Fact Or Fiction: Study Claims Oral Sex Reduces Risk Of Miscarriage
The risk of miscarriage can be reduced by regularly giving oral sex, a new Dutch study claims.
The findings, published in the Journal of Reproductive Immunology, state that women who regularly give their male partner oral sex may be less likely to suffer recurrent miscarriages.
The research team from Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands believe swallowing semen -- which contains hormones and proteins from the father's body -- exposes the pregnant woman to "paternal antigens."
They theorised that this strengthens and prepares the woman's immune system in a way which makes fetuses more likely to grow healthily.
To test this, they compared the pregnancy history and oral sex habits of 234 women -- about 100 of them had experienced at least three unexplained consecutive miscarriages while the remaining women had not.
The researchers found that more than half of the women with recurrent miscarriage had oral sex compared with 70 percent of women in the non-miscarriage group.
Their findings led them to suggest a "possible protective role of oral sex in the occurrence of recurrent miscarriage."
According to the medical director of IVF Australia Associate Professor Peter Illingworth, the study is "a lot of nonsense."
The number of women surveyed was "tiny" and therefore the findings can't be widely applied, he told 10 daily.
The 20 percent difference between those who did and did not engage in oral sex is more indicative of the woman's emotional and mental state and not their likelihood of miscarriage, he explained.
Miscarriage causes women immense stress -- of course you're going to have a more uninhibited sex life if you haven't experienced one or more miscarriages.
In Australia, up to one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage according to Sands, the miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death charity.
A miscarriage refers to the loss of a baby before 20 weeks of pregnancy and is legally different from a stillbirth, which refers to the birth of a baby who has died prior to delivery when the pregnancy has progressed past 20 weeks.
As for the study's conclusion about the protective benefits of swallowing semen, Illingworth said this is entirely baseless.
"When a miscarriage occurs the body is not 'rejecting' the embryo because it sees it as a foreign body," he said.
The father's antigens aren't expressed until later in the pregnancy, anyway, and are "unlikely to cause issues" he added.
The actual causes of miscarriages aren't wholly understood. Experts do know that certain genetic conditions can predispose women to miscarriage while others have issues with their uterus which mean they cannot carry a child.
Very rarely miscarriages are a result of some form of autoimmune disease.
Unfortunately, there is very little that women can do to reduce the risk of miscarriage, Illingworth said.
There is no evidence that exercising, stress, working or having sex causes a miscarriage.
Feature image: Getty.