Friday, December 18, 2009

Labors best kept secret

While partaking in an open house/information evening from a midwifery practice from a friend of mine, I was inspired once again with something so interesting I had to dedicate weeks of my almost non existing free time to research.

She was explaining all what she had to offer and which types of experiences she had encountered in her years of practice. That's when she said the delightful words that drove me to inspiration: orgasmic birth! I have never before heard about such births being possible. Even as open minded as I thought I was, the concept was almost embarrassing. I imagined this "mother" lying in a hospital bed, having an orgasm in front of a bunch of strangers - and doctors, no less. Yet I was definitely intrigued. If conception feels good, why not childbirth? One of the expectant mothers that was there had asked how is that possible? Isn't birth "supposed" to be painful? Well this lead to a very informative discussion. I was determined to research and inform also!

It is very much possible to experience pleasure instead of pain during labor. As always it is how the event is prepared for and perceived by the expectant mother and her support system. The thing is that as children we are "programed" to expect pain during labor. It is all around us. In the movies the woman is rolled into the delivery room screaming, stories from moms who have experienced labor are also almost always goring with how painful it was. So we ourselves "expect" labor to be painful, but it doesn't have to be. It could be filled with pleasure and love.

Dr. Christiane Northrup, a board-certified OB-GYN and author of "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom" and "Mother-Daughter Wisdom," said orgasms during labor are caused by basic science. "When the baby's coming down the birth canal, remember, it's going through the exact same positions as something going in, the penis going into the vagina, to cause an orgasm," Northrup said. "And labor itself is associated with a huge hormonal change in the body, way more prolactin, way more oxytocin, way more beta-endorphins -- these are the molecules of ecstasy."

Northrup says that women's expectations can have a large effect on how pain is perceived.

"Whenever you expect pain, you tense up your muscles, your stress hormone levels go up and that increases pain," she told ABC news.

One mothers comment on her birth was: "I didn't feel pain, I was in bliss, because I felt safe, because I felt empowered."

Biologically, you are designed to receive great pleasure from your body not only during lovemaking and intercourse, but in birth and breastfeeding, too....Birth offers sexual pleasure on a continuum from pleasant sensations to an intense birth climax as your baby slithers into the world of your waiting arms. -From A Good Birth, A Safe Birth, by Diana Korte and Roberta Scaer

On the hormonal level we know which hormones kick start labor and we know which also give us the height of orgasm. It's just that these two seemingly different events are supported by the same hormone. It causes the uterus to contract in both instances.

I'm not saying that every woman who is trying to achieve natural child birth should try for an orgasmic birth. That would be an unrealistic expectation on my behalf. I am just intrigued that there are those women who can achieve it. That there are other options out there for us to experience. That labor and delivery doesn't have to be painful. It can bring husband/boyfriend and wife/girlfriend together on a whole new level. That pleasure is achievable in every corner and crevice of our lives. If only we let it come to us and embrace all that life shows us it has to offer.

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