Orgasm During Labour: What Is It And Why Does It Happen?

'A well-kept secret is finally getting out.'

Most mums-to-be don’t associate going into labour with the prospect of imminent pleasure, but some mums say their experience of childbirth was orgasmic.

Milli Hill, founder of The Positive Birth Movement said: “The fact that giving birth can be a brilliantly enjoyable experience is a well-kept secret that is finally getting out.”

What is an orgasmic birth?

Pain as a necessary part of delivering a child has been the longstanding narrative in parenting communities for as long as we can remember.

Seldom discussed is the possibility that it can actually be a pleasurable experience, but now more women are reporting experiencing an orgasm during the birthing process, bought on either naturally or by masturbating while in labour.

Debra Pascali-Bonaro, a proponent of the orgasmic birth movement, who made the 2009 documentary ‘Orgasmic Birth’, said in her film: “Many of our interviewees spoke of astounding pressure and sensation in the vagina as birth approached, followed by a flood of release and emotion as the baby emerged.”

Why does orgasmic birth happen?

Numerous scientific studies have shown that brain regions which are active during climax, are the same areas that work during painful sensations, so it makes sense that one could be connected to the other.

Barry Komisaruk, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University, told Live Science that this connection between orgasm and birth shouldn’t come as a surprise because the intense stimulation of the vaginal canal may actually be working to block out the pain of delivery.

How many women experience an orgasmic birth?

A survey by Channel Mum in 2016 found that 6% of the 2,200 women asked had experienced an orgasm during birth.

This is a much higher rate than previous research from 2013, by French psychologist Thierry Postel, who asked midwives how many orgasms they were witnessing - they recorded only 0.3% of births included this experience.

How can I have an orgasmic birth?

Siobhan Freegard, founder of ChannelMum, told The Huffington Post UK: “Midwives report it happens when mums are relaxed, feel safe and secure and trust their body to do what it needs to.

“Many mums who try techniques such as hypnobirthing or attending positive birth classes say these helped too.

“But just like pleasure during sex, it won’t happen if mums are scared or uptight. We need to make birth less scary and more something to celebrate, to ensure more mums have a positive, or even pleasurable, birth.”

Komisaruk told Live Science that a mum’s opinion on orgasm during birth could also impact her experience.

“If a woman has a fear of sexuality, if she starts having a pleasurable sensation she may feel this is completely inappropriate psychologically, and that itself could be an aversive effect,” he said.