OP: Orgasmic Birth
Having a baby is a transcendent experience that deeply affects an individual emotionally, spiritually and physically; however, society has developed an anxiety - in many cases fear - about the process. The wisdom behind orgasmic birth is meant to dispel some of the cultural myths that many have come to accept about childbirth, namely that it is it is meant to hurt and it is something to be afraid of. This article will explore a view of labor that regards it not as a traumatic experience, but rather one of soft bliss and ultimately, ecstatic pleasure.
Science and Sensuality in the Delivery Room
Embodying the sensuality and surrender that is involved in conception can help to shape a softer, more peaceful experience during labor. When women are confident enough to tap into the strength and inner spirit that millions of others before them have drawn from, they too can labor with little to no pain, benefit from self-control, and feel bliss.
Childbirth educators know that the pathways involved in sexual pleasure are stimulated when a woman delivers a baby. Christiane Northrup M.D., author of ‘Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom’ teaches that if a female allows herself to succumb to labor in the same manner that she does when she welcomes an Orgasm, childbirth can in fact be pleasurable.
It is basic science; labor releases an incredible array of hormones such as Oxytocin (known as a ‘love hormone’), endorphins and Prolactin - all of which, in Dr. Northup’s words, are “the molecules of ecstasy”. They are powerful enough to generate pleasure, and even euphoria, if you can overcome the counter-effects caused by fear and stress.
A Different Perspective from the Mainstream
Many believe that the strong association between pain and childbirth came about due to two main contributors, namely modern medical intervention and a bad rap from the media. Unfortunately, this notion has the power to influence and even compromise a birth experience, making it go from positive to positively painful. The good news is that there is a fine line between pleasure and pain, and the key to achieving orgasmic birth is to transform one’s perception of pain.
Unlike delivery scenes in Hollywood movies depicting moms to be frantic, helpless and overwhelmed - Dr. Marsden Wagner, a past director of Women’s and Children’s Health (World Health Organization), describes the birth experience as something that is gentler and more natural, “It’s got to be like it is when you make love to someone. It’s got to be safe and secure and uninterrupted; that is how you have an orgasmic birth.”
But isn’t having a baby supposed to feel excruciating!? In an interview with Emmy Award winning correspondent Juju Chang, Dr. Northrup further explains that, “One’s expectations change the way pain is perceived. Whenever you expect pain, you tense up your muscles in anticipation, your stress hormone levels go up and, consequently, you feel more pain.”
Fear also makes pain less tolerable; as soon as it manifests, your ‘feel good’ hormones can’t take root because the physical effects of tension overwhelm them. This outcome is so powerful that it even prevents the cervix from dilating as fully. If you have reservations about your own ability to master fear and pain, there is good news; Mother Nature has provided women with a way to cope with the intensity of childbirth, naturally.
Hormones: Nature’s Painkiller
Remember the “molecules of ecstasy”? Those same hormones that are released at the time of sexual stimulation, foreplay, and even at the thought of love, reach their pinnacle during labor. As long as there aren’t any medical concerns, allowing the birth process to unfold naturally brings forth a rush of natural painkillers and powerful endorphins, which enable a woman to effectively manage and transcend the intensity of contractions.
A contraction is tightening of the upper uterus, coupled with a slackening or relaxation of the cervix and lower uterus. Understanding the soothing power of these hormones gives women the reassurance that they can successfully overcome labor contractions. By staying calm and focused, a woman supports her progress as she relaxes ‘down and out’, rather than tightening ‘up and inward’. Sexual stimulation during contractions also helps reduce pain; doing so will actually draw more blood flow into the genital area, making the tissue supple and the perineum (area between the vaginal opening & anus) less likely to tear.
Trusting Your Body
Women’s bodies are designed to successfully handle childbirth, yet many experience doubt or anxiety over their capacity to do so. Some of this can be attributed to a lack of education and preparation. Fortunately, midwives and doulas can help create strategies to cope with the wave of changes the body goes through during labor. They encourage women to welcome the natural sensations of childbirth and submit to the intensity of labor, rather than permitting fear and stress to stifle the process.
So, when a woman experiences the intensity of a contraction, the idea is to apply a philosophy toward childbirth that is similar to that of achieving an orgasm. The object is to transform/translate that experience of powerful physical sensation to one of submission, in order to let what needs to happen in the body pass, rather than letting it tense the body.
How to Have/Prepare for an Orgasmic Birth
Pain doesn’t have to be part of the equation if you care for your body and get yourself ready for the birth. Remember, the preparation for an orgasmic birth is as individual as it is subtle; exercise, proper nutrition, good sleep habits and resting when your body needs it is all part of the groundwork. Additionally, many women call upon meditation, affirmations, yoga or hypnotherapy to complement their preparedness.
Feeling comfortable and secure in your birth environment is also key. In an article by Elizabeth Davis CPM, Co-founder and Director of the National Midwifery Institute, she writes, “We know how to set the stage for romance and, not surprisingly, this matters too when it comes to knowing ecstasy in birth.” If a woman could undergo childbirth somewhere where she feels safe and supported, she could be more apt to experience pleasure, rather than pain. Whether she chooses do it at home or in the hospital, it is vital that she is as proactive as possible to facilitate that type of environment.
Not every woman needs to embark on an orgasmic birth, nor is everyone capable of doing so. People’s pain tolerances are very different and it is difficult to estimate how each will react when they’re actually experiencing the process.
The value of orgasmic birth is in exposing people to a more holistic view of childbirth, one that is joyful and nurturing. Moreover, it is significant because it reminds us of women’s innate ability to handle the process with confidence and dignity.
Posted: 17 Aug 23:13