Air Embolism Question - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 21 Old 04-05-2009, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A thread in Pregnancy got me thinking about this and I'm wondering if anyone can explain it to me. I've always wondered how exactly this can happen. I know you're no supposed to let anyone blow forcefully into your vagina when pregnant so as to avoid an embolism. But what is the mechanism? How would air get into the bloodstream from this? And is it only dangerous during pregnancy? Is it safe after birth? Or does it take a while for this threat to go away?

And, what about air getting in there other ways? Like during normal intercourse? And would there be anything you could do about it if you did get air in there?

I really have no desire to have air forced up there for any reason, I've just always been confused about this. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!
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#2 of 21 Old 04-15-2009, 01:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone?
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#3 of 21 Old 04-15-2009, 03:13 AM
 
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Heck if I know!

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#4 of 21 Old 04-15-2009, 09:46 AM
 
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I have a strong suspicion that this warning is based on a purely theoretical risk and no one has ever actually encountered this problem.

It crosses my mind, though, every time I use my Diva cup.
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#5 of 21 Old 04-15-2009, 10:05 AM
 
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Here is one report in the literature of a (non-pregnant) women who died from an air embolism while masturbating: http://www.springerlink.com/content/tm17848022n10g21/

Basically the tissue in the vagina is so highly vascularized that forcing air in at high pressure can force it directly into the blood stream. These vessels are enlarged and engorged during pregnancy, putting you at "higher risk" for this extremely rare phenomena.

You're not at risk of getting an air embolism when you use your Diva cup unless you're forcing it in with an air pump.
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#6 of 21 Old 04-15-2009, 10:39 AM
 
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http://tinyurl.com/blowair

First full paragraph of the second column.

I guess it has been documented at least once, in the 1940s.
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#7 of 21 Old 04-15-2009, 11:35 AM
 
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Here is one report in the literature of a (non-pregnant) women who died from an air embolism while masturbating: http://www.springerlink.com/content/tm17848022n10g21/
:

That is one of the craziest things I have ever read. Wow.

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#8 of 21 Old 04-15-2009, 04:35 PM
 
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I actually watched a TV show on strange ways to die (I know morbid ,dh was watching it) a few weeks ago. The show is based on actual reported deaths and low and behold there was one on it about a woman who had a embolism during masturbation. Kinda freaked me out honestly. Not because of the masturbation aspect but because I do self cervical checks for charting purposes. I'm constantly thinking now I'm gonna be the only woman to die from Natural Family Planning, LOL. I too have wondered how sensitive this is and what the real risk is. Crazy.

Oh and the lady wasn't pregnant and had no children.

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#9 of 21 Old 04-15-2009, 05:44 PM
 
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I posted a link to a medical journal about the case above. Unless you're doing cervical checks with a piston you've got nothing to worry about.
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#10 of 21 Old 04-15-2009, 05:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nashvillemidwife View Post
Here is one report in the literature of a (non-pregnant) women who died from an air embolism while masturbating: http://www.springerlink.com/content/tm17848022n10g21/

Basically the tissue in the vagina is so highly vascularized that forcing air in at high pressure can force it directly into the blood stream. These vessels are enlarged and engorged during pregnancy, putting you at "higher risk" for this extremely rare phenomena.

You're not at risk of getting an air embolism when you use your Diva cup unless you're forcing it in with an air pump.
I kept as straight face until I read "carrot", when I burst out laughing.

I know it's insensitive. She died. But death by carrot? C'mon!

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#11 of 21 Old 04-15-2009, 11:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow. Crazy stories! Thanks for sharing. I've just been so confused by this.
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#12 of 21 Old 04-15-2009, 11:52 PM
 
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I kept as straight face until I read "carrot", when I burst out laughing.

I know it's insensitive. She died. But death by carrot? C'mon!
:
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#13 of 21 Old 04-16-2009, 12:08 AM
 
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my question is seriously... why would anyone know this is a way of dying? and did it matter that is was a carrot? she didn't die of carrot disease but the "piston" action. so couldn't that have been caused by ANYTHING used in a pistion action.... say... a penis? (for instance?)

really... just weird. but whenever i see this mentioned in the "what not to do when you're pregnant" lists I always think I must be pretty niave, but I had NO idea that pistoning heavy doses of pressurized air into one's vaginia is a sexual practice that is common... and also clearly it effects non-pregnant people just as much as pregnant - which is like... um almost never. so why put it on the list? I also wouldn't bother putting "don't put marbles into your nose" on the list - aren't somethings just common adult sense!? good grief!


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#14 of 21 Old 04-16-2009, 10:29 AM
 
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my question is seriously... why would anyone know this is a way of dying? and did it matter that is was a carrot? she didn't die of carrot disease but the "piston" action. so couldn't that have been caused by ANYTHING used in a pistion action.... say... a penis? (for instance?)
A penis is (hopefully ) too big. The vagina is a vacuum, there is no air sitting in there waiting to be pushed into the uterus. A very small amount of air is introduced with penetration, but he would have to be pulling out entirely with quick vigorous thrusting to introduce enough air with enough pressure to cause an embolism, and even then I would think her vagina would have to be exceptionally large to accommodate that much air.
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#15 of 21 Old 04-16-2009, 12:36 PM
 
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ok I can see that... but.. yeah.. I don't know. it just seems kinda um... ridiculous a thing to worry about to me. and wny specifically when you're pregnant? (maybe I am missing that one?)


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#16 of 21 Old 04-16-2009, 05:55 PM
 
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I explained that above. During pregnancy the vessels in the vagina are enlarged and swollen, putting you at "higher risk".

Why is this even discussed, you ask? Because an early edition of "What to Expect" named it as one of the dangers of pregnancy. They've since toned it down and removed this information but it's still out there. Anne Frye also mentions it in her midwifery textbook "Holistic Midwifery", but in her attempts to be as thorough as possible can sometimes go a little off the deep end with her information also.
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#17 of 21 Old 04-16-2009, 06:41 PM
 
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I also think that it has achieved urban legend status and not so much as warnings to pregnant women but have heard it mentioned in relation to cautions about oral sex in general-- in any case I was surprised to see that there have been more than one case
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#18 of 21 Old 04-16-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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I also think that it has achieved urban legend status and not so much as warnings to pregnant women but have heard it mentioned in relation to cautions about oral sex in general-- in any case I was surprised to see that there have been more than one case
yes I agree with that one. it's very much like an urban legend. sure one of those things that *could* happen given the exact right conditions and the exact right situation... but um.. how likely is that? SO off that they even mentioned it in "what to expect"... but then again... what do I expect from such a silly book!? haha


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#19 of 21 Old 04-17-2009, 02:00 AM
 
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This was mentioned in Fit Pregnancy magazine last summer:

Quote:
Is oral sex safe?

Oral sex is perfectly safe during pregnancy. One caution: blowing air into the highly vascularized vagina can cause a dangerous embolism. But since when has that been a part of oral sex?
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#20 of 21 Old 04-17-2009, 02:07 AM
 
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A penis is (hopefully ) too big. The vagina is a vacuum, there is no air sitting in there waiting to be pushed into the uterus. A very small amount of air is introduced with penetration, but he would have to be pulling out entirely with quick vigorous thrusting to introduce enough air with enough pressure to cause an embolism, and even then I would think her vagina would have to be exceptionally large to accommodate that much air.
Then how would a carrot do this? I'm not trying to be obstinate or anything just confused. I read the article and it said something about an IUD. What does an IUD have to do with it?

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#21 of 21 Old 04-17-2009, 04:38 AM
 
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Then how would a carrot do this? I'm not trying to be obstinate or anything just confused. I read the article and it said something about an IUD. What does an IUD have to do with it?
I was wondering that too!

but on second thought... I think I will just not worry about it. it's clearly ridiculous and so far fetched a thing to happen I don't think it really needs worrying about


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