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Cynthia FlynnSex as Labor Trigger?
by Cynthia Flynn, CNM, Ph.D.

Q. I have heard that having sex close to your due date can trigger labor due to the fact that sperm contains prostaglandin. Is this actually the case, and what exactly is prostaglandin? If it does, is this a reliable trigger like nipple stimulation, or just something to try?

A. Yep, it actually works to soften the cervix. We use basically the same thing (PG gel) in the hospital to ripen the cervix. It supposedly doesn't actually stimulate labor, but we all know from our hospital experience that it does in some cases. It's only supposed to get the cervix ready. Both female orgasm (by any method) and nipple stimulation promote the production of oxytocin, the cousin of pitocin which we also use in the hospital to start labor. So yes, intercourse can stimulate labor in at least two known ways.

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