Q+A: Can Sex Bring On Labor?

Find out whether you need to avoid having sex.

Q. Can having sex at the end of pregnancy help bring on labor?

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A. "There isn't really any hard evidence that sex in the later stages of pregnancy can start labor," says Doreen Wiggins, MD, clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island. Still, she says, at least in theory, there are plenty of reasons why it might work.

First, semen contains compounds called prostaglandins that cause contractions. "When we induce someone, we often use a prostaglandin cream or gel to help soften the cervix," Dr. Wiggins explains.

Second, nipple stimulation and orgasm can also trigger uterine contractions. Whether it's enough to actually start labor is still uncertain. But provided your doctor clears you for sex, it certainly can't hurt, so feel free to go for it!

Pregnancy Month by Month: Month 9
Pregnancy Month by Month: Month 9

Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the March 2008 issue of American Baby magazine.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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