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Does Having Sex induce Labor?

One early study reported that sexual intercourse was associated with earlier onset of labor and reduced the need for labor induction at 41 weeks . More recent studies have not shown that increased sexual activity softens the cervix or brings on labor more rapidly.

Although semen contains prostaglandins which are known to soften the cervix and cause contractions the amount of prostaglandin delivered with each encounter may not be enough or vary too much in quantity  to give consistent results.


1. Tan PC, et. al., Effect of coitus at term on length of gestation, induction of labor, and mode of delivery. Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Jul;108(1):134-40. PMID: 16816067
2. Schaffir J.Sexual intercourse at term and onset of labor.Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Jun;107(6):1310-4.PMID: 16738157
3. Omar NS, et. al., Coitus to expedite the onset of labour: a randomised trialBJOG. 2013 Feb;120(3):338-45. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.12054. Epub 2012 Nov 12.PMID: 23145957
4. Tan PC, et. al., Effect of coital activity on onset of labor in women scheduled for labor induction: a randomized controlled trial.Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Oct;110(4):820-6.PMID: 17906015
5. Yost NP, et. al.,Effect of coitus on recurrent preterm birth. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network. Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Apr;107(4):793-7. PMID: 16582114
6. Gerozissis K, et. Origin of prostaglandins in human semen. al., J Reprod Fertil. 1982 Jul;65(2):401-4. PMID: 6896529
7. Cooper TG, et. al., World Health Organization reference values for human semen characteristics.Hum Reprod Update. 2010 May-Jun;16(3):231-45. PMID: 1993421


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