BLOG: Medical myth: Sex does not induce labour.

Would you try it? Even if you knew it probably wouldn’t work?


Tired, cranky, uncomfortable pregnant women who are past their due date will pretty much do anything to bring on labour.

I should know. I was one of them.

At 41.5 weeks pregnant in October 2008, my daughter Ava wasn’t about to budge.  No twinges. No Braxton Hicks. Nada.  She was like one of those bull-headed squatters Tracy Grimshaw likes to take a torch to on A Current Affair.

And so like the slightly insane heavily pregnant woman I was, I started eating loads of hot curry, going for walks around the garden and trying to lure my husband into having sex with me.

(I say lure. I think bully might be a better term. I wasn’t the calmest, most rational person at the time.  Having sex with me was probably as appealing as having sex with Miranda Priestley. Except at the time, the devil didn’t wear Prada. She was wearing elasticised trakky-daks and an XXXL  Mama Loves Obama t-shirt and had Cheezel crumbs around her mouth.)

What’s my point?

Okay my point is none of it worked and before you can say ‘strip and stretch’  I was experiencing a ‘strip and stretch’ (don’t ask) and then spent two days failing to be induced.

FUN! And then we realised her head was so big it was jammed against my hips and an emergency c-section saved me from being turned into a wishbone. Ah, good memories.

So I can’t say I was surprised to read the following story on The Conversation recently about the ‘myths’  that are still circulating on how to bring on labour.

Time’s ticking…. And nothing is happening.

Around a quarter of all Australian pregnancies are medically induced, with a third of those inductions occurring due to pregnancy continuing beyond term (40 weeks).

Induction is not without its risks and discomfort and it is understandable that women may look to some alternate method of inducing labour.

One American study reported that half of women who reach their due dates attempt to initiate labour through a variety of non-medical techniques.

There is a proliferation of DIY methods to induce labour that can be found online, and one of the most common recommendations is to have sex. But does sex initiate labour?

There are biologically plausible reasons why having sex at term may help to speed the arrival of a baby. First, semen is a natural source of prostaglandins, which are used in synthetic form to encourage cervical ripening in preparation for labour. Second, sex plus or minus orgasm has been found to increase uterine activity, and nipple stimulation is also thought to stimulate the uterus to induce labour.

Plus the couples who had sex to induce labour, all gave birth to babies sporting a black eye.


We all know it’s impossible for your partner’s Thrill Drill (too much?) to poke your baby in the eye.

At least I don’t think it will.

Anyway … if you’ve been pregnant (or know someone who has been) … what kind of crazy things did you try to bring on labour? More importantly did any of them work?

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