Forget raspberry leaf tea and a hot curry, sex is the most fun way to bring on labour if you’re overdue, help ease contractions and speed up your birth (yes, really!)
Remember that scene in Friends, where a pregnant Rachel’s trying to convince ex-boyfriend Ross to have sex with her to kick-start labour? And, yep, it’s the first thing someone will joke about when you say you’re overdue. But, funny as the idea is, how much truth is there in the whole getting-it-on-to-bring-on-birth advice?
Well, oxytocin is one of the main hormones involved in driving your labour and that just happens to be produced when you orgasm. There’s also an old school of thought that says the hormone prostaglandin in a man’s semen plays a key role in inducing labour, but there’s no evidence for this (no matter what he might tell you!).
What positions might be good at this late stage of pregnancy, then?
‘Deep penetration can be uncomfortable because your baby’s head is lower,’ says Petra. ‘Lying on your side with your back to your partner can work, or sometimes missionary can be OK, but with your partner kneeling over you so he’s not pressing on your stomach. You can prop yourself up with cushions and pillows, as well.’
Oxytocin is one of the main hormones involved in driving your labour and that just happens to be produced when you orgasm
A helping hand
When you are in labour, getting aroused can help you have less painful contractions. ‘Nipple and clitoral stimulation actually can speed up your labour, too,’ says Petra.
So in the early stages (and in private, obvs), you may find that masturbating or using a vibrator really helps ease pain and move things on.
‘It releases the hormone oxytocin, which stops you feeling tense and anxious – this is crucial because being stressed can slow down the progress,’ says Petra.
If you’re intrigued enough to try it, keep Anne Summer’s finest hidden from the hospital staff.
‘I speak from personal experience – if you’re going to take your vibrator to hospital but get rushed to theatre, the medical team will unpack for you,’ says Petra. ‘And they’ll make your partner explain why there’s a sex toy in it!’