News About Pregnancy That Doesn’t Suck, But Suggests That You Do

You're welcome, dads.

You're welcome, dads.

If you’re thinking about conceiving, or certainly if you are already pregnant, there is some pretty convincing evidence that instead of just swallowing, say, folic acid, you might want to swallow something else.

Let me be delicate about this, if I can.

As far as I can tell, not only should you be having lots of oral sex with the father of your baby – even up to a year before conceiving – you should also make sure to ingest his seminal fluid. Listen to what I’m telling you: the international medical community is giving you an Rx for oral. Sure, they say frequent intercourse is good, too, but oral is better. So, if you care about having a healthy baby and not potentially unleashing what scientists call a “destructive attack on the foreign tissues” of your fetus, if you want to avoid immunological disorders during pregnancy, and I’m sure you do, get to work. Or to pleasure, depends how you feel about it.

Basically, the research says you need to be able to tolerate your baby’s foreign, paternal DNA, need to get your body accustomed to the stuff, need to cozy up to some daddy double helix for awhile so your body doesn’t reject it.

I’m no doctor, just a pregnant lady with Google, so maybe I’m horribly confused, but here is what I found excerpted online, from the Journal of Reproductive Immunology.

“While any exposure to a partner’s semen during sexual activity appears to decrease a woman’s chances for the various immunological disorders that can occur during pregnancy, immunological tolerance could be most quickly established through oral introduction and gastrointestinal absorption of semen.”

I could not make this up. Gastrointestinal absorption of semen. I know. For the man in your life, this news should not be hard to swallow. Sorry.

According to a group of Dutch researchers, “exposure to semen provides protection against developing preeclampsia.” That’s from a paper with the catchy title, “Immune Maladaptation in the Etiology of Preeclampsia: a Review of Corroborative Epidemiologic Studies.” Or you could use the subtitle: “Semen is Your Friend.”

I just can’t figure out why the whole “blue balls” thing has gotten so much traction with men, but they haven’t gotten a hold of this medical morsel.

One of my favorite pregnancy hobbies is obsessively researching dangerous pregnancy related conditions. I know, I know, I could knit, but that would be relaxing, whereas this is more congruent with my other pastimes, which include worrying about the future and raking over the past. That’s how I happened to look up preeclampsia, specifically because I interviewed actress Jane Seymour and she said she got it during one of her pregnancies, and I figured I needed a new worry charm for my shiny bracelet of maternal concerns.

First, I found this description on the Mayo Clinic’s website:

“Preeclampsia is a condition of pregnancy marked by high blood pressure and excess protein in your urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy.”

This merited a trip to Wikipedia, where I found all sorts of links to academic papers on the subject and buried therein, the dryly worded but unmistakable information about oral.

After I did some digesting about ingesting, I had to stand up from my desk chair and say to no one in particular, “Really?” If I’ve heard about a new mother eating her own placenta in a panini, if I’ve scoured sights like this for every possible detail about pregnancy, how have I missed this gem? Some of the studies I read weren’t all that new, but you’d think they would have made a bigger and more long-lasting splash.

Maybe penises need a new publicist.

Now, to be fair, the Dutch researchers do warn that with a new partner, condoms should be used to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, “However, a certain period of sperm exposure within a stable relation, when pregnancy is aimed for, is associated with a partial protection against preeclampsia,” they insist.

As far as I can tell, there seem to be myriad causes of preeclampsia and similar conditions, and it’s too complicated a medical issue for anyone, least of all me, to fully understand. Still, while some of these hypotheses have been challenged, they don’t seem to have been debunked. So to conclude, I will fall back on the medical opinion I always have about things that are either Suzanne Somers-y or reeking of placebo-ness, but obviously benign: It can’t hurt, right? At the very least, your baby will have a happy, relaxed father and parents who are intimate.

And suddenly, you wonder if the phrase “going Dutch” might acquire new meaning.

* In case you’re interested, an actual doctor responds to this on

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32 Responses to “News About Pregnancy That Doesn’t Suck, But Suggests That You Do”

  1. Kelly Marx
    January 13, 2012 at 4:40 am #

    Swallowing semen is definitely good for your health as research has proven. With that said, women should swallow because they love their man, not necessarily because of the health benefits. The health benefits are a plus, but the main reason should be to make your partner happy. If somebody is swallowing just because of health benefits, I’d say they might be kind of selfish.

    • Chester
      January 31, 2012 at 2:14 am #


  2. Marcia
    September 16, 2009 at 4:23 pm #

    I don’t swallow and my baby is just fine!

  3. Chew Chew
    September 2, 2009 at 1:47 pm #

    Thank you so much. This article just got me an awesome beejay!

  4. Jason From CA
    July 27, 2009 at 5:12 am #

    Ah Teresa Strasser, such a sweet sweet woman. What can be done to have you on Adam’s podcast as much as possible? Ace needs you! I’m a huge fan of his(and yours!) and have been since early on in his loveline days and I’m certain that his best work comes when you are on a mic next to him. It’s truly amazing to listen to and so I’m going to need you to call Adam and invite yourself onto his podcast as much as possible?! K? Ok thanks so much. Oh and I hope all goes well with the pregnancy. Good Luck!

  5. krcmom
    July 25, 2009 at 11:05 pm #

    Hi Teresa,

    Love you, love the blog. I actually became a big fan of yours when you hosted TLC’s “While You Were Out”. I couldn’t believe all the time and effort you put into that show…and I stopped watching it when you were no longer on it.

    I developed preeclampsia late in my pregnancy and I had no symptoms. That’s the good thing about all those urine tests, they find the proteins quickly. Once they did, I went on bedrest and had frequent baby monitoring. I delivered a healthy baby 5 years ago. Bottom line…big IF you develop the problem (only 5-8% of all pregnancies are affected), your doctor will be well-informed on needed steps for a safe delivery.

    There is a website for more information

    And you know what, you will love being “Buster’s” mom. Hang in there, good thoughts are coming your way.

  6. Ron
    July 24, 2009 at 2:34 am #


    As a typical male, I was trilled to hear about the “sperm exposure” research when listening to the Carolla podcast. The problem is that I had a hell of a time finding the research to substantiate your claims. After considerable searching, I think I finally found the article to which you refer. The problem is that the title you give is incorrect and the quote is not from their research. The best I can tell, the quote comes from a Wikipedia page (use with caution). Regardless, the research appears to substantiate your claims. However, a bit more care in your quoting and referencing would have been much appreciated.

    The actual Dutch reference:
    See: Carin A. Koelman, Audrey B. C. Coumans, Hans W. Nijman, Ilias I. N. Doxiadis, Gustaaf A. Dekker, Frans H. J. Claas (2000). Correlation between oral sex and a low incidence of preeclampsia: a role for soluble HLA in seminal fluid? Journal of Reproductive Immunology, Volume 46, Issue 2, Pages 155-166

    The article title you provide in your article was from 1998 in Obstetric Gynecology Surveys, not the Journal of Reproductive Immunology.

    See: Dekker GA, Robillard PY, Hulsey TC. (1998) Immune maladaptation in the etiology of preeclampsia: a review of corroborative epidemiologic studies. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 1998 Jun;53(6):377-82.

    • Teresa Strasser
      July 24, 2009 at 8:48 am #

      You are good. Thanks for the information and correction.

    • Ryan
      July 24, 2009 at 9:20 am #

      I’d like to know why Ron was doing doctoral thesis level research rather than using this golden nugget of science to give his wife medicine?

      • Ron
        July 24, 2009 at 10:08 am #

        Lets just say that my wife requires evidence before she accepts a new theory :) Science has spoken! Lets get it on.

        • Tom
          July 25, 2009 at 1:54 pm #

          Ahh, she’s hard to convince to do that, huh? Jewish?

  7. Doug
    July 23, 2009 at 10:08 pm #

    Are those Selma Blair’s lips?

  8. Tom Blair
    July 23, 2009 at 9:16 pm #

    Great post Teresa and well researched I might add.I miss you and hope you’re doing well.

  9. matt
    July 23, 2009 at 12:17 pm #

    You are the greatest woman God could have ever asked for! I am going to submit your name for some kind of Nobel Prize!

  10. Sam
    June 30, 2009 at 5:55 am #

    Does anyone here have a link or other reference to the original study. I’m trying to find some more detailed information on this.

    I can’t help but wonder if a variation on this would work as a more effective treatment. Ingesting semen seems like a pretty primitive way to try to establish immunological tolerance.

    • Ken in Burbank
      September 6, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

      Are you a male Sam or a female Sam? If you’re a chick, whaddya want? A pill? Made from your man’s spunk? If you’re a dude, What is up with THAT? You’re given an actual medical reason for receiving one of the greatest pleasures known to MANkind and you say, “Naaa, I’d rather she just take a pill.” ??? Shut off your computer, go to your tv and watch ice skating. Your life is meaningless.

  11. Andre
    June 26, 2009 at 5:43 am #

    Finally, appealing to the 19 year old dude demographic! Not that I haven’t loved your blog until now… Hey Teresa, everything will be okay! But I love your paranoia anyway.

  12. alex
    June 25, 2009 at 6:49 pm #

    heres a blog with a video of a young lady talking about what her sea-section will be like

  13. Eric
    June 25, 2009 at 2:44 am #

    *bookmarks this post forever*

  14. TommyGunz
    June 24, 2009 at 7:30 pm #

    I was on the fence about having more kids (even had a consult today with a doctor about getting ‘fixed’), but when you put it like that, I’m for going all Jon-and-Kate-plus-8…the natural way.

  15. Derekp
    June 24, 2009 at 12:48 pm #

    I think i’ve seen this somewhere before…but it’s not bad at all

  16. Christine Moellering
    June 24, 2009 at 9:38 am #

    Maybe that’s why I never got pregnant.

    • Marcia
      September 16, 2009 at 4:32 pm #

      Christine…you don’t need to swallow to get pregnant…this study was done by men…I don’t swallow and I got knocked up quickly and no problems so far. This blog reminds me of high school boys that are looking for ways to convince a girl that she needs to give blow jobs and swallow…it is not necessary.

      • Bennie
        October 1, 2009 at 7:15 am #

        Girl talk….bet when you’re driving for the diamond pre-marriage, you’re ‘a swallowing. Poor guy that got you pregnant.

  17. poorjavier
    June 23, 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    Thanks T. Now I need a wet nap and a wife. You Rule!!!

  18. Mark
    June 23, 2009 at 4:20 pm #

    Batman=My Hero!!!!!

  19. JD
    June 23, 2009 at 3:56 pm #

    Marry me.

  20. Tanya
    June 23, 2009 at 3:28 pm #

    I often tell hubby about your posts. I think I will keep this one to myself!

  21. Sheila
    June 23, 2009 at 1:18 pm #

    While I was always a bit suspicious that these data were compiled by male doctors – what badness can happen from this “treatment” – as you said T .. at its most ineffective scientific results, you still get happy Dad’s and parents who figured out how to stay intimate and loving during what is probably the first shared stressor in their marriage (he shoots ! he scores !). Seriously, this has been anecdotally effective on the list I moderate for the parents of preemies for subsequent pregnancies.
    Go Batman Go !

  22. laz
    June 23, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    great article t!

    i sent this to too many dads i know.

    i also submitted it to digg:

    • Teresa Strasser
      July 16, 2009 at 11:38 am #

      Thank you so much. I think I am getting my first digg traffic, so if you like the piece, please digg it.


  1. Adam Carolla Podcast - 2009.07.23 - Adam, Teresa, and Bald Bryan | The Adam Carolla Podcast - July 23, 2009

    [...] Just in case you thought Teresa was making it up, here is her piece on oral sex and pregnancy. Oral Sex and Pregnancy Information [...]

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