Looking for a research study that’s a bit more interesting than the health and habits of mice and rats? Then how about the Sexual Behaviour of Women with Twin Pregnancies published in this month’s edition of Twin Research and Human Genetics?
Researchers from the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the University of Vienna, Austria wanted to investigate whether sexual activity in women pregnant with twins changed in frequency and whether having more sex would increase their risk for pregnancy complications such as preterm labor or miscarriage.
During the course of a one-year period, researchers recruited more than 180 women pregnant with multiples from a specialized outpatient clinic at the Medical University of Vienna. Their age at the time of delivery was 31 years, +/- 4.8 years. After women with higher-order multiples, twin-to-twin-transfusion syndrome and other maternal complications such as pre-eclampsia and placental problems were excluded from participating, researchers were left with 77 women. Yet 27 refused to answer the researchers’ questionnaire due to the delicate nature of some of the questions. (The questions do ask for some pretty descriptive details!) The remaining 50 participants answered questions while alone recovering in the hospital after giving birth. The questions included the number of times they had sex during their first trimester as well as their last, condom usage, whether an ejaculation or female orgasm occurred (both have been hypothesized to increase risk of labor), if they felt pain or experienced bleeding following intercourse, their attitudes about sex during pregnancy, and finally, how much time passed between the last time they had sexual relations and the onset of labor.
The results? Researchers found that 82 percent of women pregnant with twins had less sex during their last month of pregnancy than during the first trimester. No big surprise there as most of us who were as big as a house right before giving birth remember, sex was pretty much the last thing on our minds. What was surprising, however, is that women who became pregnant after undergoing in-vitro fertilization had significantly less sexual intercourse during the first trimester than those women who became pregnant with twins naturally or “spontaneously.” Researchers speculated that those in the in-vitro camp were understandably a lot more anxious about their pregnancies and therefore didn’t want to rock the boat. However, there was no significant difference in sexual activity between the two groups during late pregnancy.
For the second part of the study, researchers compared the women who gave birth prior to Week 34 to those who delivered after, and found no correlation between sexual activity and the onset of preterm labor. In other words, there was no statistical significance between preterm labor and sex during either early or late pregnancy.
That’s good news for all those moms-to-be who feel the love! So light the candles. It’s Friday night, baby, and Barry White is calling.