Does sex induce labour?
Published 24/03/2011 | 13:22
Pregnant women who are impatiently waiting to have their babies have long been told to have sex in order to bring on labour.
But does it actually work? There is not much medical or scientifi c evidence that it does, but there are many mumsto-be who swear by it.
Having sex to induce labour is thought to work in three ways. Firstly orgasm may help to stimulate the uterus into action; secondly, sex can trigger the release of oxytocin, the ‘contraction’ hormone; and thirdly, semen contains a high concentration of prostaglandins, which may help to soften the cervix, making it ready to dilate when labour starts.
While it is debatable whether there are enough prostaglandins in semen to have any real effect, there is no harm in trying! If nothing else, sex can be a welcome and fun distraction for any anxious, restless, overdue woman who can’t wait to give birth. A word of warning though – sex at this point in pregnancy is safe as long as waters have not broken. Once this has happened, sex may increase the risk of infection so should be avoided.