As midwifery is re-emerging back into US culture, mothers are now making a personal decision for a water birth, or a home birth. Women are also interested in less painful natural births, like an orgasmic birth.
These holistic alternatives are growing in popularity since mothers are interested in introducing their baby into a calmer, loving environments. More importantly, women realize that both Mom and Baby deserve (and can benefit from) woman- and infant-centered care.
The statistics for deaths for maternal and infant health are very alarming in the US. America has the highest record of deaths for mothers and babies in the developed world.
We’re talking about 700 to 900 women dying every year from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes. American women are three times as likely to die in the maternal period in comparison to Canadian women and double the amount in comparison to several countries in Europe. In 2014, there were 23,000 infant deaths in the America alone.
We are the only wealthy country in the world where maternal mortality rates have increased in the past decade.
Factors such as lack of healthcare and poverty play a huge role in these numbers. But, we can’t become blinded by the care practiced in the hospitals. Hospitals are a multi-billion dollar business. Yes, we have the newest technology, medicine, and best practice with trained doctors. Yet, it’s clear to see that the overuse of this technology and the intrusion of what should be a natural, normal life event can definitely do more harm than good.
What is an Orgasmic Birth?
Orgasmic birth is an experience of birthing from in which the physical and emotional aspects of birth are not only less painful, but as pleasurable.
The idea behind having an orgasm while giving birth doesn’t focus on achieving an orgasm necessarily.
It focuses on the full awareness to surrender to your body and allows your body to flow with its natural ability to birth blissfully. It’s about understanding your body and trusting your innate wisdom. Also, it’s practiced amongst a doula or midwife present to guide you through your labor and or birth.
Dr. Sarah Buckley, a New Zealand trained GP/family physician and mother of four explains the orgasmic birth perfectly in her e-book, Ecstatic Birth: Nature’s Hormonal Blueprint for Labor.
“Giving birth in ecstasy: This is our birthright and our body’s intent. Mother Nature, in her wisdom, prescribes birthing hormones that take us outside (ec) our usual state (stasis), so that we can be transformed on every level as we enter motherhood.
This exquisite hormonal orchestration unfolds optimally when birth is undisturbed, enhancing safety for both mother and baby. Science is also increasingly discovering what we realize as mothers—that our way of birth affects us life-long, both mother and baby, and that an ecstatic birth—a birth that takes us beyond our self—is the gift of a lifetime.” (para. 3–4)
Benefits to Orgasmic Birth
In the beginning, I questioned the idea of having an orgasm during contractions or even delivery, but I quickly found out that there are a lot of benefits of an orgasmic birth. According to Ann Douglas and John R. Susan, M.D., authors of The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby wrote,
“A single orgasm is thought to be 22 times as relaxing as the average tranquilizer. When you add to this the fact that the average vagina widens 2” during sexual arousal, it only makes sense to fantasize, masturbate or make love in labor.” So the pain that women normally experience while giving birth is then subsided by the release of oxytocin, the “love hormone”.
The love hormone isn’t necessarily acquired from sexual acts. Oxytocin is released in large amounts before and after pregnancy to help facilitate childbirth and breastfeeding naturally. It also has been discovered that its receptors are present at term in an adequate amount to prepare our bodies to prevent serious conditions such as postpartum hemorrhage.
This love hormone also plays a huge role in behaviors including orgasm, bonding, and maternal behavior. With these findings, it’s pretty clear that the practice of orgasm during birth is not simply a sexual arousal but more of an act of bonding with hormonal ecstasy, whether it be with your own body or including your partner or both.
More importantly, it is to give birth with and in love, to move through labor with power and to honor the emotional and physical heights that labor holds. It truly goes to show that giving birth and sex go hand-in-hand more ways than one.
Orgasmic Birth Documentary
Orgasmic Birth: The Best Kept Secret is an award-winning documentary that captures 7 women and their partners’ intimate moments throughout their journey while giving birth. The film views women’s options for labor and birth and examines these risks and benefits. There is a very profound comparison between US hospitals and the midwifery care which is more common in New Zealand and the Netherlands. These countries, in particular, have some of the lowest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the world. The documentary truly challenges the cultural myth by sharing the benefits of the emotional, spiritual and physical aspects of an orgasm during childbirth.
Huge advocates of natural birthing and midwifery, the film also sheds light on the cultural norms of giving birth in the hospital including medically trained doctors, epidurals, induction, and cesarean. Medicines such as epidurals are well known to cause short term and long term effects. For some strange reason, our culture accepts what isn’t natural, normal. We are also fearful due to the stigma that a natural birth should be an experience of pain and suffrage. Instead, we should be confident and in control of our bodies to have a positive and enjoyable birth.
Christians Northup, MD, board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, describes the power felt by a woman who has experienced a natural birth:
“When women understand what’s available to us at birth, then we won’t ever give that over to an expert” the birth power, the orgasmic power that’s in our bodies. When you meet a woman who has had an ecstatic birth, you can’t talk her into taking drugs that aren’t good for her body. You can’t talk her into a hysterectomy that she doesn’t need. You can’t talk her into a crummy diet. She’s come home to her body. She knows what this body is capable of. She loves this body. This body loves her. And there’s nothing like the transformation available at birth to nail that in there in such a way that she becomes illuminated because she’s a channel for life. And then she becomes a channel for life in all its forms.”
Watch this preview of the documentary.
How to Have Orgasmic Birth
Just to clarify, orgasmic birth doesn’t focus on the experience of an orgasm while giving child birth. It is more of a connection to your body and your baby with feelings of ecstasy and release supported by normal physiology.
Learn Your Body
The first step is to learn your body’s anatomy. Educate yourself about the hormones like oxytocin that appear during labor and birth to use it to your advantage to relieve pain. It’s also important to understand how your uterus and its muscles work during contractions.
Accept your sexuality as a natural thing. Instead of the idea of an orgasm as nasty, scary or shameful, see it as a spiritual thing. This way you’ll be able to let go of all the barriers that hold women from having a blissful childbirth.
Practice Your Mind and Body
Practice your mind and body. To have an orgasmic pleasurable birth, you need to prepare for it physically and mentally. Learn and practice some relaxation methods: breathing, perineal massage, chanting, yoga, hip rotation, getting into the water, and many other ways.
Create a Private Environment
A claiming and safe environment places a huge role in your ability to relax. It is easy to do this at home or at a birthing center. But, it is a little difficult in hospitals with doctors, nurses, the lights and sounds which make it for a cold and uncomfortable environment. Plan ahead with your doctor to make requests. Ask for privacy during laboring, lower noises, dimmed lights and limiting fast pace movement during the special day.
Have your partner involved. Take some classes during pregnancy with your partner that focuses on your husband/partner as a coach during labor and birth.
Orgasmic Water Birth
A water birth goes hand in hand with natural birthing and an orgasmic birth. Warm water is soothing, comforting and relaxing. More importantly, it helps to reduce stress-related hormones, anxiety, fears and causes the perineum to become more elastic and relaxed which will definitely aid when using your own arousal techniques.
No Medical Intervention
To experience a birth orgasm, you have to exclude any drugs such as pain killer and inductions. Going all natural will ensure that your body will be completely reliant on the use of its hormones. Medicines send signals to your hormones to decrease its amount so that the medicine can take over so to speak.
Orgasmic Birth Stories
Angela Gallo, Doula and Birth Photographer truly had two completely different experiences for her first born and her second born. For her first born in a hospital gown with an IV stuck in her arm, she was given an epidural after 45 hours of labor as well as a birth vacuum to help quicken the birth. She decided from then on she wanted to experience something more pleasurable and fulfilling, the highly medicalized way just didn’t seem right.
With her second born, she decided to take control and labor at home then give birth at the hospital. As the contractions intensified, masturbating in a warm shower help to mediate the pain, moving her from a place of panic to a safe space in which she felt fully connected to her mind, body, and spirit. It allowed her to feel, something she felt robbed from in her first pregnancy. She gave birth within 15 minutes after she arrived at the hospital.
“I wanted my muscles to feel like I was working with them and not against them, so I tried to work with every ounce of energy, make every single contraction count,” she says. “Touching myself took the edge off, helped me to focus, get clarity, and regain control over what I was feeling.”
Although we may look at an orgasmic birth as taboo, a new fad or a hippy thing to do, the anatomy of a woman hasn’t changed. These experiences women have had for so long hasn’t really resurfaced since obstetrics became a booming business in the 19th century. It is truly a physiological system between pain and pleasure by having the strength to mentally encompass the waves of contractions into a painless and wonderful experience.
Also going into this mode of birth with an open mind and heart will guide you through the simplicity of this natural way of life.