You are past your due date. And you are ready. Oh. So Ready! After carrying a baby for 9 months, not being able to sneeze without peeing on yourself and hardly being able to get out of bed or see your feet without doing some sort of creative pregnancy gymnastics – you are more than ready to have your baby.
Once a woman passes her due date, this generalized state of anxiety sets in. After all, you have waited long enough – and so you start scouring the internet and baby books about ways to bring on labor. Of course, there are hundreds of different pieces of advice you will receive from well meaning friends and family about how to bring on labor. “Take a walk,” they will say. “Sex will bring on labor,” they will mock.
Can sex really bring on labor? And even more curious, is how in the world are you going to have sex with your partner when you are in such a precarious state?
The notion of sex and nipple stimulation to bring on labor has been around for eons. According to a Reuters Survey, around 39.9% of women are still having sex with their partners in the third trimester. The ‘thinking’ behind sex to bring on labor is that it will help to cause the kind of rhythmic uterine contractions that will jumpstart labor. Additionally, sperm and the hormones released during the female orgasm are said to contain prostaglandins that ‘can’ induce labor and help to efface the cervix.
The reality is that sex to bring on labor won’t hurt anything. In fact, it may be a great way to get your mind off the stress of NOT being in labor and passing your due date, which can be therapeutic on many levels. However, some new studies coming out are saying that sex to bring on labor is quite simply an old wives tale – and that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that sex can actually induce your labor and delivery. In fact researchers who studied sex in pregnant women past the 37th week of pregnancy found that having sex or not having sex made little to no difference in how quickly the pregnant mother went into labor. What the study did inadvertently show is that conclusively, in a healthy pregnancy, sex in the third trimester is safe and can be enjoyable.
Labor is triggered by such a complicated series of chemical reactions and hormones, that no one thing – such as taking a walk, or having sex, can be credited for starting labor. Both the mother and baby have important, innate, physiological jobs to do when it comes to starting labor and delivery. While the introduction of sperm can help to soften and efface the cervix, it probably isn’t the cure all to starting labor and delivery.
Still – you are likely desperate. And choosing between taking a walk with swollen feet, getting diarrhea by ingesting something disgusting and having sex is a no brainer. So go ahead and in the infamous words of Nike, “Just do it!”
What tips do you have for women who want to bring on labor? Have you or anyone you know tried having sex to bring on labor?
Written By Stef, Mom of 4 @MOM-SPIRATIONAL
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