Every year, one in five labours are medically induced in the UK, and induction is offered to all women who don't go into labour naturally by 42 weeks. Induction is not without its risks and discomfort, and it is understandable that women may look to some alternate method of inducing labour. One American study reported that half of women who reach their due dates attempt to initiate labour through a variety of non-medical techniques. There is a proliferation of DIY methods to induce labour that can be found online, and one of the most common recommendations is to have sex. But does sex initiate labour?
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But can sex induce labor in full-term women? And are there risks for having sex in the last few weeks of pregnancy? While studies on the topic are still limited, sexy time could be your ticket to labor and delivery. Sex might seem the obvious solution to speeding along labor: Contractions of the uterus are part and parcel of having an orgasm, and they can be quite powerful and last up to half an hour. Sperm contains prostaglandins, or fatty acids that act like hormones, which are also produced by your uterus to thin and dilate the cervix and jump-start contractions in preparation for delivery. In fact, medications used by doctors to induce labor like misoprostol contain a synthetic version of prostaglandins that have been shown to help speed along labor. Oxytocin is also commonly used by doctors in a synthetic form to induce labor.
When questioned by Britain's Got Talent co-star Stephen Mulhern how long it took them to have sex post-baby, the year-old quipped, "As soon as possible - you've got to get back on the game straight away! But while the TV presenter clearly had no qualms about discussing his sex life, the question 'When is the right time to get intimate again? Debbie Hodge, 44, is a writer and lives in south-east London with her children Felix, 20, Ella, 14, Izzy, 10, and Amelia, four. I enjoy sex, and after each of my first three pregnancies I made love again with my partner within a fortnight. My fourth child Amelia was a happy surprise.
Angela Gallo during labor. Photo courtesy of Lacey Barratt Photography. Ask most women about their birthing stories, and sexual pleasure doesn't come into play.