By the time you make it to through that ninth month of pregnancy, you deserve an award (besides the baby, of course). Especially if your baby thinks that hanging out in the womb a little longer is the best plan of action. Which is when you turn to every myth about inducing labor and consider tricks to try and help the baby along. Curry, spicy foods, exercise, acupuncture, castor oil, sex, the list goes on. But what about a little self-love? If an orgasm potentially helps jumpstart labor, wouldn’t masturbation be useful at inducing labor? The answer may not always be clear, but there are correlations between the two acts.
Let’s Talk About Sex During Pregnancy
Yes, if you’re physically and emotionally up for it, sex during pregnancy can be safe and super satisfying.
When you reach climax during masturbation (and during sex), your brain releases oxytocin from its pituitary gland into your bloodstream. Oxytocin, affectionately referred to as "the love hormone," increases those warm fuzzy feelings. But oxytocin is more than just a lovey-dovey hormone for happiness and cuddling.
It has been noted that oxytocin may induce labor. And you might know that hospitals often use a drug called pitocin to help induce labor. “Oxytocin and pitocin are the same thing — [pitocin is] just a synthetic form of oxytocin,” Dr. Leah Millheiser, OB-GYN and SVP of medical affairs at Hims & Hers, tells Romper. So the question remains, can masturbation, and a release of oxytocin, induce labor? Well, it’s more about how much oxytocin is released when you have an orgasm, and whether or not that's an effective amount to induce your labor naturally.
Having Orgasms May Help Induce Labor
Yes, self-stimulation can produce a release of oxytocin if you have an orgasm. “[But] the amount of oxytocin you release during orgasm is not the same as what you get through that IV bag of pitocin,” Millheiser tells Romper. “So it’s likely not enough.” However, Dr. Millheiser points out that if a person is in early labor and having mild, not-painful contractions, then a release of oxytocin, whether through self-stimulation, a partner offering stimulation, or even nipple stimulation, could help move labor along a little faster, a notion that is mostly anecdotally supported. “If you’re able to, and you’re comfortable enough to self-stimulate, there’s nothing wrong with that.”
But talk to your healthcare providers if you have questions, concerns or conditions that might impact masturbating or having sex while pregnant. If the idea of talking to your doctor about sex and masturbation makes you uncomfortable, try to work though the awkwardness, because the dialogue is valuable, and can help keep you safe — and happy.
Dr. Leah Millheiser, Ob-Gyn and SVP of medical affairs at Hims & Hers.
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