Magic of Labor and Birth

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.


Having a baby is the true “change of life.” Women who go through labor and birth fully supported often emerge from the experience changed forever. One of my patients who had her two children at home told me: “My births were absolute peak experiences of ecstasy and spiritual fulfillment. Nothing I’ve ever experienced before or since has come anywhere close. As a result of my experiences, I now trust my body implicitly.”

Spiritual and Holistic Options

In order to experience the transformational power of birth, women need to know the following:

  1. Labor proceeds on its own schedule. The delicate timing that is a result of the delicate interaction between a baby and her mother needs to be respected. (Risky labor inductions for “convenience” and all the complications associated with them [e.g., increased risk of pre maturity, C-section, and maternal death] are now on the rise all over the country.)
  2. Childbirth is designed by nature to be a peak experience that is joyous, ecstatic, and loving. The body of the laboring woman is flooded with natural morphinelike substances called endorphins as well as oxytocin, the bonding hormone.
  3. Birth is sexual. This makes sense—after all, the baby is moving down the vaginal canal and stimulating the G-spot and all the nerves connected with sexual feeling. As midwife Ina May Gaskin says, “The energy that got the baby in is what gets the baby out. Many women experience the most intense orgasm of their lives when they birth in environments in which they are loved, adored, and fully supported.”
  4. How you do it is what you get. Because of the heightened emotional and neurological receptivity of both mother and baby, the birth experience deeply imprints both mother and baby and impacts their relationship for a lifetime.
  5. Natural birth is safe. Studies have repeatedly shown that in healthy mothers with no risk factors, home birth is as safe as hospital birth. Perhaps safer.
  6. There are many choices for how to have your baby. In fact, there are more childbirth choices now than ever before—everything from high-tech hospital birth to water birth at home.

Learn More — Additional Resources

  • Ina May Gaskin is one of the best-known pioneers of midwifery. Learn more about her work at
  • Coalition for Improving Maternity Service (CIMS) is a collaborative effort of numerous individuals and more than 50 organizations representing over 90,000 members. CIMS aims to promote a wellness model of maternity care.
  • Doulas of North America (DONA) is an international association of more than 4,000 doulas nationwide who are trained to provide the highest quality emotional, physical, and educational support to women and their families during childbirth and postpartum.
  • Birthworksbelieves in empowering women by developing their self-confidence, trust, and faith in their ability to give birth.
  • Mother-Daughter Wisdom, by Christiane Northrup, M.D., Chapter 4, “Pregnancy: Trusting the Process of Life” and Chapter 5, “Labor and Birth: Accessing Your Feminine Power”
  • The Wisdom of Menopause, by Christiane Northrup, M.D., Chapter 12, “Pregnancy and Birthing”
  • Birth As We Know It, a movie by Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova shows the beauty of natural birth in water
  • Journey into Motherhood: Inspiring Stories of Natural Birth, by Sheri Menelli
Last Updated: February 23, 2007

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.

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