Orgasms can release oxytocin to help induce labor.
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Oh Yeah, Orgasms While Masturbating Could Help Induce Labor, Too

And you don’t even have to do any extra work.

by Meg Kehoe and Angelique Serrano
Originally Published: 

By the time you make it to through that ninth month of pregnancy, you deserve an award (besides the baby, of course). Especially if your baby thinks that hanging out in the womb a little longer is the best plan of action. Which is when you turn to every myth about inducing labor and consider tricks to try and help the baby along. Curry, spicy foods, exercise, acupuncture, castor oil, sex, the list goes on. But what about a little self-love? If an orgasm potentially helps jumpstart labor, wouldn’t masturbation be useful at inducing labor? The answer may not always be clear, but there are correlations between the two acts.

Let’s talk about sex during pregnancy.

Yes, if you’re physically and emotionally up for it, sex during pregnancy can be safe and super satisfying.

When you reach climax during masturbation (or sex), your brain releases oxytocin from its pituitary gland into your bloodstream. Oxytocin, affectionately referred to as “the love hormone,” increases those warm fuzzy feelings. But oxytocin is more than just a lovey-dovey hormone for happiness and cuddling.

It has been well-established that oxytocin may kickstart labor. And you might know that hospitals often use a drug called pitocin to induce labor when needed. That’s not a coincidence. “Oxytocin and pitocin are the same thing — [pitocin is] just a synthetic form of oxytocin,” says Dr. Leah Millheiser, M.D., OB-GYN, clinical professor, and director of the Female Sexual Medicine Program at Stanford Medicine.

So the question remains, can masturbation, and a release of oxytocin, induce labor? Well, it’s more about how much oxytocin is released when you have an orgasm, and whether or not that's an effective amount to induce your labor naturally.

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Yes, having orgasms may help induce labor.

Including the ones you give yourself. Self-stimulation can still produce a release of oxytocin if you have an orgasm, and if your labor is in its early stages, there’s a chance it’ll speed things along.

“[But] the amount of oxytocin you release during orgasm is not the same as what you get through that IV bag of pitocin, so it’s likely not enough,” Millheiser says. If a person is in early labor and having mild, not-painful contractions, then a release of oxytocin, whether through self-stimulation, a partner offering stimulation, or even nipple stimulation, could help move labor along a little faster, Millheiser says, though this is mostly anecdotally supported. “If you’re able to, and you’re comfortable enough to self-stimulate, there’s nothing wrong with that.”

But talk to your healthcare providers if you have questions, concerns or conditions that might impact masturbating or having sex while pregnant. If the idea of talking to your doctor about sex and masturbation makes you uncomfortable, try to work through the awkwardness. This conversation will be worth it because it can help keep you safe — and happy.


Dr. Leah Millheiser, M.D., OB-GYN, clinical professor, and director of the Female Sexual Medicine Program at Stanford Medicine

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