The impact of sexual activity during the third trimester of pregnancy on labor outcome in nulliparous women


  • Janice H. Simo Faculty of Health Sciences, University des Montagnes-Bangangté, Yaoundé, Cameroon
  • Pascal Foumane Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I, Yaoundé, Cameroon
  • Ngo Um E. Meka Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I, Yaoundé, Cameroon
  • Julius S. Dohbit Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I, Yaoundé, Cameroon
  • Felix Essiben Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I, Yaoundé, Cameroon
  • Emile T. Mboudou Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I, Yaoundé, Cameroon



Labor, Pregnancy, Prognosis, Vaginal coitus


Background: In the environment, there’s not enough studies on the effects of sexual activity during pregnancy on labor outcome, especially for nulliparous women. The aim was to assess the effects of sexual activity during the third term of pregnancy on the outcome of labor in nulliparous women.

Methods: A prospective cohort study on labor was carried out for 11 months at the labor ward of the Yaoundé gynaeco-obstetric and pediatric Hospital. In this study compared women were exposed to at least one unprotected sexual intercourse with vaginal ejaculation per week during the third trimester of pregnancy (exposed group), to those who had less than one unprotected sexual intercourse per week (non-exposed group).

Results: Of the 1123 primiparous women who gave birth within the study period, 426 consented to enroll in the study. Amongst these women, 186 women in the exposed group compared to 240 women in the non-exposed group. Intercourse during pregnancy predisposed on arrival into the labor ward to a Bishop’s score ≥7 (RR = 1.94; CI = 1.63-2.3) and within the course of labor to a spontaneous per vaginal delivery (RR = 1.18; CI = 1.06-1.31) and an active phase duration <6 hours (RR = 1.52; CI = 1.36-1.7). Furthermore, sexual intercourse during pregnancy protected against labor induction (RR = 0.21; CI = 0.12-0.36), dystocia (RR = 0.36; CI =  0.27-0.49), cesarean section (RR = 0.29; CI = 0.15-0.55), episiotomy (RR = 0.56; CI = 0.36-0.87) and an Apgar  score <7 at the first minute of birth (RR = 0.31; CI = 0.14-0.7).

Conclusions: Sexual activity during pregnancy improves the prognosis of labor in primiparous women. In the absence of contraindications, consented unprotected heterosexual vaginal intercourse should be promoted in nulliparous women.


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Original Research Articles