We’ve all heard it (and some of us may have tried it): sex induces labor. So we did some research, looked at the facts, and found that this may be true, but it also may not. I know this is contrary to what we have heard, so let’s go through it because I was just as shocked as you.
How could sex bring on labor?
After much thought, I decided that is the best way to word it: sex could bring on labor. The aspects that may cause your body to go into labor are nipple stimulation and (male and female) orgasm.
Nipple stimulation causes your body to release oxytocin and, as we already know, oxytocin is responsible for making the uterus contract. In the third trimester, the oxytocin receptors on your uterus become active and can respond to the presence of the hormone. If your body is ready for labor, nipple stimulation may give your body the oxytocin boost that it needs to kick-start things.
When you have an orgasm your body releases oxytocin (that dang hormone keeps coming up!). But what happens when a man orgasms? Prostaglandin-containing semen is released. Prostaglandin is a hormone that helps soften and ripen the cervix (which we know must happen before labor can begin). Again, your body must be ready for the prostaglandin to have an effect.
What if my due date isn’t for a few weeks?
If your body is not ready to go into labor, there is little evidence to suggest that having sex will make you go into labor. However, it is a small step that you can take to potentially get your body ready. It is also important to keep in mind that after delivery you won’t be able to have sex for at least six weeks (depending on how you deliver), so it doesn’t hurt to at least try 😉
With regards to having sex to kick start labor, Dr. Jonathan Schaffir feels “human pregnancy has to be robust to a little adventure like intercourse and, unfortunately for our purpose, it seems pretty robust to the very end.”
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not mean to take the place of consultation with your medical provider. Please speak with your care provider before trying anything to bring on labor.