Sex in pregnancy is generally safe, states a new primer designed to help doctors counsel patients unsure about sex in pregnancy. The guide appears in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Potential, although uncommon, risks of sex in pregnancy include premature labor and pelvic inflammatory disease. Additionally, sexual activities that push air into the vagina may result in a uterine blood clot, which can often be fatal.
The guide notes that while the restriction of intercourse is recommended for women at risk of premature labor, the evidence is contradictory and limited. For most women, frequent intercourse was associated with an increased risk of premature labor only in those with lower genital tract infections.
"In populations at increased risk for preterm labor, there is no evidence to suggest a clear benefit from restricted sexual activity; however, this is a simple intervention that causes no harm and may be a reasonable recommendation until better evidence emerges," writes primer author Dr. Clair Jones, from the University of Toronto.
"Sex in pregnancy is normal," write the authors. "There are very few proven contraindications and risks to intercourse in low-risk pregnancies, and therefore these patients should be reassured. In pregnancies complicated by placenta previa or an increased risk of preterm labor, the evidence to support abstinence is lacking, but it is a reasonable benign recommendation given the theoretical catastrophic consequences." Dr. Jones added that there is no evidence to the theory that sex at term can induce labor.
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Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal