Can having sex induce labor?

Q: I'm almost due to deliver and tired of being pregnant! Will having sex bring on labor?

A: You might be referring to a recent report that intercourse hastens labor in full-term pregnancies and reduces the need for inductions. But another study, published just weeks earlier, showed completely opposite findings. "As these studies demonstrate, we still aren't sure if intercourse triggers labor," says Sean S. Daneshmand, M.D., clinic director of maternal-fetal medicine at the San Diego Perinatal Center at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women, who wasn't involved in either study. "We know certain aspects of sex--nipple stimulation, orgasm, male ejaculation--cause contractions," he adds. "We just don't know if those contractions are strong enough to stimulate actual labor.

"If you have no contraindications to intercourse, such as placenta previa or certain other conditions, have as much sex as you want," Daneshmand advises. "It may not bring on labor, but at least you'll have fun."