Labor might be the least orgasmic thing that many people can think of (well, except for the people who practice “orgasmic birth,” I suppose). It’s a painful process, and if you deliver vaginally, it involves literally pushing another human being out of your body. Still, the idea that the Big O can play a role in labor induction is well-known and often-suggested. But what does the science say? Can orgasms help induce labor in women who are ready to give birth?
Finding natural ways to induce labor is a popular practice because, by the time most people reach the full-term of their pregnancy (which, for newbies, is 37 weeks or later), they’re usually ready to welcome their baby into the world. Or, more likely, stop feeling the pains your third trimester brings. My pregnancy was so uncomfortable that as soon as I learned I was full-term, I started drinking raspberry leaf tea and popping evening primrose oil in the hopes of getting my cervix primed (and softened) for labor.
Of all the natural ways to induce labor, having an orgasm definitely qualifies as the most pleasurable, but does it actually work? Well, that’s up for debate. Take a look at the evidence and decide for yourself.
Can An Orgasm Induce Labor?
It’s common folklore that having sex can help bring on labor when you’re nearing the end of a pregnancy, but here’s some truth to it. In speaking with Dr. Leah Torres, an OB-GYN specializing in reproductive health, she explains that having an orgasm releases oxytocin, which is a hormone that makes the uterus contract during labor (Pitocin, which is often given to pregnant people to help induce or speed up their labor, is a synthetic form of oxytocin). Torres specifies that this doesn’t take effect until the third trimester. So in theory, orgasming while very pregnant could help bring on labor. But recent studies have found no association between orgasm and labor induction in cisgender women.
Does Sperm Play A Role In Inducing Labor?
Although it makes sense that a woman’s orgasms could speed up the delivery process, it’s hard to understand how a sperm-producing partner’s orgasm could aid in the process. But remember — orgasms produce hormones and, in the case of a male, that is called prostaglandins. This hormone in sperm soften and ripen the cervix, which is a necessary part of labor, according to What To Expect. Torres, however, says that she can’t say that sperm has any real effect when it comes to labor induction. And, like its counterpart, research has yet to find a link between sperm and induction of labor.
Although there’s no proof that having an orgasm can help get that baby out any faster, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to have one in the final weeks of pregnancy. After all, oxytocin doesn’t just stimulate uterine contractions. Live Science notes that oxytocin promotes bonding, so climax is a great way to bring you and your partner a little bit closer before the little one arrives. Plus, since sex is out of the question for at least six weeks following childbirth, this just might be your last chance to get your rocks off for a little while. So if you’re up to it, I say go for it! And if it does induce labor, then that’s even better.