Continued from previous page.

Associate Professor Tan Thiam Chye, Head and Senior Consultant, Inpatient Service, Department of General Obstetrics & Gynaecology, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth​ group, answers commonly asked questions on sex during pregnancy.

6. Bleeding after sex?

If you have any bleeding after sex, it is best to see your obstetrician. It may be normal to have a bit of spotting after sex when you are pregnant due to increased blood flow to the genitals and cervix from the higher levels of the circulating female hormone, oestrogen. However, any bleeding must be fully evaluated by a simple examination and an ultrasound scan to ensure there is no serious cause for it, e.g. threatened miscarriage or preterm labour, lesions in the birth canal such as a polyp, or a low lying placenta.

7. When should sex be definitely avoided?

If you have placenta previa (a condition where the placenta lies over the internal opening of the cervix), avoid penetrative intercourse as this could result in bleeding. If your amniotic sac has ruptured and your waters have broken, avoid intercourse as infection could ascend to your baby. If you are in preterm labour, avoid intercourse as well, as orgasm and chemicals in semen could increase uterine contractions.

You should also avoid sex in pregnancy if you have abnormal vaginal discharge, or if either of you has an outbreak of herpes or any sexually transmitted infection. Avoid sex in the third trimester if your partner had genital herpes in the past, even if he is now well and has no sores. Avoid receiving oral sex if your partner has cold sores on his mouth.

8. What are the comfortable positions for sex?

In later pregnancy, positions like the missionary position might be difficult due to his weight on your abdomen. Deep penetration may also become more uncomfortable in the third trimester. Alternatives include lying sideways in the spoon position as this prevents deep penetration.

Being on top of your partner allows you to control the depth of penetration as well and keeps the weight off your abdomen. Having your partner enter you from behind while you are on all fours may also work for you. Having your partner enter you from a sitting position manages to keep the weight off your abdomen as well. Experiment with various positions till you find something that works for both of you!

9. Is oral sex safe in pregnancy?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to perform oral sex on your partner. Avoid having air blown forcefully into you due to the rare possibility​ of an air bubble developing in a blood vessel in the area.

10. Are there any alternatives to intercourse?

Sexual intercourse is not the only way to convey affection and desire for your partner. Some couples also engage in various other activities like hugging, kissing, massage, oral sex and masturbation.

"The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth", a pregnancy book written by A/Prof Tan Thiam Chye, Dr. Tan Kim Teng, Dr. Tan Heng Hao​, A/Prof John Tee Chee Seng. KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth​ group.

* Available at all major book stores and Pharmacy in KKH.

Read on to learn about sex after pregnancy.

Ref: S13