Can Giving Birth Be Orgasmic? This Doula Says Yes, (Oh YES!)
As a birth doula, my dream is that every woman has a positive, fulfilling, empowered birth experience.
I write this as a woman who experienced orgasmic sensations in my first birth in 1999, before I had heard it was even a possibility! It happened almost by accident when, during the pushing phase, my fingers made contact with my clitoris. My focus went to that area and I just remember the delicious sensation that followed. There was no feeling of fear or pain. I felt like a warrior woman in my full power who knew exactly what to do. It was one of the most satisfying moments of my life thus far!
To my utter delight I then came into contact with the work of Debra Pascali-Bonaro, who made a documentary called Orgasmic Birth. In March 2014 I found myself in Bali training with her on a course called Eat, Pray, Doula.
My favourite fact is that birth and sex operate in almost the exact same ways. The hormones, the sensations, the anatomy involved, the brain activity and receptors... they are all heavily intertwined.
Bottom line? The energy that created your baby is the same energy that will birth your baby!
When you consider a night of romance, do you have the lights on full, random people walking in and out of your room, people watching you and looking at the clock on the wall or people telling you that you’re "not doing that right”? I’m guessing not.
So what’s the recipe for an orgasmic birth?
Well only YOU’LL know the answer to that. But here are some ingredients that may give you a few ideas:
1. It may have to start with a serious change of attitude. Are you truly open to the idea that birth can be the most powerful rite of passage? Are you open to exploring your expectations for your birth. Have you ever heard of an orgasmic birth up until now? Do some serious research and find out what appeals to you.
2. If you consider the environment you need for you to be able to relax fully with your partner for a night of seriously sacred intimate space, what do you put in that space? When creating your birthing environment, dim lights, music that makes you feel good, warm water to labour in and understanding what’s happening to your body as it opens to allow your baby through will help by removing fear from the equation. Fear creates adrenaline, which cannot co-exist with oxytocin, known as the love hormone.
3. Think about who you would like to be on your birth team, choose people who you love and trust. Choose people who know what kind of a birth you want and will support you wholeheartedly. People you can turn to and say “my partner and I need some intimate time” and they won’t be offended! Consider what smells you associate with feeling uplifted and good. At all times you only want to add ingredients to this experience that are going to help your oxytocin flow. Kissing, cuddling and massage are all wonderful ways to get the oxytocin flowing.
4. If things slow down during labour, natural induction can be encouraged by nipple stimulation, self-pleasuring and or love making. Nipple stimulation releases oxytocin into the body which keeps your surges (contractions) coming; each surge bringing you closer to meeting your baby! Prostaglandin is found in semen and softens the cervix helping it get ready for labour. In orgasm you also release oxytocin and beta endorphins, giving you ecstatic sensations, which also support the start of labour.
So why bother with an orgasmic birth?
Well first of all, orgasm is pleasurable. If you speak with most women, the first thing they associate with childbirth is pain. Yes, labour can be painful but our bodies are equipped with all the right hormones to make it manageable. With the right knowledge and support, pain can be transformed into pleasure. As a birth keeper I have often heard women describe the surges as intense but not painful and very manageable.
Deb Davis is a birth Doula and Gentlebirth Instructor.