Have You Heard of an Orgasmic Birth?
Photo credits: Natalie Briana Photography
Want to experience a natural high of ecstasy, love, and bliss 8x (or more!) stronger then orgasm? Try unmedicated, undisturbed, physiologic birth.
One study from 2013 looked at 206,000 births and found that about 0.3 % of birthers experienced an orgasm during birth.
So what’s the secret to experiencing this kind of ecstatic birth? While there is no solid answer to why it happens for some, there are many similarities between orgasms and birth.
A birthing mother must feel free to move, breathe, make sounds and change positions as her body intuitively tells her to do so.
Photo credits: Colby Tulachanh
Oxytocin and beta-endorphins are our hormones of love and bliss and ecstasy and transcendence (respectively) and are some of the key hormones in both sex and birth.
Beta-endorphins also activate the mesocorticolimbic dopamine pleasure and reward system, which releases natural opiates into the brain and makes an experience intensely pleasurable and addictive, in a positive sense.
Around orgasm oxytocin levels in women generally double, although this is influenced by multiple factors such as the phase of the menstrual cycle and number of orgasms. Interestingly, it has been shown that the higher the oxytocin levels, the stronger the orgasm!
In an unmedicated, undisturbed, physiologic birth, oxytocin levels rise steadily throughout labor. Oxytocin levels are elevated around 3-4 times above normal during pushing, and have been shown to be elevated for the baby as well.
However, in the hour or so after birth oxytocin levels have been shown to be elevated around 10 times above normal - the highest oxytocin peak of our entire lifetimes!!
Photo credits: Simplisti Cholistic Photography
This peak of oxytocin after the birth goes hand-in-hand with a very special period called the “golden hour,” a magical time of us and our babies falling deeply in love with each other.
Oxytocin also activates instinctive behaviors of mothering/nurturing and bonding and is intrinsic in the breastfeeding process (along with the hormone prolactin).
Birth is designed to be an empowering, ecstatic, and positive experience. When we follow our ancestral hormonal blueprint of birth we maximize pleasure, ease and safety - and minimize pain and fear.