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Bleeding After Sex While Pregnant

Bleeding After Sex While Pregnant

Just because you’re pregnant does not mean that sexual urges are going to go away! However, if you have experienced bleeding after sex while pregnant, this can be a very frightening—if common— experience. Let’s take a look at this problem, as well as some possible solutions and guidelines as to when you should seek medical help.

The Causes of Bleeding After Sex While Pregnant

There are many normal reasons why a woman can bleed after sex when she is pregnant. Firstly, there is a great increase in blood flow to the area of the cervix and vagina—and many more capillaries (small blood vessels) to carry the blood where it needs to go. These capillaries are delicate and can easily rupture during intercourse. The cervix itself is also tender and can easily get irritated, or bleeding may be caused by cervical polyps: noncancerous growths on the cervix itself. Even if you bleed, it is important to remember that sex will not hurt your baby and that the baby is safe inside the uterus and sealed off from the vagina by a thick plug at the head of the cervix.

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That being said, if you have had some bleeding after sex, it is best to talk to your doctor or midwife before having sex again. In most cases, doctors will not see this as a problem. However, if you have had a history of miscarriages in the past, some doctors will recommend that you refrain from sex during the first trimester—just to be on the safe side.

How to Avoid Bleeding After Sex While Pregnant

While there is no way to absolutely prevent bleeding after sex while pregnant, there are ways you can reduce your chances, such as:

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  • Having sex more gently than usual
  • Using a water-based lubricant to avoid irritation to the vagina or cervix
  • Experimenting with different positions, such as rear entry positions, which put less pressure on the uterus

Some women, particularly as the pregnancy advances, prefer other forms of intimacy such as showering together, cuddling or massages. Whatever route you choose to go, it is good to have open communication between you and your partner about this issue.

When to Seek Medical Help

While some light, painless bleeding after sex is generally nothing to worry about, you should always report any bleeding to your doctor or midwife. That is because it could be a sign of something more sinister going on, such as an impending miscarriage, a vaginal infection, problems with the placenta like placental abruption or other issues that will need more advanced medical care. If you report bleeding, your doctor will sometimes have you make an appointment for an exam and even an extra ultrasound to make sure all is well.

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Your doctor will likely encourage you to wear a panty liner or pad to monitor just how much bleeding is occurring and also have you note what you have noticed about the blood—is it pink? red? brown? Are there clots? All this can give your doctor important information about what is going on.

You should call 911, however, if you have any of the following symptoms:

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  • Heavy bleeding, whether it is painful or not
  • Severe, persistent cramps
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • A fever above 100.5 degrees
  • Contractions

These could be signs of an impending miscarriage or other serious complication.

In short, while mild bleeding without cramping or pain after sex is usually nothing to worry about, it is also a good idea to call your doctor to report this problem just to be on the safe side. However, with some preventative measures, there is no reason you cannot enjoy a satisfying sex life even while pregnant, provided your doctor says that it’s OK. Enjoy the time together—it will be different when the baby comes!

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Brian Wu

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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