Q: Good day Doc, can sexual intercourse open the cervix at 39 weeks of pregnancy?
A: An open cervix, also known as a weakened cervix or cervical incompetence is a condition in which the mouth of the womb is open leading to a risk of miscarriage. This may be caused by a previous injury to this area, typically after a surgical procedure. The weakness of the muscle can cause the mouth of the womb (cervix) to open too early during pregnancy, leading to a miscarriage.
Having said that, if the cervical incompetence is not a pre-existing condition, sex is generally considered safe during pregnancy. If your doctor has noted some medical issues that may cause some restrictions on sexual intercourse, he will communicate that.
Some issues that may cause a doctor to issue some restrictions on sexual activity, apart from cervical incompetence, include:
- Threat of a miscarriage
- History of pre-term labour
- Unexplained bleeding in pregnancy
If you’re not sure whether you belong to any of these groups or not, please ask your obstetrician.
Now, there also some risky activities during sexual intercourse in pregnancy:
- If you indulge in oral sex, hubby please do not blow into your wife’s vagina as this can lead to an air bubble being lodged in a blood vessel causing problems in mother and/or baby
- Having STI with an infected partner can lead to STI in pregnant mum. This infection can be transmitted to the baby. So, hubbies be sure that you stay faithful
- Anal sex is also discouraged.
Some have asked the question, ‘what if my pregnant wife gets pregnant again?’ Well, theoretically, this Is not possible because during pregnancy ovulation is supposed not to occur. Essentially, for pregnancy to happen, an egg was fertilized and once this happens, there’s a signal that goes to the ovary stopping it from releasing eggs since clearly, there’s no more need 😀 In some rare cases, however, after pregnancy has occurred, the ovary still releases an egg which ends up being fertilized leading to pregnancy in an already pregnant woman. This situation is called super-fertation. However, the incidence of this is very rare that it is not considered standard practice to tell pregnant couples to avoid sexual intercourse during pregnancy to avoid this. In fact, there appear to be just about 10 documented cases worldwide.
So, if the obstetrician had not documented incompetent cervix in that patient before, sexual intercourse at 39 weeks is unlikely to cause it. Where in doubt, please consult your obstetrician.
All the best 😀