Doctor's Advice - Is it safe to have sex when pregnant?
- Is it safe to have sex when pregnant?
Q. I am 20 years old, and I became pregnant two months ago. Unfortunately, the boy who is the father has now left me. However, there is another guy who says he loves me, and of course, he now wants to have sex with me. Doc, could this do any harm to my baby?
A. It is a pity that the baby's father has abandoned you. Is there any way that you could bring some pressure on him to make him contribute to the expenses of the child's upbringing?
As it relates to this other guy, the only significant danger would occur if he introduced an infection into your vagina. That definitely could harm the unborn child.
So if you do decide to go ahead and have a sexual relationship with this man, I think you should insist that he uses a condom on all occasions. Are you thinking of forming a permanent union with the new guy, or of marrying him? If so, does he know you are pregnant? Please remember that not all men are happy about 'playing father' to a child who they know is not their own.
- Where does it go?
Q. Good day. I read your column where you told a teenager that in the absence of an opening in a girl's hymen, her menses would 'dam up' behind it. But I'm curious as I am interested in gynaecology. Where would the blood go?
A. Good question. As you obviously know, virgin women have a membrane across the vagina. It used to be called the virgin's veil. It gets broken when a penis first goes through it. And it can be broken by other things, like tampons - or sometimes these days by vibrators.
Now, this hymen has to have a small hole in it so that the menstrual blood can get through. However, in a small proportion of teenagers, there is no hole - a condition called imperforate hymen.
In that situation, what happens is the uterus (the womb) menstruates every month, and the blood flows down into the vagina. But it can't go any further. So the girl feels pain every four weeks as her vagina swells up with more and more menstrual blood. Meanwhile, the hymen bulges downwards under the pressure, and the belly distends.
That distressing problem is called haematocolpos. You can, if you wish, look it up on the Internet, preferably using the American spelling hematocolpos, which has more entries.
Sometimes the disorder just cures itself because the hymen simply breaks under the pressure. However, very often, what happens is that more and more menstrual blood builds up inside the vagina and the womb over many months. Some of the fluid is absorbed into the bloodstream, but a lot remains, mostly in the form of thick clots.
Once the diagnosis has been made, a surgeon or gynaecologist can just make a cut in the hymen. This lets out all the clots and fluid in a rush, and the girl is then cured. Any teenager who has monthly period symptoms, but with no bleeding ever happening, should check with a doctor to see if she has an imperforate hymen.
- Risky business
Q. Is it true, as I have heard, that giving guys fellatio can result in the girl catching an infection?
A. Yes, that is true. It has long been known that gonorrhoea ('the clap') can be caught this way. But last year, it became clear that chlamydia of the throat could also be caught from oral sex.
Furthermore, there is some risk of getting Human Papilloma Virus in your throat. This can cause inflammation, and possibly in the long term, a form of cancer. So please think twice before you give guys oral sex.
- Am I abnormal?
Q. I am a guy of 20 and have only just started to have sex. I really love women, and I think that sexual intercourse with them is wonderful, Doc! I have only one worry. It is this. The climax which I have during intercourse is not quite as intense as the ones I am used to during masturbation. Is there something wrong with me?
A No, there isn't. Before I explain, could I just urge you to take care in your relationships with all these young ladies? Please do not get any of them pregnant! And be aware of the risks of venereal disease and HIV.
Turning to the question of orgasms, it is common for young men to say that the moment of discharge during sexual intercourse is very good, but that it is not as intense as the feeling they experience during masturbation.
The reason for this is quite simple. When a male masturbates, the pressure of his fingertips on the organ is great. Also, he unconsciously varies that pressure a little bit from finger to finger, depending on what produces the most powerful sensations.
Obviously, it is not possible for that kind of thing to happen during intercourse. Nevertheless, most men regard vaginal sex as the best and most emotionally satisfying of sexual activities. Anyway, you are not abnormal, so you can quit fretting.
- Trying to get pregnant
Q. I am a 20-year-old who has been trying to get pregnant over two years now, and my doctor won't help me. My tubes are OK, and my boyfriend is fine. Can you assist me?
A. I believe I answered a letter from you last year, but maybe you didn't see my response. Anyway, what you should do now is to try and really nail down what your ovulation day is. Generally, ovulation often occurs around 14 days before the menses are due.
You can pinpoint the 'big day' more exactly by using an ovulation kit, which you can buy from a pharmacy. Another clue is the fact that about ovulation day, your vaginal secretions should become clearer, more slippery and stretchier.
Once you have worked out what your ovulation time is, then you and your partner should do your very best to have sex several times at around this point of maximum fertility. If these measures haven't got you pregnant within six months, then the two of you should see a doctor, who can do further tests. Good luck!
Email questions to Doc at email@example.com and read more in the Outlook Magazine tomorrow.