12 December 2008

Orgasmic Birth in NYT

What would happen if women were taught to enjoy birth rather than endure it?
That's the question that the film Orgasmic Birth asks. Although OB has been bumped from tonight's 20/20 lineup in favor of coverage of the IL Governor mess (and is slated to run instead on Friday, 1/2/09 at 10p Eastern Time), The New York Times blog, Motherload ran a great piece on the film...the comments, while certainly not all positive, mean that people are talking. Please lend your voice to the conversation, if you are so moved.
Here's the NYT piece, but be sure to check the comments - some are right on, some are funny & some are just sad...

First thing next month (Friday January 2) will be the primetime debut of a film that has been making the “under the radar” rounds of women and film festivals since May. ABC’s 20/20 will air the documentary “Orgasmic Birth”, by Debra Pascali-Bonaro, a childbirth educator and a doula, which asks the question: What would happen if women were taught to enjoy birth rather than endure it?

Some women will see this film as a declaration of emancipation from the medicalization of childbirth. Others will see it as yet one more way to raise expectations and make new mothers feel inadequate if they do not experience the “ideal” birth.

The message of the film is “that women can journey through labor and birth in all different ways. And there are a lot more options out there, to make this a positive and pleasurable experience,” Pascali-Bonaro tells ABC. “I hope women watching and men watching don’t feel that what we’re saying is every woman should have an orgasmic birth.”

But the title certainly catches attention, referring to what Pascali-Bonaro calls “the best kept secret” of child birth – that some women report having an orgasm as the baby exits the birth canal.

Tamra Larter experienced that while Pascali-Bonaro’s cameras were rolling. She and her husband, Simon, opted to have their second child in their suburban New Jersey home, and through most of the hours of labor the couple was kissing and caressing.

“The phyical touch and nurturing was just really comforting to me,” Larter told ABC. Of the orgasmic birth that resulted she said: “It was happening, and I could hardly breathe, and it was like, ‘oh, that feels good.’ That’s all I could say really.”

Christine Northrup, an OB-GYN and author of “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” explains in the film that orgasms during labor are the results of chemistry and anatomy: “When the baby’s coming down the birth canal, remember, it’s going through the exact same positions as something going in, the penis going into the vagina, to cause an orgasm. And labor itself is associated with a huge hormonal change in the body, way more prolactin, way more oxytocin, way more beta-endorphins — these are the molecules of ecstasy.”

And on that note I open up the comments for your thoughts …

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Western woman are continually conditioned about all sorts of things from what to wear [classic couture], to how to look [thin not fat], how to have sex [no bdsm/fetishes] and how to give birth [nothing esoteric, just on a table on your back]

This piece was brilliant. For years woman have been brainwashed with all these different messages of what motherhood is and should be, and how it should flow. Yet no one tells you how important, not only the conception is, but how much more important, the very beginning of that child coming out of your body, will be in setting the tone, between your sacred temple [your body], your heart, the life you created, and your partner. Every step of the way, that entire union needs to be respected by you, and those in the room.

Yes, not for all woman but some women out there are blessed with the ability to transform their thoughts/attitudes into vibrations and release those endorphins that the body responds to and transform them into powerful relaxation techniques. These woman can definitely have a relaxed orgasmic water birth, have these amazing doulas, and these enlightened husbands/partners, that bring good energy and light into the birthing room, that their body soak up during labor that allow these woman to give birth in an orgasmic state. There is tantric sex, runners high after a marathon, lightness in the head after a great yoga class, why can't these women have orgasms have during birth?

Its all about thought, attitude, and perception. We need to see more of these stories, and give our new moms more choice in their care and the health of their children.