Everyone knows that milk and cookies go together, but what about childbirth and orgasms? On January 2, 2009 viewers of ABC’s news magazine show 20/20 learned that not only can you pair these two seemingly disparate things, a woman can plan for and experience ecstasy during labor. Dr. Northrup was on hand to explain why this is possible.
“A woman’s ability to orgasm during childbirth is basic science,” Dr. Northrup said. Anatomically speaking, on its journey through the birth canal the baby passes through and can stimulate the same areas that cause a woman to climax during intercourse. Physiologically speaking, during labor a woman’s body is flooded with the same feel good hormones, like prolactin, oxytocin, and other beta-endorphins, that are released during pleasurable sexual experiences.
The stage is set for all women to have an ecstatic birth! So why don’t more women orgasm during childbirth? Dr. Northrup believes that our culture is ingrained with the misbelief that birth is a dangerous, painful situation that’s likely to require emergency medical intervention. She says, “If you approach something as beautiful and natural as birth from this perspective, you’ll be fearful and expect pain. This results in tenser muscles, a slow-down in the birth process, and fewer feel good hormones to act as ‘Mother Nature’s anesthetizers’.”
In the exposé on 20/20 Juju Chang and Gail Deutsch also talked to filmmaker Debra Pascali-Bonaro, whose documentary Orgasmic Birth chronicles the experiences of eleven couples. The film has been shown in 28 countries and met with enthusiasm. Pascali-Bonaro has been pleasantly surprised by the number of women she’s met who have had orgasmic births.
Pascali-Bonaro wants women to know that the more they participate in planning their childbirth, the more likely their experience will be enjoyable, transformational, blissful, and ecstatic. There’s no need to be drugged or confined to a bed—these practices create stress and there are so many better choices for mother and baby. She told Juju Chang, “If we look at most other countries in the world, women have a lot of options. They’re allowed to be upright; they can move in labor. They can use warm water. They can use yoga balls. There’s so much that they can do that makes the experience easier.”
Dr. Northrup, who helps narrate Orgasmic Birth, couldn’t agree more. For years she’s been a champion of births that are safer and more enjoyable for mother and child. Yes, there will still be some pain. But both Dr. Northrup and Debra Pascali-Bonaro want women to know that it’s possible to transform the pain and also experience pleasure, joy—and even an orgasm.
Learn More — Additional Resources
- Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christiane Northrup, M.D.
- Mother-Daughter Wisdom by Christiane Northrup, M.D.