So, you’ve been diagnosed with placenta previa by your doctor or health care provider. For many pregnant folks with this diagnosis, it means bed rest until you deliver. You’ve almost certainly also been advised not to have sex. But what does that mean, exactly? Depending on what you’re into, you may be wondering, can you have anal sex with placenta previa? Because bed rest gets old fast, and can quickly turn into a time filled with frustration and boredom. You’ve taken the ever-so-prevalent advice of “sleep while you can before the baby comes” to heart and you’re itching for more activity. Perhaps you’re feeling a little frisky, as some women most certainly do when they’re pregnant, and you want to have fun and scratch that itch while you’re waiting to go into labor. Is anal sex a way to take advantage of that high libido during pregnancy? You may not like the answer to this question, but understanding what exactly placenta previa is may help ease the blow.
What is placenta previa?
Placenta previa is when the placenta attaches very low in the uterus, covering the cervix either partially or completely. This is a problem because your cervix dilates during labor to create an opening for your baby to be pushed out. Placenta previa is a risky condition for both you and your baby because if your placenta is covering the cervix, there’s no way for your baby to come out vaginally and it can cause a significant amount of bleeding, says Dr. Idries Abdur-Rahman, M.D., OB-GYN.
This condition is usually identified on routine anatomy ultrasound screening at 18 to 22 weeks gestation, says Jacqueline King, a family nurse practitioner.
Can you have anal sex with placenta previa?
As a general rule, nothing should be placed in the vagina when you have placenta previa. “Vaginal intercourse is most likely to stimulate the placenta, causing bleeding,” says Abdur-Rahman.
Anal sex, of course, does not involve placing anything in the vagina. So is anal sex OK? Unfortunately, no, says Abdur-Rahman. Any form of sexual activity, especially with orgasm, can stimulate bleeding in women with a placenta previa, he explains.
Furthermore, there’s a very thin wall between your rectum and the vagina, so the potential for bleeding exists even with anal sex, says King.
Some episodes of bleeding from placenta previa will stop without intervention, Abdur-Rahman says, but some bleeding can be heavy enough and persistent enough to potentially put your life and your baby’s life at risk. This is why doctors say ‘no’ sex with placenta previa.
Unfortunately, when you have placenta previa any type of sex is out, whether it’s vaginal intercourse, anal, oral, or even masturbation. Hang in there, mama, and try to enjoy the peace and solitude of bed rest. Focus on cuddles, massages, and kisses between you and your partner for now. The good thing is that placenta previa will almost certainly go away when you give birth, so you can look forward to the day when sex, any sex, is OK again.
Jacqueline King, APRN, a family nurse practitioner