Many women reach a point in their pregnancy when they are just over it. With a due date in close sight (or perhaps one come and gone), you may be ready to test out some of those DIY methods for encouraging labor sooner rather than later. One of the most commonly recommended methods for an at-home “induction” is a good old-fashioned romp; according to proponents of this induction method, semen has the ability to bring on labor. But if you’re used to peeing after sex (a good routine, honestly), how does that affect jumpstarting labor? Will peeing right after sex ruin all your hard work? After all, if you’re going to get busy at 40 weeks pregnant, you probably want to make it worth the effort.
The Theory Behind Sex Inducing Labor
As Fit Pregnancy magazine pointed out, there are a few hypotheses for why sex can induce labor, and perhaps the combination of these is why some women swear by doing the deed to get the process moving. The most widely accepted theory is that the prostaglandins contained in semen soften and ripen the cervix. In fact, prostaglandins are an ingredient used in medical induction, which seems to add some merit to this idea. Add to this the ability of the female orgasm to bring on labor, and it seems you have yourself a bright prospect for speeding up your delivery date.
But what does the science show? “There is no evidence to back the idea that having intercourse can start labor,” says Dr. Marta Perez, board certified OB-GYN, laborist, and “your best friend OB-GYN” on Instagram, in an interview with Romper. Don’t let that discourage you from testing out the theory though! “Sex is not harmful in pregnancy and intimacy with one's partner is wonderful, there is no reason not to try it if sex feels good to you and relieves the stress of the last few weeks of pregnancy,” Dr. Perez adds. Plus, you may not find quite as much time for romance once your new roommate arrives.
Peeing After Sex When Trying To Induce Labor
Once the action is over, what's a girl to do? Because the theory states that prostaglandins against your cervix will help it ripen and dilate, it might seem like staying horizontal and letting gravity do its thing might be helpful. Remember when Kim Kardashian notoriously overshared that she remains lying down after sex to let it “marinate inside”?
Quite bluntly, the idea that you should wait to pee when trying to induce labor through sex isn’t sound. “Urinating and vaginal intercourse have nothing to do with one another,” says Dr. Perez. “Our urethra where we pee from and our vagina are separate genital organs.” So if you need to pee, pee! The two acts are unrelated, and holding your pee isn’t going to do anything except make you uncomfortable.
In fact, waiting to urinate post-sex can potentially have negative effects. “Because UTIs are often caused by the mechanics of sex — bacteria moving around the genital area — peeing before and after sex can help prevent them,” an article from Planned Parenthood states. So while peeing after intercourse doesn’t “wash away” the semen near your cervix, it actually can flush bacteria out of the urethra. While it’s not foolproof UTI prevention, it may help ward them off — something that’s particularly important while pregnant.
“UTIs in pregnancy can more easily turn to kidney infections than in non-pregnant individuals and may be harder to detect,” says Dr. Perez. She explains that symptoms of a UTI include painful urination, foul smelling urine or urine containing blood, and increased frequency. If you think you might have a UTI, especially if you’re pregnant, talk with your healthcare provider right away.
When To Skip Sex Altogether
Unfortunately, sex isn’t safe for each and every pregnant woman. Some conditions, like cervical insufficiency and placenta previa, may require pelvic rest. This means no penetrative vaginal intercourse, doctor’s orders. Of course, your doctor will let you know if you fall into this category.
Another time you absolutely shouldn’t be getting it on? After your water has broken! “Having sex with broken amniotic membranes would raise the risk of infection that could harm you and the baby,” Dr. Perez says. If you think your water may have broken, especially if you’re pre-term, you need to contact your doctor straight away. Remember: it’s not always the massive gush you see in the movies. Sometimes, you may only experience a slight leak or trickle.
So, the moral of the story? Some people swear that having sex sent them into labor, and barring any medical issues or broken waters, you may as well give it a shot. However, holding your pee after sex is unlikely to speed up the process, and it could actually cause issues. Even if having intercourse doesn’t wind up inducing your labor, it’s a fabulous way to relieve some stress during those uncomfortable final days of pregnancy.
Dr. Marta Perez, board-certified OB-GYN, laborist, and “your best friend OB-GYN” on Instagram
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