How Sex Toys Can Help You Prepare For Birth
People don’t often associate birth with sensuality or sex, but that’s how the person became pregnant in the first place most of the time.
Many of the sensations and hormones that help aid with arousal, also support people as they prepare for birth.
Believe it or not, sex toys can actually be used to help you prepare for labor, and potentially to help with the discomfort of early labor, when used in the comfort of your own home.
They can be especially helpful towards the end of your pregnancy when you might want the relief that comes from sex, but don’t feel comfortable enough to have it with your partner.
So, whether you’re pregnant, planning on becoming pregnant, or are just curious about all things pleasure, let’s take a look at just how sex toys can benefit someone as they prepare for birth.
The Power of Oxytocin
When you hear oxytocin, you probably think “the love hormone”. That wonderful feeling that is triggered by cuddling, helps with orgasms, and makes you feel all ooey gooey inside.
It’s also a key player in labor and birth. Oxytocin is a crucial component in labor as it helps to induce contractions of the uterus. These contractions help push the baby down, as well as dilate and soften the cervix. Oxytocin is so important during labor that many providers often suggest people use a synthetic form of oxytocin in order to induce or augment labor.
Do you know what other activities oxytocin is involved in?
You guessed it. Orgasms.
Oxytocin helps to promote relaxation and strengthen emotional bonds, all of which are necessary as you gear up for your big day (or days).
It’s not entirely uncommon for someone who is giving birth to reach down and touch their clitoris during labor. This is because instinctually they know that it may help them move through the intense sensations they’re feeling.
When you orgasm during late pregnancy, the release of oxytocin may help to soften the cervix to prepare for labor.
Some studies support the idea that orgasms may help induce labor for someone at full term or augment labor that has already started, as long as you’re not in active labor.
Prepare Your Pelvic Floor
Your pelvic floor is a network of muscles and ligaments that holds up your bladder, bowels, and of course – your uterus.
It also plays a crucial role in pregnancy and birth. You can imagine why.
The cool thing about the pelvic floor is that like any group of muscles, you can train and strengthen it.
The most fun way you can do that is by of course – orgasming. Orgasms help tone the walls of the vagina and prepare the pelvic floor for birth.
Outside of the benefits of oxytocin, orgasms can help people in other ways before they begin labor.
The end of pregnancy can be stressful and overwhelming, or every combination of human emotions. Some ways people help to combat stress during late pregnancy are by lowering the lights, using calming essential oils, getting in a hot shower or tub, and reciting birth affirmations.
Orgasms can also help to reduce stress and cortisol levels, which in turn helps increase oxytocin.
Clitoral stimulation during pregnancy can help the pregnant person to shift their focus to their vagina and pelvis. This may help them feel more in control of the sensations they’re experiencing, at a time when their body might be feeling more and more foreign.
Some other ways you can induce oxytocin during pregnancy are:
- Making out with or kissing your partner.
- Breast and nipple stimulation.
- Cuddling and quality time together.
You might not be in a place to have an orgasm, at least in the way you’re used to, and that’s ok. The point of using sex toys during pregnancy is to give you another way to connect with your body, experience pleasure, and feel like yourself.
Sex Toys During Pregnancy: Things to Keep in Mind
If you or your partner are pregnant, or if you’re a support person like a doula – here are some things to keep in mind about sex toys during pregnancy.
Penetration and Labor
Fun fact, hormones called prostaglandins are also a key player in labor. While these are produced naturally in the birthing person’s body, they are also present in semen. That is why some people suggest penis in vagina intercourse as a means of helping to induce labor.
That being said, you most likely will not want to have penetrative sex after labor starts, whether that’s with a penis or a toy. This is especially important to avoid once your water breaks, as it could increase your risk of infection by introducing bacteria into the vaginal canal.
Make it Easy
While sex toys aren’t necessary in order to reap the benefits of arousal during pregnancy, they sure do make it easier.
When someone’s body is changing rapidly, it may be difficult to masturbate or have sex how they normally do. Sex toys can help make this process easier.
They Might Not Work for You
Another important thing to remember is that sex toys or other forms of arousal may not feel good while you’re in the late stages of pregnancy. The whole point of these tools is to try to keep you comfortable while you enter the final stages of this journey.
If they’re not working for you, no worries, don’t use them!
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to get back to using them once you get the go-ahead from your medical provider – well maybe not quite as many opportunities, but you’ll figure it out!
What to Use
If you’re wondering what sex toys are safe and comfortable to use during pregnancy, we have some ideas for you.
Choose sex toys that you’re familiar and comfortable with, or that feel easy to use, and make sure they’re properly sanitized.
Natasha (she/her) is a full spectrum doula, reproductive health content creator, and sexual wellness consultant. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more pleasure, softness, and sensuality. You can connect with Natasha on IG @natasha.s.weiss.