So, You Really Can Have An Orgasm When You Give Birth

We’ll always remember Amber Hartnell as the woman who claimed to have experienced an orgasm while giving birth.

“All of a sudden the orgasm just started rolling through and rolling through, and it just kept coming, and my whole body was spiraling and rolling, and I was laughing and crying [and] purring,” Amber said in the documentary “Orgasmic Birth,” directed by Debra Pascali-Bonaro.

Since the film’s release in 2008, pregnant (and non-pregnant) women have been hearing about labor orgasms, and laughing or eye rolling, or both. Don’t try to fool us, Amber! We know that squeezing a baby out of your vagina hurts worse than any inhumane kind of torture we could envision in our worst nightmares. But we could be wrong.

A new study, conducted by psychologist Thierry Postel of Blainville-sur-Mer, France, found that orgasmic birth is not only a real possibility, it’s a common occurrence. The results “established the fact that obstetrical pleasure exists,” Postel wrote. He interviewed 109 French midwives who had assisted in more than 200,000 births. In 668 cases, mothers told midwives they felt orgasmic sensations while giving birth. In 868 cases, midwives observed orgasms in birthing mothers. Nine mothers came forward to confirm their labor orgasms.

Barry Komisaruk, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University in New Jersey who studies orgasm, thinks these findings are no surprise both physiologically and neurologically.

“It’s stimulation of the birth canal, stimulation of the cervix, the vagina and the clitoris and uterine contractions,” explains Komisaruk. “A lot of women say during sexual orgasms that uterine contractions feel pleasurable. It’s an actual physiological, very primordial system of the genital system blocking pain input.”

On top of what’s going on with the body, two regions of the brain that become active during orgasm are also active during painful experiences like labor. “Theres’ something very intriguing going on between pain and pleasure,” Komisaruk added.

Do the French just enjoy everything more or what? Why is orgasmic birth such a rarity in U.S.?  Debra Pascali-Bonaro thinks it’s because of the culture around birth in our country.

“Many women in America give birth in settings where they aren’t able to move around freely because of fetal monitoring devices, where they have little labor support and where they aren’t allowed water to drink in case of a C-section. All of these limitations make a pleasurable birth experience less likely and less imaginable for women who’ve had babies,” said Pascali-Bonaro.

I guess those people who are having a dolphin deliver their baby have the right idea. Or maybe not. [Yahoo]