If you have any of these conditions or you have had them in the past, your doctor may tell you to avoid sex for you and your baby's safety.
* Placenta previa: "In this case, the placenta is too low and comes down over the cervix instead of being up behind the baby," Minkin says. It can partially or fully cover the cervix and often causes bleeding. "You should avoid penetration because if you poke the cervix too hard, this could damage the placenta and cause more bleeding," Minkin says. Doctors will follow these patients with ultrasounds to see if the placenta has moved up (which it often does) and sex is safe.
* Cervical incompetence: This means the cervix starts to dilate or become thin too early. "You don't want to have sex here because it might stretch or open the cervix further which can put you at risk for preterm labor," Minkin says. Penetration could also cause trauma or promote infection, says Proudfit, or push bacteria up through the cervix and into the fluid surrounding the baby.
* Vasa previa: "This is a rare condition where fetal blood vessels cross over the cervix — if they get hit during sex or tear, the body could lose its blood volume in minutes," Proudfit says. Women with this condition might have to go on complete bedrest or stay at the hospital until delivery.
* High risk of preterm labor: You might have to avoid sex if you've had contractions too early or you have a history of preterm labor. "In these cases, the penetration could poke or stimulate the cervix and you don’t want to do anything that could increase the risk of contractions," Minkin says. So women who are at a higher risk of going into labor prematurely have to be extra careful.
* Leaking amniotic fluid: If your water started to break too early, then you definitely don't want to have sex because this could easily spread germs or an infection to the baby since the sac is no longer intact, Proudfit says. But this is another condition that may require a woman to stay in the hospital or get induced, if it's late enough in the pregnancy.