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If you’ve ever been pregnant or are thinking of starting a family, chances are you’ll hear this as you approach the end of your ninth month: ‘Heading to the bedroom with your partner is a sure-fire way to instigate labour! Just try it!’
And millions of women have – it’s recommended in all the baby books and everybody and their grandmother appears to believe it, so how can it be wrong?
It turns out that it can. A new study from Malaysia found out – ‘disappointingly’, in the words of the lead doctor’ – that getting intimate makes absolutely no difference to ‘kick-starting’ your labour.
They studied 1100 women – not a small sample size – and split them into two groups.
One were told that getting intimate throughout the pregnancy, and particularly near the end, would help labour, while the others were told that sexual activity was safe but not liable to bring on contractions or help with birth.
Turns out that regardless of your bedroom activity, no amount of orgasms makes a difference to when your baby decides to emerge.
No matter what the women were told, the same amount in both groups had to be induced to help their labour begin.
So why has the myth entrenched itself – and why did doctors buy into it too? There are actually some aspects to intimacy which should, on paper, help get things started.
Semen contains substances that are actually used by doctors attempting to prompt induced labour, and hormones released during intimacy and orgasm have been linked to contractions. However, it seems that it has no effect at all!
The good news? Scientists continue to discover more proof that intimacy during pregnancy, at any stage, is perfectly safe, unless your doctor says otherwise.
Many women still profess uneasiness at getting dirty, particularly when the baby is in the late stages, thinking that it will somehow ‘startle’ or harm the foetus. However, it’s eminently well-protected, and the female reproductive system is arranged so that intercourse can continue far into the pregnancy.
The best position for the heavily pregnant? Doctors recommend on your side, from behind, to ease stress on the back.
So there you have it – your myths about intimacy during pregnancy busted!
Lady Friday xx
Taking the pillow talk out of the bedroom, every Friday…