Does Having an Orgasm Help Induce Labor?
Since the dawn of time, women have been trying to induce labor with at-home tricks. Eating spicy foods, doing a handstand and going on a bumpy car ride are just a few items on a much longer list of birth-inducing folklore.
But one to potentially add to your list is getting it on. If you are at full term in your pregnancy and your doctor says it's all right to try, then by all means, have sex. Drop your older kids off at their grandparents' house and get ready for a night of intimacy (and maybe a new baby).
It's possible that sex, and the orgasms that go with it, can maybe help induce labor.
Do hormones due to sex help stimulate contractions?
While relaxing is one of the last things on a couple's mind toward the end of pregnancy, it can be one of the most beneficial moves you can make to induce labor.
Massage, for example, has plenty of benefits throughout the entire pregnancy. Once the birthing parent is full term, a massage can help release serotonin, a hormone necessary for birth, plus the act can get both of you in the mood.
"What gets the baby in, gets the baby out," said Melissa Cowl, a DONA-certified birth doula and director of education at the Doula Group in Ontario, Canada.
During sex, hormones and endorphins are released, which stimulates relaxation. Beginning with a massage or intimate touch can get the body warmed up for sexual activities while getting comfortable.
How does breast stimulation induce labor?
After you have helped your expecting partner relax by rubbing her back muscles, it's time to heat things up with some breast stimulation. Getting felt up can help induce labor at home.
When a pregnant woman is full term, stimulation of her breasts can lead to giving birth. Breast stimulation releases oxytocin, another hormone that her body requires toward the end of pregnancy to go into labor. The most important part to focus on is the nipple, using either your hand or mouth—anything that promotes greater relaxation and pleasure. The calmer and better she feels, the more oxytocin her body will release.
If this makes anyone uncomfortable, however, you can always try out your breast pump for around 20 minutes.
Can semen help cause labor?
While semen isn't as secretly nutrient-dense as some people may claim, it may prove helpful for going into labor naturally.
In order to go into labor, your cervix needs to ripen. This is done through the body introducing a hormone called prostaglandin. Semen is the biological source that is presumed to contain the highest prostaglandin concentration, according to a clinical review by the Clinical Effectiveness Support Unit at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London.
"If sex is with a male partner, the prostaglandins in semen also contribute to helping a baby and a body get into labor mode," Cowl added.
That means if you are full term and ready to induce labor, semen might be the best route to go.
Bonus? Having one last moment of intimacy before the baby comes is great, especially with sex being off the table for a while after the baby arrives.
Does an orgasm induce labor?
An orgasm can't induce labor but can hasten it, Cowl said.
"If it were that easy, we would have more orgasmic births and fewer pharmaceutical inductions of labor," Cowl said.
For someone at full term, anything to get contractions going is helpful in dilation and softening the cervix. Whether the pregnant woman is completely alone or with her partner, orgasms have been shown to include uterine contractions, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
When a woman orgasms, the muscles contract around the uterus, similar to contractions in labor. Taking the time to relax and fully orgasm can help your uterus begin those contractions and not stop until the baby is born.
More than labor
Reconnecting through sex can also keep intimacy alive during the third trimester. Any physical connection you can achieve before the baby is born may help with mental recovery, as well.
"As long as your doctor or midwife have not indicated that [sex] is not appropriate for you, it's perfectly safe, normal, acceptable and encouraged," Cowl said.
So have some fun and get that baby out the same way it came in. If sex and orgasms don't specifically induce labor, at least you'll have fun trying.