What Gets The Baby In Gets The Baby Out
There's more than one "big O"
Did you know you have contractions when you orgasm? Not the kind of long, strong and close together contractions that help labor progress -- because seriously, who would ever want to have sex again if that happened -- but your body releases oxytocin during the "big O." This powerful hormone causes uterine contractions and is key to helping labor progress. Pitocin, the synthetic form of oxytocin, is widely used in hospitals to induce labor, but if given the option, you may want to stay in your bed, getting some lovin' instead of getting hooked up to an I.V.
How your guy can get things started
If you want intercourse to naturally start labor, your partner should ejaculate inside your vagina. Semen contains prostaglandins, the hormone-like substances that soften your cervix in preparation for labor. Your doctor or midwife can apply artificial forms of prostaglandin to your cervix, but why not try the natural way? Your partner will probably love being your boy toy, and even if you don't go into labor right away, well, at least you had some fun!
More about inducing labor with prostaglandins>>
"There is good evidence that nipple stimulation can help induce natural oxytocin and can be useful in induction of labor," says Christine Swartz, M.D., of West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, Illinois. This can be done as part of sexual play with your partner, by using a breast pump or with a washcloth in the shower.
When you shouldn't do it
Due dates aren't an exact science, and you may be concerned about causing pre-term labor -- labor that starts before the end of the 37th week of pregnancy -- by having sex. Good news -- unless your doctor or midwife says otherwise, sex during pregnancy or used to induce labor should be fine. "Many women and their partners worry that sexual activity will cause preterm labor," says Swartz. "Most of the medical literature shows that there is no increase in preterm labor with intercourse or sexual activity during pregnancy."
You shouldn't have intercourse -- or insert anything into the vagina, for that matter -- if your bag of waters has broken, as this increases the risk of infection. Nipple stimulation or other forms of sexual activity without penetration are okay to try.
Will it work?
Sex as a means to induce labor may not always work -- some studies conclude it will, others conclude it won't. Unless your doctor or midwife says otherwise, it's worth a shot. After all, even stripping membranes, breaking the bag of waters or starting an I.V. drip of pitocin doesn't always kick-start labor right away.
Learn whether sex in late pregnancy really hastens birth>>
Bottom line? Whether you have sex to induce labor or use a medical form of labor induction, you will go into labor when your body -- and your baby -- is ready.