Pregnancy

Busting the myths! Science proves sex will NOT bring on labour

Sorry to disappoint but researchers claim having sex will NOT induce labour.

The old wives’ tale claiming sex can trigger labour in pregnant women has been disproven by a team of Italian researchers.

Male embracing his sleepy woman

Busting the myths! Science proves sex will NOT bring on labour

It’s often thought that when the woman orgasms, it will help trigger contractions. While semen is said to contain chemicals similar to those in drugs given to induce labour.

Italian scientists have discovered this is not true.

Researchers led by Luigi Carbone at the University of Naples, said the theory has been circulating since around the 1970s.

‘There are many physiological explanations for this assumption,’ they wrote.

‘Semen is rich in prostaglandins E and F2α (in lower dosages), which are those used for induction of labor.

‘Coitus [sex] may have also mechanical effects because there can be an increase in uterine contractions after it. Even female orgasm has been associated with uterine contractility.’

There is also evidence that, a few hours after sex, the concentration of lipids called prostaglandins, which control processes such as blood flow and the induction of labour, rise in the cervical mucus of pregnant women.

The study consisted of 1,500 women each pregnant with one child were included in the studies, according to the paper published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Two of the studies asked Malaysian women at full term to have sex as many times as possible, while the control group was neither encouraged nor discouraged.

Women in the third trial, from Portugal, were asked to have sex at least two times a week after full-term, or to avoid it completely.

According to the findings, there was no correlation between having sex and having a spontaneous labour or an artificial induction.

Women who were randomly put in the intercourse group had a similar incidence of spontaneous labour, compared with the no-sex group.

There didn’t seem to be any negative effects of sex, however, so the researchers said intercourse needn’t be restricted.

They wrote: ‘Further studies are needed to properly evaluate the impact of orgasm, penetration, condom use, frequency of intercourse and other factors on induction of labour at term.’

If you are desperate to meet your little one some of these tips might be handy to know – 7 ways and wives’ tales that could induce labour

Busting the myths!

MYTH – Nipple stimulation induces labour – TRUE

Researchers note that nipple stimulation has been found to work.

Six trials, covering 719 women, found a minimum of one hour of nipple play for three days increased the number of women going into labour.

The release of the ‘cuddle hormone’ oxytocin, nipple stimulation reportedly softens and widens the cervix, a natural process during labour called ripening.

MYTH – I need to get rid of my cat – FALSE

Toxoplasmosis is an illness caused by a parasite that can be found in undercooked or raw meat, raw eggs, cat faeces, and soil or cat litter contaminated with infected cat faeces.

The parasite must be ingested, making it more likely that a woman would contract toxoplasmosis from eating uncooked or raw meat than from a cat-related source.

MYTH – You can’t dye your hair – FALSE!

While hair dye does contain chemicals, there are no reports of the amounts used in hair dye causing problems in human pregnancies. Very little hair dye is actually absorbed into your system when you dye your hair.

MYTH – Sex during pregnancy is a NO because “The baby will know” – FALSE

Experts agree that there’s no evidence sex can cause physical or psychological harm to your child.

MYTH – The shape of your belly can predict the gender of your baby – FALSE

Carrying low apparently means you’re having a boy. If your belly is higher up, it’s a girl.

But actually, stomach muscles stretch with subsequent pregnancies. So, if a woman’s belly is higher up, it probably just means she has strong abdominal muscles or it’s her first pregnancy.

MYTH – The heart rate of a fetus can predict the gender – FALSE

The normal fetal heart rate for all babies in utero ranges from 120 to 160 beats per minute.

MYTH – Experiencing heartburn during pregnancy means your baby will be born with hair – TRUE!

A small study found that women with mild to severe heartburn gave birth to babies with hair. Researchers think there may be a connection between pregnancy hormones relaxing both parts of the lower esophagus and being responsible for fetal hair growth.

We have busted a few more myths during pregnancy have a look below:

Can you really not eat sushi when pregnant?

Can your belly button reveal your unborn baby’s gender?

6 ridiculous period myths

7 things you need to know if you’re trying to fall pregnant

10 Old Wives Tales That Are Actually True

tracy-hardy
written by:

Tracy Hardy

Tracy has been a digital content producer for the past 9 years. Mum of two boys, slowly finding her way through the tween and teen years at the same time. Beach lover. Terrible housekeeper. Tea drinker. Wine sipper, who sadly can't eat cheese or ice cream. Life is cruel!