your doctor will likely ask you to minimize your physical activity, including intercourse. According to the Mayo Clinic, because an incompetent cervix puts you at risk for miscarriage or preterm birth, most health care providers will recommend that you avoid sexual intercourse, but that may change if you have a cervical cerclage.
The APA noted that depending on how soft or weak your cervix is, along with how far along you are, your doctor may allow you to have sex about a week after having a cervical cerclage. But because every pregnancy is different, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions based on your individual condition.
Fortunately, incompetent cervixes aren’t common, and occur in only 1 out of 100 pregnant women, according to the APA. If you are diagnosed with a weak cervix, the good news is that your pregnancy won’t last forever. In just a matter of time, you will have a healthy happy baby, and you can go back to getting your sexy on.