Pregnancy

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Using A Vibrator Might Induce Labor

And it’ll definitely help you unwind.

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Many women will go to great lengths to induce labor when they’re at or past their due date. All that waiting is no longer comfortable or sweet — it’s downright agonizing and you’re over it. You’ll go for strenuous walks, eat spicy foods, and have sex with their partners — anything to get labor started. But what if I told you that you didn’t need a partner to help you go into labor and you could potentially do it yourself with an orgasm brought on by a little self-love? What if using a vibrator to induce labor is the key to it all?

Can using a vibrator induce labor?

Yes and no, says Dr. Jamil Abdur-Rahman, a board-certified OB-GYN practicing at Vista East Medical Center in Waukegan, Illinois. “Using a vibrator to masturbate can induce labor, but only under certain circumstances,” he says. And exactly what circumstances would that be? Well, your uterus will only contract when it’s ready to contract. “When men and women have orgasms, their brains produce the ‘love hormone,’ oxytocin. Oxytocin is also the ‘labor hormone’ that causes uterine contractions and stimulates labor. So yes, boosting oxytocin levels by using a vibrator can induce labor by causing the uterus to contract," Abdur-Rahman says. However, your uterus will only contract if it’s ripe, which is the term used to refer to a full-term uterus that has a “sufficient number of oxytocin receptors on it to respond to increasing oxytocin levels.”

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Is it safe to use a vibrator when pregnant?

Because your uterus will only contract if it’s ripe and ready, it’s safe for most people with healthy, low-risk pregnancies to use a vibrator during pregnancy. In early pregnancy, oxytocin receptors are low starting out, and as your pregnancy progresses, “part of [your body’s] preparation involves the number of oxytocin receptors on the uterus increasing. This makes the uterus able to respond to oxytocin at full term so that it can labor,” Abdur-Rahman explains.

When should you not use a vibrator during pregnancy?

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Masturbating with a vibrator is not recommended for some higher-risk pregnancies. You should not use a vibrator if you’ve experienced:

If a woman has had a premature rupturing of the membranes — meaning her bag of water has broken too soon — the baby’s sterile environment has been compromised, too. “Introducing a vibrator into the vagina once the baby's sterile uterine environment has been compromised can introduce bacteria into the uterus that are normally found in the vagina but not in the uterus,” explains Abdur-Rahman. “That could make a vulnerable baby very sick.”

If you have placenta previa, you probably already know that, unfortunately, orgasm or sex of any kind is off the table. “Placing anything into the vagina, if it touches the cervix in the process, can cause the placenta to bleed severely. Worse case scenario, this can compromise the life of both mom and baby,” Abdur-Rahman warns.

As long as you don’t have placenta previa, haven't gone into premature labor, and haven't had premature rupturing of your membranes, it should be totally fine to use your vibrator at any point during your pregnancy. And if you wait until the end when your uterus is “ready,” it could even lead to labor.

Expert:

Dr. Jamil Abdur-Rahman, a board-certified OB-GYN practicing at Vista East Medical Center in Waukegan, Illinois.

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