c. Sexual Relations.
(1) It has been suggested, but not proven, that premature delivery may be
induced by the effect of oxytocin released during maternal response of organs,
orgasmic contractions, and prostaglandin in the male ejaculate.
(2) There are no restrictions on sexual intercourse during pregnancy except
for those patients who have a history of ruptured membranes, vaginal spotting, or have
been treated for preterm labor during this pregnancy.
(3) Patients with a history of repeated abortions may be advised to avoid
intercourse during the period of gestation when previous abortions occurred.
(4) Modifications in regard to sexual positions may be required as the
(5) Patients or couples should also be cautioned against masturbatory
activities when orgasmic contractions are contraindicated. Studies have shown that
orgasm is often more intense when induced by masturbation. The fetal heart rate
decreases during orgasm. Fetal distress has not yet been noted.
d. Alcohol Consumption. Studies now support that alcohol should be avoided
during pregnancy to prevent the possibility of fetal alcohol syndrome, which includes
growth retardation, mental deficiency, and craniofacial or musculoskeletal abnormalities.
It is now believed that as little as one to three ounces of alcohol per day may be
(1) Smoking, or frequent exposure to a smoke-filled environment is harmful
to the fetus. Smoking causes vasoconstriction of the blood vessels to include those of
the placenta. It also decreases oxygen and nutrients to the infant.
(2) There is direct correlation between smoking and low infant birth weight.
There is a tendency toward depressed growth and low weight gain to continue even
(3) There is an increased number of upper respiratory infections in the infant
during the first year of life.
f. Exercise. During pregnancy, exercise is vital for good maternal health,
healthy birth, and recovery. Exercise has been proven to be safe and healthful as long
as the patient feels comfortable doing them. Physical exercise helps a patient adjust to
the hormonal and physical change of pregnancy as well as the emotional and
psychological changes. Exercise provides extra support for the growing baby by
strengthening abdominal muscles as well as muscles supporting the backbone and the
pelvic floor (areas under great stress in pregnancy).