Orgasmic childbirth–it doesn’t have to be about pain

Have you heard of women having orgasms during birth? I heard of it while I was pregnant, but never looked into it or watched any videos describing it. I fully believed it was possible, just never thought it’d be something I would experience (and I didn’t, I had a c-section).

A friend recently emailed me a video called Childbirth Orgasms. Click that link to watch it, I can’t embed it here. It’s beautiful, really.

It upsets me (beyond words) that birth is portrayed as something hideously and unbearably painful. Women are made to FEAR birth–by the media and what you see on TV and in movies. If you expect pain, you’re going to feel pain. I strongly believe that if you’re in a mindset that birth is not painful–possibly even orgasmic–you won’t feel as much pain, if any at all. When I was admitted to the hospital, I was told I must not be in active labor because I was handling my contractions so well. Turns out I was in active labor and at 4 cm dilation. But the nurse only told me that it would get worse. Much, much worse. The look on her face was terrifying, as she explained to me that the pain would become so bad that I’d be crying. Who tells someone that in labor? That’s when I panicked… thinking I couldn’t handle worse and I asked for an epidural.

Let’s not go down that road again (you can read my birth story if you’d like). My point is that childbirth doesn’t have to be painful. It doesn’t have to be something to be afraid of. It shouldn’t be. It isn’t. It can even be orgasmic.

And check out all these statements from women with orgasmic births. I don’t expect one the next time around, but I do expect to no longer be afraid. To experience and enjoy my birth with the people I love and to not be told the pain will bring me to tears and rip my body apart. It will not. If there are tears, they will be of happiness when I catch my own baby.

I have some work to do before I get to that point, but I will.

Have you had an orgasmic birth? Do you think it’s possible?

16 comments to Orgasmic childbirth–it doesn’t have to be about pain

  • Jessica

    I’m not sure about orgasmic birth, but I will tell you that I didn’t really fear birth going into it. I was nervous about it, sure, because it was something I’d never done before and because I couldn’t (and still can’t!) figure out how something so large fits out of something so small. I planned on a natural, non-medicated delivery. I have a very high pain tolerance and thought I would definitely be able to do it.

    Well, I lasted 27 hours and finally decided to get the epidural because I was in so much agony, I was not even looking forward to the birth at that point. All I could think about was the pain. My baby was sunny-side up, which caused things to progress more slowly than they would have normally and resulted in horrendous back labor.

    While I do think that your state of mind going into it has an effect, I didn’t find the whole experience to be as “mind over matter” as I was expecting. It got to a point where the physical pain was so much stronger than my mental strength. (I had a doula as well.) In the end, I had a vaginal delivery after 34 hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing. I almost had to have a c-section and my baby had to be vacuumed out because of his position. It wasn’t exactly the natural birth I had planned on, but I went into it with a completely open mind, knowing that I wouldn’t necessarily have control over how things played out.

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  • Kim

    The only drug I had during childbirth was pitocin. I did not have any drugs for pain. My active labor lasted about 8-9 hours and I pushed for about 10 minutes. My son came out really, really fast. I was super prepared and I was able to handle the pain until I got to transitional labor. The last three centimeters were extremely, extremely painful. Even when I was completely relaxed, it still hurt so bad I was shaking. It was very hard to get through, I’m not going to lie. It really felt like I had someone trying to pry my pelvis apart with giant pliers. I really wish that women wouldn’t play down the pain of labor like in the video. That has to be such a tiny percentage of women that are able to experience an orgasm. I think it hurts people like you who feel like you missed out, even more. I do think childbirth is amazing and I do hope that you get to experience it next time, but if you go into it thinking it’s possible for it not to hurt (without drugs), I think you’re actually setting yourself up for failure. I think the only reason I made it through was because I expected the pain to get worse than it did. I know it sounds backwards, but I had psyched myself up for the worst pain possible, and because it did not reach that point, I kept waiting for it to get worse and then all of a sudden it was time to push. Pushing was super hard but at that point, I had no options. There was no turning back and you can’t have meds when you are pushing already. So then I did it out of sheer adrenaline. The good part about it though, is the crazy amount of relief and endorphins you experience afterward. I don’t even think I was truly sore until 24 hours later because of all the endorphins. That is something you don’t get unless you give birth vaginally. I was also able to hold my baby and nurse right away.

    So the moral of the story is, yes, vaginal birth is awesome, and it is worth the intense pain, but don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t hurt. Or that it is not supposed to. It does hurt really bad! And when you compare the size of that baby with the size of your vagina, it is definitely supposed to hurt. But I think the benefits outweigh the pain!!

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    babydickey Reply:

    Thanks for your comment… it’s a good point. And believe me, I know it hurts! I was in labor at home for 24 hours before going to the hospital and was at 5cm before the epidural. I guess the point I was trying to make was that if that nurse had said to me – you’re doing great, you’re in active labor and progressing nicely and you’re handling it really well – then I think I would have kept going. Instead she scared the crap out of me. She described the worst pain imaginable (which I thought I was already in, yet she was telling me it’d be much worse). I just hate when women scare other women like that. It’s one thing if you can psych yourself up for terrible pain and then be “pleasantly” surprised when you can get through it (as in your case), but it’s another thing to be AFRAID. Tell yourself it will hurt, fine, but don’t fear it. Which is something I need to work on. But I am determined!

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    Kim Reply:

    That is one thing I was really blessed to have – my nurse was awesome!! She did say those things to me, and even afterward she said things like “You did such a good job!” And I wasn’t afraid of the pain because I understood it could not kill me, ha. Actually something that I left out that is probably pretty important is that two years before I gave birth I herniated a disc, which touched some nerves in my spine and sent my lower back into full blown spasm. That pain was worse than childbirth. I think having that experience taught me that pain is just a sensation and it cannot physically hurt you no matter how bad it is.

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  • You’re completely right — the expectation you have for pain has a big impact on the amount of pain you have. I was handling labor so well, no one at the doctor’s office even knew I was having a contraction. Once I told them I was, almost everyone started saying, “No, it will be WAY WORSE when you’re in real labor. You’ll be SCREAMING. You’ll be BEGGING for medication.” Etc. etc.

    Once I found I was six centimeters already, I doubted them a bit. But it did get a whole lot worse, like they said. However, I think part of what made it so much worse was my loss of focus once they had me get in bed, asked me questions constantly, and kept saying “How PAINFUL is it?” I wasn’t using the word “pain,” but I had to with the nurses, or else they wouldn’t believe I was really in labor. Yet constantly focusing on the pain made it much worse.

    I’ve got to say, though, pushing was awesome. Not orgasmic, but I still remember pushing and how great it was … and I think “Gee, I want to have another baby.”

    The second the baby was out they separated from me and started some really painful massage and stitching my 3rd-degree tear, so unfortunately no birth high for me. Still, I experienced enough to know it doesn’t have to be as bad as all that.

    My mom prepared me the best, I think, by saying, “Yes, it hurts a lot, it hurts like nothing you can imagine, but you’re in a different state of mind then, so sometimes it doesn’t feel like pain exactly,” or, “Time passes funny when you’re in labor — so the part that everyone tells you was hours might seem shorter,” and the very best advice: “Transition is the very worst, from about 7-9 centimeters. Once they tell you, ‘This is your very last chance to get an epidural, so get it now before things get worse,’ ignore them, because that is as bad as it’s going to get, and you’ll soon feel better.” That was 100% true, and the knowledge that the worst of the pain wouldn’t last long really got me through.

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  • I’ve always been interested in ‘orgasmic birth’, it’s such a great concept. I’ve been through 3 labors. With my second, which was also the easiest, I definitely DID have an orgasm (though for some reason I feel a little embarrassed saying it). Not to say the whole experience wasn’t painful, but like I said it was a lot less painful than the other 2 labors – I was more in control, mentally very focused and calm, the whole labor was quite straight forward, there were no nasty surprises, I didn’t scream once and just a couple of tears at the start, though I growled a few times.
    Having an orgasm in the middle of it just took away so much of the pain, made it much more pleasant experience. Only wish I’d had more!

    Great post!

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  • they tell you that to scare you into using drugs so that they can charge you that extra 3-4,000$.

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    Leah Reply:

    I’m sorry, but I can’t believe any of this. I have an EXTREMELY high pain tolerance. When I got to the hospital I was 5 cm and didn’t feel a thing. I made it to 8 cm on pitocin without any pain meds. My sister has had 4 children, 2 completely unmedicated. I have not personally heard from any woman that it is pleasurable. It is definitely painful, and it is supposed to be. Just another fairy tale conjured up by Natural Birth Advocates.

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    babydickey Reply:

    Leah, congrats on your labor/birth, that is impressive! I have to disagree though that birth “is supposed to be” painful. It varies… you have a high pain tolerance and felt little pain. Some women get an epidural ASAP. It’s different for everyone. I’m not trying to discount the pain any woman feels (believe me, I know it hurts, I was there), but I absolutely believe orgasmic birth is possible (for some). How can you watch videos of them and hear these stories (search on youtube for them) and think it’s not real? Those women don’t look to be in any pain to me. I don’t think I would ever have an orgasmic birth–I’m just not that way–but I believe it can happen for some women, definitely.

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  • My last birth wasn’t orgasmic, but I have a very low tolerance for pain, and it went from “uncomfortable” and intense to transformative and pushing was a relief, not painful.
    I think that it’s different for everyone, and I don’t think orgasmic birth is any less plausible than miserable birth.
    I also feel that there are unfamiliar sensations we feel in labor which we don’t know how to process and so we decide they are pain. I don’t believe that it is intended to be painful. However, I feel we are conditioned to believe that every sensation of labor hurts, because we are told that it is nothing but pain and fear.

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  • mandy

    I’ve had 4 home births. The first birth was painful but no way near as bad as you see on TV. But I enjoyed giving birth to my 2nd and 4th (my 3rd was too quick and involved alot of rushing). Didn’t have an orgasmic birth but enjoyed in none the less. The 4th was a very enjoyable birth with everyone (midwife, husband, friend and sister) sitting around talking and drinking coffee while I walked around the living room.

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  • Lamentablemente nos han obligado a pensar que el parto es doloroso, terrible.La realidad y la verdad es que si despejas tu mente, comienzas de cero y sigues tu instinto, no tiene por que ser una mala experiencia, sino todo lo contrario. Si bien las etapas del trabajo de parto van aumentando en intensidad, si te concentras y escuchas a tu cuerpo y aprendes a respirar y a relajarte, cuando llega el momento de la expulsión se siente gran alivio, relajación y bienestar, algo no igual, pero sí muy parecido a un orgasmo. En mi caso tuve muchas sensaciones fuertes previas a la expulsión, pero no dolor en sí. Yo le llamaría un orgasmo prolongado al momento de amamantar, cada vez que alimentas a tu bebé con tu pecho, ese sí que es un orgasmo.

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  • Carissa Keir

    i’ve had three long labors 36 hours of back labor for my first, my seond was 26 hours, and my third was 21 hours. i am pregnant for my fourth now and due in seven weeks:) i have had all natural births. i would love to have an orgasmic birth yes its very possible but i havent experienced it. i hope i do with this one:) but i never feared the pain ever! my mom and all my family have natural births so its just normal:) its very interesting and very real:) in the end no matter how long your birth it is mind over matter. its all about how bad you want it really. and your determination level. but i’m praying for an orgasmic birth this time:)

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    babydickey Reply:

    Yes! My recent labor was 58 hours long… totally mind over matter, take it one minute at a time. Congrats, mama, and good luck!

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