Any woman who has been pregnant and reached that epically long 40th week, when the belly feels bigger than her bed, and the bladder smaller than a bedbug, will remember the ancient wisdom that was then, and only then, passed along to her. She will be handed the magical potion that can get it all over with. Sex. Yes, that act that got her into this situation, is said to get her out of it.
There’s a lot of sense to the ancient wisdom. We know that stimulating the nipples gets contractions going, that orgasm is basically uterine contractions and that there is a substance in the semen, called prostaglandin, which is synthesized and used to bring on contractions in hospitals. If you had interest in anything sexual, which you don’t, you’d add the reasoning that the ninth month is really the longest year of your life, so a single orgasm could seem as if it were lasting forever.
But, alas, you can tell all your moms and grandmoms that they, like you, were duped. When this widespread belief was recently put to scientific scrutiny, researchers found that good old-fashioned sex may be a fun way to pass the time, assuming pregnant acrobatics is fun for you, but it is not bringing that baby out any quicker than lying like a beached whale and complaining.
An OBGYN from the University of Malaya in Malaysia (Tan Peng Chiong, International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Nov 2012) followed over 1,100 women through their final weeks and showed that having sex had no effect on the start of labour. While physicians’ advice for women to have as much sex as possible once they are ready to birth, has no harmful effects, it definitely has its advantages. For starters, well, having more sex. And further, it gives the OBGYN something to offer their uber-hormonal patient who is visiting the clinic for the fifth time that week.
“We are a little disappointed” were the words of the lead researcher, Prof. Tan on his findings. “It would have been nice for couples to have something safe, effective and perhaps even fun that they could use themselves to help go into labor a little earlier if (they) wanted.” You’re a little disappointed? And what about the generations of men who were finally getting some? Not just getting a bit after the long, dry third trimester, but were being begged for it, and were lapping it up because it was all they’d have to hold onto for a long, long time after the big day came.
Maybe for the sake of the men who could always have some more, for the women who could quite frankly use the release of tension and for the babies being born into a family with a recently refreshed good connection, we could just pretend that this little study never happened. Mums the word.