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Pregnant, bleeding and discomfort after relations

17 September, 2016

Question:

Hello. I am 9 weeks pregnant, and definitely not menstruating at this time. This is my first pregnancy and I've been married for 8 months.

This past Shabbos, my husband and I intercourse. Immediately afterwards, I went to the bathroom. I observed about 1/2 a teaspoon of blood in the toilet with my urine, and more blood on the toilet paper. The next day (Sunday) I felt discomfort in my vagina all day, like bruising. But I didn't see any more blood after the initial sighting. By Monday the discomfort was gone, too. I don't usually experience any discomfort or bleeding associated with sex.

I spoke to my midwife on Monday, and she told me that, during pregnancy, I will experience greater vascularization and blood flow inside my vagina, and that sexual intercourse is much more likely to cause lesions and bleeding at this time.

If this kind of bleeding makes me niddah, then I would anticipate a situation where every time I have sex, I'll bleed a little afterwards. Potentially, every single time I have intercourse during pregnancy, I will become niddah. It's not practical to go the mikvah each time I have sex (I travel an hour each way to get there, and work late in the evening), and so, I'd probably abstain from sex instead.

According to your website, vaginal bleeding due to trauma (dam makkah) does not render a woman niddah. But according to my husband, the blood in this situation is zavah ketanah and does render me niddah. However, it seems from your glossary that zavah ketanah can only be uterine blood. I believe that this is blood from the vaginal wall – I did feel bruising in my vagina, after all.

As such, I have the following questions:

1) Am I niddah?
2) Do I need to undergo a physical examination by a doctor or midwife to determine if I'm niddah, or is it enough to trust my midwife's determination that the bleeding was due to injury during sex, and not due to menstruation?

Could you please help me resolve this situation?


Answer:

BeSha'ah tovah!

1) A woman becomes niddah or zavah only from uterine blood.  Practical halachah does not distinguish between zavah and niddah status.  Sometimes pregnant women do experience uterine bleeding and become niddah.

Blood found in the toilet may be treated as a stain on a surface that is not susceptible to ritual impurity (eino m'kabel tumah), and as such should not affect your status.  Blood found on toilet paper may make you niddah depending on its shade (and under what lighting conditions it was found), on whether you follow Ashkenazi or Sefardi halachic rulings, and on the time elapsed between urinating and wiping.  (For more details, please see our site's articles "Stains" and "Toilet Paper".)

2) You are correct that if your bleeding can be attributed to a vaginal lesion, then it would not make you niddah, regardless of your answers to the questions above.  To make this attribution, you either would need to be able to locate such a lesion on your own (as with a hand mirror) or to have a physical examination by a doctor, midwife, or niddah nurse.  If some point of trauma is found that could be associated with the bleeding you saw, then you could attribute your recent bleeding to it, as well as any subsequent bleeding consistent with the wound (and with how long it is expected to last).

3) In the future, you can take precautions to avoid becoming niddah from this type of bleeding. Make sure to have relations on colored sheets, wait a few minutes before cleaning yourselves, and use tissues or disposable towels to clean yourselves. In general, try to wait 15 seconds between urinating and wiping; if you don't wait that long, avoid looking at the toilet paper.

Please write back with any follow up questions.


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