A Surprising Number Of People Do This During Labor

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I can't say from experience, but I've been told that childbirth is akin to being smacked in the face with a bag of bricks. People who have birthed a human, I salute you. There are, of course, many beautiful reasons people endure this agony: Experiencing this truly fascinating process, getting to hold your precious little angel in your arms when it's all over, the toe-curling orgasms... Ahem. Pardon? Women can have orgasms during childbirth? Many of us can't climax during intercourse — so how the eff do we do it when we're popping out a baby?

In actuality, "orgasmic births," as they're frequently called, are nothing new. For some, childbirth brings a heightened state of pleasure. For others, it's a full-blown "birthgasm." Many women have explained it as increased pressure and sensation around the vagina before giving birth, followed by an emotional release after their baby was born. While this sounds like it could describe basically any birth in general, it's the pleasurable feeling some have that makes orgasmic births so unique.

And hey, guess what? If you're having any doubts about the legitimacy of orgasmic births, there is indeed the science to back it up. Your body contracting, plus the extra stimulation in your erogenous zones, apparently make for the perfect environment for an orgasm. In addition, your body's hormones — assuming it's a natural childbirth, which is a must in order to experience this whole shebang — behave in a rather orgasm-like manner during birth: You release endorphins and oxytocin (the "love hormone") while giving birth, just like you do when you're having the big O. (BTW, this also means that being in an aroused state could make childbirth less painful. Wink wink.)

So, now that we've agreed that birthgasms are a real thing, just how common are they? Based on what the research tells us, we shouldn't expect people to be having mind-blowing orgasms during labor on a daily basis. While it does happen, these folks are still in the minority. One 2013 study conducted by French psychologist Thierry Postel included responses from 109 midwives who had assisted a combined 206,000 births. They reported 668 cases where mothers experienced orgasmic feelings during birth. Mothers in 868 other cases showed signs of pleasure. Overall, these pleasurable experiences happened in about 30 percent of births.

A more recent survey from the Positive Birth Movement and Channel Mum determined that six percent of 2,200 women surveyed said they'd experience an orgasmic birth. Even in this small pool, however, women experience orgasmic births differently, so it's not as simple as, "I went into labor. I had an orgasm. The end."

It's hard to wrap your mind around the idea that childbirth can actually be enjoyable; we typically associate it with pain. And while you might not be one of the people who experiences a birthgasm, moms have indeed confirmed that introducing some kind of sexual stimulation into childbirth at the very least made them more comfortable because of the relaxed state that it sends your body into. It might be difficult to imagine your labor in any kind of sexual manner, but remember that there's nothing wrong with that. You're helping your body through the process!

While birthgasms might not be all that common, this information still goes to show that not only do we still have misconceptions about childbirth, but that there are natural ways to possibly better the experience.

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