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Yes! Moms Orgasm During Birth

Delivery (Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)
Photograph by UIG via Getty Images

Giving birth is painful—how else would you describe squeezing a bowling ball-sized object out of your body?—yet amid those screams of anguish, we’ve all heard rumors that some lucky women experience a far different sensation: ecstasy. And a new study confirms it’s not just a delivery room myth.

For this study, the first attempt to put hard numbers to this phenomenon, French psychologist Thierry Postel polled over 100 midwives who’d witnessed 206,000 births. Midwives reported that 668 mothers had felt pleasurable sensations during childbirth; nine mothers confirmed they’d experienced orgasm. This may happen because childbirth stimulates the vaginal canal, and because neurotransmitters released by orgasm can actually block pain.

“It’s stimulation of the birth canal, stimulation of the cervix, the vagina and the clitoris and uterine contractions,” Barry Komisaruk, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University in New Jersey who studies the science of orgasm, told LiveScience. “A lot of women say during sexual orgasms uterine contractions feel pleasurable.”

Whatever the science behind it, this new data “established the fact that obstetrical pleasure exists,” Postel wrote, adding that it’s most likely an underestimate. For instance, in one screening of childbirth educator Debra Pascali-Bonaro’s 2009 documentary Orgasmic Birth: The Best-Kept Secret, an obstetrician remarked that in his years of delivery babies, he’d never seen anything remotely “orgasmic.”

“Three rows behind him a woman jumped up and said, ‘Doctor, I gave birth with you three years ago, and I had a very orgasmic birth, with an orgasm, but what makes you think I would tell you?’” Pascali-Bonaro said.

Photo via Getty

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