Why does sex induce labor

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Natural Labor Induction Series: Evidence on Sex

why does sex induce labor

Pregnancy and Sexual Health : How to Induce Labor Early

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NEW YORK - Despite a widespread belief that sex during the later stages of pregnancy can jumpstart labor, a new study from Malaysia found no differences in the timing of delivery between women who had sex near term and those who abstained. Tan Peng Chiong, an obstetrics and gynecology professor at the University of Malaya, and one of the authors of the study. Tan said that many women believe intercourse can induce labor, and scientists have proposed plausible biological explanations for why it might help. For one, semen contains a hormonelike substance called prostaglandin, which is used in synthetic form to induce labor. Tan said the belief also probably came from "the deep seated folk perception that intercourse in pregnancy may be unsafe and may cause pregnancy expulsion or miscarriage despite fairly replete evidence to the contrary.

But can sex induce labor in full-term women? And are there risks for having sex in the last few weeks of pregnancy? While studies on the topic are still limited, sexy time could be your ticket to labor and delivery. Sex might seem the obvious solution to speeding along labor: Contractions of the uterus are part and parcel of having an orgasm, and they can be quite powerful and last up to half an hour. Sperm contains prostaglandins, or fatty acids that act like hormones, which are also produced by your uterus to thin and dilate the cervix and jump-start contractions in preparation for delivery. In fact, medications used by doctors to induce labor like misoprostol contain a synthetic version of prostaglandins that have been shown to help speed along labor.

Some parents who are past their due date may even research how to induce labor before they even reach the hospital. And it can be pretty fun, too. The first, most frequently recommended way to get a body primed for contractions is exercise. Most mothers will attest that the simple act of walking seems like a workout unto itself. And for a pregnant woman, simply taking a walk is moderate exercise. Many people tell mothers that eating spicy food or consuming castor oil will help kickstart labor. At the very least they offer an excuse to dine on Thai food.



Actually, sex doesn’t induce labor, study says

This video is part of our series of videos all about the evidence on different natural induction methods. Having sex is commonly suggested to people as a way to get labor going at the end of pregnancy. But is it evidence-based?

Why Sex Can Be an Effective Way to Induce Labor

For a long time, women have been told that sex at the end of pregnancy would help bring on the contractions that signal labor. But is there solid scientific evidence that sex brings on labor? Human sperm contains substances called prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances that can help ripen the cervix and therefore help labor begin. Additional prostaglandins are released by the woman during sex. Since synthetic prostaglandins are used as a method of cervical ripening for labor induction, it seems logical that natural sources might also be useful. Sex play also often includes stimulating the breasts and nipples , which can result in releasing oxytocin. Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin that is used to cause uterine contractions and speed up labor, so this natural way to release it also would seem to be a logical way to stimulate labor.

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