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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

Contact Answers In the News Hot Topics

Sex during pregnancy

Question:  Hi, How long should sex continue in pregnancy? At what stage is it dangerous? Is Masturbation (as a substitute for sex) of any negative effect during pregnancy? O. (Nigeria)

Answer: Your question pre-supposes that there is a stage of pregnancy at which sex is dangerous. This is incorrect. Sex is safe throughout the entire course of pregnancy up until the eve of labour. There is absolutely no danger from the act. Exceptions are found in situations of a low lying placenta (Placenta praevia) where penetrative sexual intercourse carries a theoretical risk of provoking bleeding. Masturbation too carries no risk whatsoever at any stage of pregnancy. There is a widespread myth that an orgasm in pregnancy can carry a risk of sorts. This is, of course, nonsense.

Cervical cerclage

Question:  Following my two miscarriages my doctor is planning to put a stitch in my cervix in this pregnancy. Is this safe? M.H. (India)

Answer: If your miscarriages were late (16 weeks and beyond), then there is a possibility that you have cervical weakness. In such a case, a cervical suture, also known as cervical cerclage, is the correct preventative measure to take. Normally this will be inserted at around 14-15 weeks gestation. There is a very small risk that the procedure itself could trigger miscarriage. However, in confirmed cervical weakness, the advantages far outweigh that risk. If your previous miscarriages were in the first trimester, the value of the suture is quite doubtful.

Unsuccessful IVF

Question: I have had three unsuccessful IVF attempts in the last two years and have no more embryos. Now my doctor says I cannot have another attempt because a hormone test shows that I’ve premature ovarian failure. I’m only 41. Is there any way the ovaries failure can be reversed to produce eggs? P.G. (Singapore)

Answer: If the hormone test results are unequivocal, then this effectively means you are in the menopause, albeit early. In such a situation, there is no known way of making your ovaries produce eggs ever again. Your only practical recourse now is IVF by using a donor egg. Your womb is and will remain capable of carrying a pregnancy for many years to come. Best wishes.

Safety of sex during pregnancy

Question:  Is it safe to have sex after a woman got pregnant? If yes, then please mention the weeks of pregnancy. S.C. (India)

Answer: As it happens, we have answered a very similar question on this very page. Scroll to the top and you will see the answer. In a nutshell, sex is safe through the entire duration of pregnancy

Bleeding in early pregnancy

Question:  My wife is pregnant. But after having conceiving for 2 weeks, she had severe bleeding for a day. Please tell the reason. S.C. (India)

Answer: I am not actually sure what you mean by “having conceived for 2 weeks”... Do you mean conception took place two weeks ago or is it that her period was due two weeks ago and she missed it? If the latter is the case, then gestation will be calculated from her last period which will make it six weeks. If you actually mean you think the act of intercourse which took place two weeks ago is thought to have resulted in conception, that changes the picture completely. In such a case, it may imply the bleeding she is having is actually a normal period. However, if her last period was six weeks ago (give or take a few days) and the pregnancy was already confirmed by a positive pregnancy test, then this may very well be an evolving miscarriage. In such a case, she needs to see a doctor as a matter of priority.

Ibuprofen and Codeine in Pregnancy

Question:  Hi,I recently found out that im 9 weeks pregnant and for the past 6 months I had been taking Ibuprofen and codeine to treat my on going back pain as well as toothache. I am due to see my dentist in a few weeks. I have stopped taking painkillers,but i am concerned of the possible damage done to my baby. Can you help? Thanks. J. (UK)

Answer: I don’t think you need to worry. Whilst Codeine is a mild opiate, it is safe to use in pregnancy but this is should ideally be used intermittently. The use of Ibuprofen, like all so-called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), is not advised in pregnancy. In early pregnancy these may increase the risk of miscarriage. Using them later, in the third trimester, has been associated with heart complications for the baby. Now that you have a confirmed pregnancy, You should really avoid Ibuprofen and use Paracetamol or Paracetamol and Codeine for pain relief.

Scan pressure on the lower abdomen

Question:  I've just had a bad experience at my local hospital. I am 6 - 7 weeks pregnant and went in for an external scan (I've had bad experiences in the past with internal) and the nurse pressed extremely hard to the point where it was really hurting me. She said she couldn't see anything because my bladder wasn't full enough and apparently I have a tilted cervix.  It's been over 2 hours now and I'm still hurting where she was pressing and I'm so worried she has done some damage. Please can you tell me what risks are involved and how likely it is that she has harmed my pregnancy? Also, what complications can a tilted cervix bring?  Thank you. L.C. (UK)

Answer: I hope you are feeling better. There is no need to worry regarding that pressure on your abdomen. It can indeed be very difficult to see clearly using the abdominal probe at such an early stage of the pregnancy. The situation is made more difficult by an empty  urinary bladder, a womb that is tilting towards the back (that means it is farther away from the probe and if the woman is overweight or obese. The fact that the ultrasonographer struggled is probably because you have at least two of these factors. The tilt of the womb (not the cervix as you put it) towards the back is known as a retroverted uterus. There are no negative consequences as a result of this  position. It  is a variant of the norm and you should not worry about it at all.  A pregnancy at such an early gestation is much better assessed using a vaginal probe but since you felt you couldn’t have this, I think the best thing will be to wait another couple of weeks to give the abdominal approach a better chance of success. It will be important to ensure you have a full bladder. As for the pressure on your lower abdomen from the scan probe, that cannot do any damage to a pregnancy. You may have felt sore but the baby in the womb cannot be affected by this in any way. Best wishes.

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