What's the deal with orgasmic birth?
If you haven't heard of orgasmic birth, you're not alone. We get the story of how birth can be pleasurable for some women — no, really!
The concept of an ecstatic, or orgasmic, birth is not understood by many. It’s not something that you can necessarily plan for, but understanding that it is possible is important when we talk about childbirth. Most associate pain — often severe — with the bringing forth of life, but for some women, the birth itself can be a pleasurable experience that they weren’t expecting.
The physiology of orgasmic birth
Dr. Draion M. Burch, D.O., better known as Dr. Drai, is a nationally-recognized OB/GYN who has actually witnessed orgasmic birth over the course of his career — three times, in fact.
In each case, the women labored naturally and utilized relaxation techniques that they had practiced beforehand with their partners or doulas. “It’s all about her perception of pain during labor,” he explained. “Once anyone expects pain, their muscles tense up and stress level hormones increase and they experience pain. Labor can be painful or full of ecstasy. There are so many hormonal changes that occur in labor — huge amounts of prolactin, beta-endorphins and of course oxytocin are released which are molecules of ecstasy.”
A study that was published earlier this year in the journal Sexologies said that midwives report that orgasmic birth occurs in 0.3 percent of births. The researchers speculated that the surveys they sent out, which were directed at midwives instead of mothers, probably served to underrepresent the actual occurrence of orgasmic birth, so the incidence may be higher.
So one must wonder how pleasure can possibly be felt during contractions and childbirth, but the answer is more obvious than one would think. Dr. Drai echoes what other experts have discovered — that the hormones of our bodies and the structure of our reproductive systems are responsible. “Orgasms during labor are basic science,” he told us. “You’ve heard of the G-spot or the Grafenberg spot, right? It’s located on the front wall of the vagina — 1 to 2 inches from the opening of the vagina. It doesn’t matter if the baby is coming down the birth canal or the penis is entering the vagina. Both maneuvers can cause orgasms. It’s simply about the anatomy.”
One mom’s experience
Eileen had never heard about the concept of orgasmic birth when she had her son in 1973, but that is exactly what she experienced.
“I was completely transformed and transported with the most incredible orgasm,” she shared. “I had no context for this. It was beyond anything I had ever heard of happening or experienced. I had never felt anything as powerful as this before. The entire room was filled with bright light and I was fully alive, pulsating with the orgasmic energy going throughout my entire body, I was bursting in light and fully engaged with every cell of my being. The room was bathed in brilliant white light. Everything sparkled and felt unified, at once. Three pushes and he came literally flying out. It was such a personal experience in those moments. I was completely focused on what was going on and it was magical and intense and incredibly beautiful to feel and be it.”
Like the women who Dr. Drai witnessed, Eileen also had a natural birth. “My son’s birth is one of the most holy experiences of my life, which I think is true for most people who are awake and in the birthing room as a new being comes to Earth,” she said. “Each birth is holy and sacred. Mine just happened to come with a mind-blowing light and orgasm that has thrilled me for 40 years. I feel totally blessed.”
Can you prepare for one?
You might wonder if you can plan on or prepare for an orgasmic birth. Most agree that no, you cannot, but you can certainly raise your chances. Natural childbirth should be a goal if you hope for an ecstatic birth, and learning relaxation techniques is important, too. But there may be more to it than that. “I believe it’s an alignment with life that just happens because the energies are there for such a union of life and the beings/people involved,” shared Eileen. “What I do recommend is that a woman and her partner meditate to connect to the soul of the person who is coming through and welcome them to their new family. Let them know they are coming to a loving life and they will be taken care of. Make sacred space. Plan for the delivery and how you want it to be and then be willing to just go with it.”