Is it safe to have oral sex during pregnancy? Here’s what gynaes say is good for you
Having oral sex, especially in the third trimester of pregnancy, can increase risk of pregnant woman contracting genital herpes and passing on STDs to their children, say experts.sex and relationships Updated: Oct 10, 2017 08:29 IST
With all the changes that pregnancy brings to your body, it may not be easy to get intimate especially in the third trimester. But if you thought oral sex could be a good alternative, it’s time for a rethink. A number of research papers submitted around the world in September suggested that having oral sex, especially in the third trimester, could put women at risk of contracting STIs, such as genital herpes and others. A major contributing factor is the weakened immune system of pregnant women.
Dr Rajshekhar Brahmbhatt, consultant in sexual medicine (sexology) and marriage counsellor at Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai, says, “In oral sex, semen and vaginal fluid comes into contact with the surface of the mouth. There are chances that the mouth of either partner may be affected with infections like cold sores and bleeding gums. Protection should be used by either partner while performing oral sex.”
Dr Sonal Kumta, obstetrics and gynecology, Fortis Hospital, Mumbai, suggests regular tests for both partners during antenatal period for sexually transmitted infections like HIV, Hepatitis-B, Hepatitis-C and Syphilis. “If the husband has an active herpes infection of mouth, he can transmit it to the wife and she can transmit it to the baby too,” she says, adding, “We recommend tests for both partners during antenatal period for sexually transmitted infections like HIV, Hepatitis-B, Hepatitis-C and the VDRL test for Syphilis, routinely. In case if any partner has symptoms suggestive of Sexually Transmitted Infections(STIs) like Herpes, then we investigate additionally.”
Further complications could include various STDs passing on from mother to child. “STDs like chlamydia, and syphilis can result in blindness, organ damage and stillbirth in the child. Herpes can impact the nervous system of the child as the immune system is not fully developed during birth. Herpes can also cause miscarriage as well as brain damage. And there are also chances of either partner contracting Hepatitis B,” adds Dr Brahmbhatt.
The complications resulting from this can also lead to a C-section delivery, which is undertaken as a precautionary measure in case normal delivery is not possible. “In case of active Herpes genital infection and other STI in woman in the last trimester, we recommend delivering the baby by Caesarean section to reduce chances of transmission to the foetus,” says Dr Kumta.
Brahmbhatt’s advice for couples during pregnancy is to perform sex in comfortable positions, be it kneeling or while sitting. “Abstinence is not recommended during pregnancy. Sex during pregnancy is safe (though it should be avoided during the last month of pregnancy) and both partners can enjoy through non-penetrative ways.”
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