Effect of vaginal intercourse on spontaneous labor at term: a randomized controlled trial

Abstract

Objective

This study aimed at evaluating the effect of vaginal intercourse on spontaneous labor onset at term.

Methods

In a randomized controlled trial, patients with singleton, cephalic, term, and low-risk pregnancy were assigned to either vaginal intercourse at least twice a week or abstinence. The following data were assessed: demographics, parity, vaginal coitus frequency before and during pregnancy, Bishop score at 38th weeks, gestational age at delivery, mode of delivery, and days between recruitment and delivery. The primary outcome was spontaneous labor onset.

Results

Of the 123 patient analyzed, 63 were assigned to study group and 60 to control group. Mean interval between study recruitment and delivery was higher in sexually active women (15.05 days ± 0.8 compared with 14.17 days ± 0.8, p = 0.45) as well as the rate of cesarean delivery (14.3 % compared with 10 %, p = 0.58), but the differences were not statistically significant. The rate of spontaneous labor was similar in both groups (84.1 % in vaginal coitus group; 75 % in control group, p = 0.26).

Conclusion

Our results showed that vaginal intercourse does not hasten spontaneous labor onset at term.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  1. 1.

    American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2004) Management of post term pregnancy. Practice Bulletin No. 55. Obstet Gynecol 3:639–646

  2. 2.

    Zeitlin J, Blondel B, Alexander S, Bréart G, Peristat Group (2007) Variation in rates of post term birth in Europe: reality or artefact? Br J Obstet Gynaecol 114:1097–1103

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Mandruzzato G, Alfirevic Z, Chervenak F, Gruenebaum A, Heimstad R, Heinonen S et al (2010) Guidelines for the management of post term pregnancy. J Perinat Med 38:111–119

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Wennerholm UB, Hagberg H, Brorsson B, Bergh C (2009) Induction of labor versus expectant management for post-date pregnancy: is there sufficient evidence for a change in clinical practice? Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 88:6–17

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Government Statistical Service. NHS maternity statistics, England: 2010–2011 December 2011.

  6. 6.

    Vahratian A, Zhang J, Troendle JF, Sciscione AC, Hoffman MK (2005) Labor progression and risk of cesarean delivery in electively induced nulliparas. Obstet Gynecol 105:698–704

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Luthy DA, Malmgren JA, Zingheim RW (2004) Cesarean delivery after elective induction in nulliparous women: the physician effect. Am J Obstet Gynecol 191:1511–1515

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Seyb ST, Berka RJ, Socol ML, Dooley SL (1999) Risk of cesarean delivery with elective induction of labor at term in nulliparous women. Obstet Gynecol 94:600–607

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Goodlin RC, Keller DW, Raffin M (1971) Orgasm during late pregnancy: possible deleterious effects. Obstet Gynecol 38:916–920

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Kavanagh J, Kelly AJ, Thomas J (2005) Breast stimulation for cervical ripening and induction of labor (Cochrane Review). In: The Cochrane library, no 3. Update Software, Oxford.

  11. 11.

    Chayen B, Tejani N, Verma UL, Gordon G (1986) Fetal heart rate changes and uterine activity during coitus. Acta Obstet Scand 65:853–855

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Bendvold E, Gottlieb C, Svanborg K, Bygdeman M, Eneroth P (1987) Concentration of prostaglandins in seminal fluid of fertile men. Int J Androl 10:463–469

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Schaffir J (2002) Survey of folk beliefs about induction of labor. Birth 29:47–51

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Tomlinson AJ, Colliver D, Nelson J, Jackson F (1999) Does sexual intercourse at term influence the onset of labor? A survey of attitudes of patients and their partners. J Obstet Gynecol 19:466–468

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Kavanagh J, Kelly AJ, Thomas J (2001) Sexual intercourse for cervical ripening and induction of labour (Cochrane Review). In: The Cochrane library, no 2. Update Software, Oxford.

  16. 16.

    Tan PC, Andi A, Azmi N, Noraihan MN (2006) Effect of coitus at term on length of gestation, induction of labor, and mode of delivery. Obstet Gynecol 108:134–140

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Tan PC, Yow CM, Omar SZ (2007) Effect of coital activity on onset of labor in women scheduled for labor induction––a Randomized controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol 110:820–826

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Schaffir J (2006) Sexual intercourse at term and onset of labor. Obstet Gynecol 107:1310–1314

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Bendvold E (1990) Coitus and induction of labor. Tidsskrift for Jordmodre 96:6–8.

  20. 20.

    Tan PC, Yow CM, Omar SZ (2009) Coitus and orgasm at term: effect on spontaneous labor and pregnancy outcome. Singapore Med J 50:1062–1067

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Omar N, Tan P, Sabir N, Yusop E, Omar S (2013) Coitus to expedite the onset of labor: a randomized trial. BJOG 120:338–345

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Pauleta JR, Pereira NM, Graça LM (2010) Sexuality during pregnancy. J Sex Med 7:136–142

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Bartellas E, Crane JM, Daley M, Bennett KA, Hutchens D (2000) Sexuality and sexual activity in pregnancy. BJOG 107:964–968

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Catarina Castro.

Additional information

ClinicalTrials.gov registration number NCT01907698.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Castro, C., Afonso, M., Carvalho, R. et al. Effect of vaginal intercourse on spontaneous labor at term: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Gynecol Obstet 290, 1121–1125 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00404-014-3343-0

Download citation

Keywords

  • Spontaneous labour
  • Vaginal intercourse
  • Delivery
  • Randomized