Does Having Sex Induce Labor?

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For many people, there comes a stage towards the end of pregnancy when confused between having sex. Whether that means it is near the due date or has already passed it, women may wonder what natural methods can be done at home to induce labor. So, if taking long walks and eating spicy foods aren’t seemingly effective, then it’s time to pull out the big guns. And try something new.

In this article:

Does Sex Induce Labor?
What Does the Research Say?
Is It Safe?
Positions to Induce Labor

All You Need to Know About Having Sex Can Sex Help to Induce Labor

Does Sex Induce Labor?

Sexual intercourse may stimulate labor in several different ways. If it second or third trimester, then it is seen there is the hardening of the uterus after having sex. This is because the contraction after orgasm (or even just the increase in physical activity) may set off what is called Braxton-hicks or false labor contractions. Braxton-hicks usually go away with rest or water or change in position, so it is not the real deal. But as getting closer to the due date, try to pay close attention because at some point these tightenings can turn out to be true labor.

having sex to induce labor

How sex may help initiate labor –

  • Semen contains prostaglandins which are lipid compounds that produce hormone-like effects. All the prostaglandin-containing substances produced by the body, semen contain the most concentrated form. During sexual intercourse, when ejaculate enters the vagina, these prostaglandins are deposited near the cervix and can help ripen (soften) it to prepare for dilation and may even cause the uterus to contract.
  • Beyond that, the uterine contractions produced by the female orgasm may also bring about labor. Again, there are tightenings in the lower abdomen after sex. These may just be Braxton-hicks, but they may end up being the real thing.
  • Oxytocin is the hormone released during orgasm. It’s also called the ‘love hormone’ because it plays a role in romantic relationships, sex, reproduction and even bonding between caregivers and infants. This hormone oxytocin is the natural form of Pitocin. Pitocin is the synthetic hormone that can be received in a drip if had a formal induction at a hospital.

What Does the Research Say?

There is a surprising amount of research on this topic of sex and labor some dating back decades. Sex isn’t considered the most effective way to get things going but that doesn’t mean the efforts will be in vain. Make sure the body isn’t ready to labor, nothing doing will necessarily get going. That’s why sex at any stage of the pregnancy is still safe. Having sex will not cause labor to begin before the body is ready for delivery. Instead, the prostaglandins, uterine contractions, and oxytocin may simply augment the processed that are already at work.

Yes, sex works. According to a 2006 study, researchers asked women to keep a record of sexual activity after they had reached 36 weeks of gestation. Some 200 women completed diaries and the results showed that the women who were sexually active at term did tend to deliver sooner than those who were not having sex. Not only this, but the need for labor induction was also found to be reduced. Another study of 2014, a group of researchers collected data from a university hospital. Over 120 women presented at the hospital with signs of labor such as bloody show or ruptured membranes and they were asked about the sexual activity in the week prior. The researchers discovered that the gestational age of babies born to a sexually active couple was ‘significantly lower’ than those born to couples who were not found active. They concluded that sexual intercourse may very well be associated with bringing on labor.

Nope, sex doesn’t work. On the other side, a 2007 article published in Obstetrics and Gynecology did not show a positive relationship between sexual intercourse and labor. In the study, around 200 women were divided into two groups and given instructions to either have sex in the weeks before delivery or to abstain. The rate of spontaneous labor between the two groups was 55.6 percent and 52 percent respectively. Almost the same result. Further, an earlier study that appeared in the publication echoed these results. This time, the researchers examined 47 women who had sex at term (39 weeks) versus another 46 not sexually active. The gestational age of the babies born to the sexually active women was actually slightly older (39.9 weeks) than those not active (39.3 weeks). The term concluded that sex at term does not induce labor or ripen the cervix.

Is it Safe?

It is seen that sex may or may not induce labor. But the answer is yes it is safe. The partner’s penis won’t poke the baby’s head. It’s cushioned by amniotic fluid, the mucus plug, and muscles of the uterus.

Other considerations –

  • Keep it fresh – most positions that are enjoyed before pregnancy are still safe during pregnancy. If something stops feeling comfortable, try another position which is good.
  • Practice safe sex like using condoms – during pregnancy, precautions should be taken to guard against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Don’t have the partner blow into the vagina during anal sex – doing this can cause an air embolism. This means that the air bubbles block the blood vessels and it is dangerous for the mother and baby.
  • Use caution with anal sex – anus has plenty of bacteria so any vaginal penetration after anal sex may spread the bacteria into the vagina. While the mucus plug is there to protect the uterus from bacteria, the infection can be developed that can spread to the developing baby.
  • Do not have sex if the water has broken – intercourse may introduce bacteria into the vaginal canal. When the membranes are ruptured, this means the bacteria/infection can more easily reach the baby.
  • Contact the doctor – if there is anything like a gush of fluid, pain or severe cramping or heavy bleeding after sex.

Positions to Induce Labor

There’s just no research showing that any sex positions are more likely to induce labor than others. So, a key ingredient to sex potentially inducing labor is that both of the orgasms so position like woman-on-top or sex top that can help. Remember, that some sex positions simply can’t attempt in the last few weeks of pregnancy notably the partner on top, avoid spending too much time on the back to avoid cutting off blood supply to the lower body.

Conclusion

According to research whether or not sex in late pregnancy induces labor. Be sure to check with the doctor. Otherwise, try some comfortable position.

References

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