Sex as a Way to Induce Labor

What You Need to Know About Sex at the End of Pregnancy

Pregnant woman lying with husband on bed
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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 will sex bring on labor? It's been used to try and induce labor for as long as women have been pregnant. Until recently everyone believed it.

What Studies Show

A study of over 90 women at the end of their pregnancies were asked about their sex lives. More than 50 of the women were still having sexual intercourse at the end of their pregnancies (after the 37th week).

According to this study, not only was sex not likely to induce labor but it actually seemed to delay labor for a couple of days. The group that was still having sex had an average gestational age of 39.9 weeks, while the group who was not having sex gave birth on average at 39.3 weeks. This difference is not really relevant to clinical practice, but when you're the pregnant woman - it's a different story.

The study wasn't able to measure the type of sex had by the women. It also did not take into account factors like depth of penetration, multiple orgasms or nipple stimulation.

There were no harmful effects of having sex late in pregnancy found.

Benefits of Having Sex Before Labor

Many moms and dads report that having sex makes them feel closer. Whether it brings on labor or not, why not have sex?

Sure, you can give me a long list of reasons why very pregnant women might not want to have sex: too big, pretty awkward, feeling tired.

There is nothing a little creativity, patience and love wouldn't work around if it was something you were willing to try. Being in a relaxed state of mind certainly helps labor progress faster once it's started. Many moms report that having sex helps them sleep. And simply connecting with your partner can be a really great thing as you both prepare to face parenthood.

So, can I promise you'll have the baby if you have sex at the end of your pregnancy? No. But to me the benefits seem to be adding up for the sex at the end of pregnancy being a good thing and the potential to cause labor.

Other Natural Methods of Labor Induction

Many women are turning towards natural methods of labor induction with some success. The most common home induction tricks can include:

More About Labor Induction


Jonathan Schaffir et al. "Sexual intercourse at term does not hasten the onset of labor or result in cervical ripening." Obstet Gynecol 2006 107: 1310-1314.

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