“Less a story about orgasms and sex than a story of love and the power of birth!” – Sarah Akers, CNM

The Concept

When I was filming what would later become “Orgasmic Birth: The Best Kept Secret” documentary, I witnessed many beautiful, pleasurable, powerful, and orgasmic births.

The original concept for the film WAS to show that birth can be an empowering and pleasurable experience, but what surprised me was when the laboring mamas were able to birth in their power, surrounded by love, support, care and respect, that their births were dramatically more pleasurable too. I had witnessed many births as a doula – I knew that this was possible, but the wave of pleasurable and even orgasmic births that took place during my filming process was extraordinary. When it was time to name the film – I knew we had to make a bold statement, birth, under the right circumstances was an ORGASMIC EXPERIENCE!

Photo by Birthday Presence
©2008 Jada Shapiro www.birthdaypresence.com

In our book Orgasmic Birth: Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying and Pleasurable Birth Experience, Elizabeth Davis and I define Orgasmic Birth as,, “broad enough to include those who describe birth as ecstatic and specific enough to give voice to those who actually feel the contractions of orgasm and climax at the moment of delivery.  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.  Whenever a woman can look back on these moments with joy, when the physical and emotional aspects of birth are fully experienced as pleasurable, we call this orgasmic birth.”

Orgasmic Birth can literally be an orgasm during birth – a “birthgasm,” which is real for a small percentage of women. Take Shiraz  Ariel  Drori, who writes in her birth story “Orgasm, A Tool for  Birth” for Pain to Power Online Childbirth Class, “I was finally alone with myself and I started to  imagine all the things I know can turn me on in a sexual way and soon after that I started to masturbate in order to achieve orgasm. I managed to do that in about 20 minutes and I had a  very nice orgasm. Once I reached it, contractions started to kick in one after another, getting stronger each time.”

This is no surprise when you hear what Ann Douglas and John R. Sussman, M.D., authors of the book; The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby wrote, “A single orgasm is thought to be 22 times as relaxing as the average tranquilizer. When you add to this the fact that the average vagina widens 2″ during sexual arousal, it only makes sense to fantasize, masturbate or make love in labor.”

I believe it is every woman’s human right to have a pleasurable birth. It all comes down to how you define it.

©2008 Jada Shapiro www.birthdaypresence.com


Orgasmic Birth can be the blissful waves in between contractions. One can enter this altered state and ride the waves of sensation, expanding into the pleasure and increasing sexual energy and the hormones consuming one’s being. Riding the wave creates a peaceful, total body sensation that lingers as energy is exchanged between you, your baby and your partner. Birthing in love is a state of filling your entire body and being with oxytocin, the love hormone, and surrendering to the power within. Dr. Sarah Buckley writes in Ecstatic Birth: The Hormonal Blueprint of Labor “Such high levels (of beta-endorphins) help the laboring woman to transmute pain and enter the altered state of consciousness that characterizes an undisturbed birth.”

I believe it is every woman’s human right to have a pleasurable birth. It all comes down to how you define it. I define my orgasmic birth as a heightened sensation – that moment of release and feeling your baby slide from your body into your arms. I think that every birth has that orgasmic element.

Orgasmic Birth is all these things – the orgasm, the ecstasy, the hormones and the love – and that is why it is so amazing.

Orgasmic Birth is to give birth with and in love, to move through thru labor with power and to honor the emotional and physical heights that labor holds. Childbirth is an opportunity to experience the extraordinary miracle of bringing new life into the world and Orgasmic Birth provides a language and the conditions to reclaim and honor that miracle. Labor and birth takes women to the depth of the unknown, to face their fears, while pushing through the intensity – releasing and riding the waves of our body that with the right conditions and comfort can bring women to the peaks of joy, pleasure, and hormonal ecstasy.

Orgasmic Birth is to create a new language, a language that honors the power, pleasure, passion and transformation that childbirth holds. I believe in and trust that the body that grows a baby knows how to birth the baby. Childbirth provides opportunities to face fear, to journey to the depths and back,  to find pleasure and experience what I believe nature intended – an Orgasmic Birth filled with love.

Reclaim your body, your birth and create the language and birth you desire for you and your baby!

The Film

Are you ready to take the journey and see for yourself what birth can be?

Orgasmic Birth is our award-winning feature documentary that has aired around the world. 7 women and their partners invite you to share their most intimate moments. Joyous, sensuous and revolutionary, Orgasmic Birth brings the ultimate challenge to our cultural myths by inviting viewers to see the emotional, spiritual, and physical heights attainable through birth.

Richard Jennings, Director of Midwifery at Bellevue Hospital Birth Center, New York City, says: “The question is, ‘Why not go to a high-risk hospital? No matter what goes wrong, they can deal with it.’ The problem is, as you get higher in the hierarchy, the more they treat every woman as if she is high risk.”

According to Maureen Corry, Executive Director of Childbirth Connection, New York City:  “Results of the U.S. Listening to Mothers Survey demonstrate that technology-intensive birth is the norm, with a majority of women reporting each of the following interventions while giving birth: electronic fetal monitoring, intravenous drip, artificially ruptured membranes, artificial oxytocin to strengthen contractions, and epidural analgesia.”

Although a small percentage of births benefit from the use of technology and surgery, the overuse of technology in hospital births today often causes more harm than good. The U.S. cesarean section rate for 2013 was 32.7%, well above what researchers consider safe and appropriate use (WHO recommends between 10-15%). Women today, trusting that all offered techniques and procedures are safe, eagerly accept epidural analgesia for pain relief and artificial oxytocin to induce or augment labor. However, these drugs and procedures have many negative short-term and long-term effects on mother and baby that should be considered and questioned. With almost one in three American women having a surgical birth, our experts look at the current data and discuss the risks that overuse of cesarean section is causing to mothers and babies.

Marsden Wagner

Marsden Wagner, MD, former Director of Women’s and Children’s Health for the World Health Organization says in the film:

“Very clear hard evidence in the last 10 years [shows that] the number of women who are induced—that is, their labor is kick-started—is doubling. You kick-start labor by giving them a powerful drug. And then you give them more drugs to keep the labor going. Now, there are about five to ten percent of women in which there’s a good medical reason to do this, and you’re saving lives and all that. But if you go above ten percent, you’re not saving lives anymore. These are powerful drugs with all kinds of risks, including brain damage to the baby, a dead baby, a dead woman. And yet we do it twice as much [as we used to]. And there’s so much pain in induction—incredible pain. And so they have to come with all the pain relief and the epidurals and all of that. So we get induction, leading to epidural, which leads to cesarean. And that is what’s happening in this country. Now, why? Did something happen? Did American women’s bodies suddenly go bad? Did American women’s bodies suddenly lose the ability to figure out when it’s time to go into labor? Goodness, no! You know, why do 60 to 80 percent of American women have to have powerful drugs and interventions to their bodies? Well, it has nothing to do with there being anything wrong with their body. And it’s not because of bad doctors. It’s a bad system.”

Nine percent of American women who give birth experience post-traumatic stress disorder after labor and birth. Nearly one in five women and, by extension, their families experience the long-term effects of postpartum depression.

Dr. Christiane Northrup

Christiane Northrup, MD, a visionary in the field of women’s health and wellness and a board-certified obstetrician–gynecologist, shares her expertise and insight throughout the film. Regarding postpartum depression, she says:

“I want women to know that if you’ve had a cesarean birth, an induction, or an epidural, that doesn’t mean you’re not going to bond with your baby or you can’t love this baby, or any of that. Humans are incredibly adaptable. But why adapt if you don’t have to—if you can let your body do what it was designed to do? I believe that the connection between overuse of intervention and postpartum depression is enormous. If women experienced the ecstasy of birth, they would have the high that would get them through the hormonal changes of the next week. Your body and your inner wisdom give you that high.”

Ricardo Jones

Brazilian obstetrician Ricardo Jones, MD, discusses the process of giving birth and the role of a physician in that process:

“There is a space within our culture for medical interventions. That is why doctors are important in reducing maternal and prenatal mortality. At the same time, we have to honor the traditions of millions of women throughout the world and throughout history. Women have the inner power and the inner knowledge of giving birth. There is a parallel of sexuality and giving birth. Women who are giving birth, trust yourselves. Trust your inner power. Trust your ability to give life. This is something absolutely sacred that is inside all women in the world. A doctor, nurse, and all midwives in the world are people who are not in the position to teach a woman how to give birth, but to make it easier for her to do what she already knows how to do.”

Orgasmic Birth movie captures intimate home births as well as normal births with midwives in US hospitals. With the decrease in hospital-based midwifery practices in the United States, the option for normal hospital birth is gradually disappearing in many communities. We look at other models of midwifery care, such as in New Zealand and the Netherlands—models that have achieved some of the lowest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the world.

Dr. Wagner discusses how a midwifery model of care is cost effective while contributing to a safe and positive birth for mothers, babies, and families:

“More and more countries are losing fewer women and losing fewer babies than the US, including Cuba and Slovenia. Countries that we would normally expect not to have such a great record are losing fewer women and fewer babies than we are. And it’s not because we have bad doctors. We have highly trained, very good doctors, as good as anywhere in the world. We have good nurses—as good as any. We don’t have enough midwives! We have 40,000 obstetricians and 5,000 midwives. Great Britain has 1,000 obstetricians and 35,000 midwives, and they lose fewer women and babies than we do.”

Ina May GaskinIna May Gaskin, internationally acclaimed midwife, author and founder and director of the Farm Midwifery Center, believes the reason lies in our past:

The United States has a peculiar history about childbirth. There is a higher level of fear of birth in this country than we see in so many cultures around the world. I think it has to do with our own peculiar history of absolutely destroying the profession of midwifery in the early twentieth century. When you destroy midwives, you also destroy a body of knowledge that is shared by women, that can’t be put together by a bunch of surgeons or a bunch of male obstetricians, because physiologically, birth doesn’t happen the same way around surgeons, medically trained doctors, as it does around sympathetic women.”

Pain, endorphins, comfort techniques, water, doulas, epidurals: Orgasmic Birth views women’s options for labor and birth and examines the risks and benefits.

Dr. Northrup describes the power felt by a woman who has experienced a natural birth:

“When women understand what’s available to us at birth, then we won’t ever give that over to an expert” the birth power, the orgasmic power that’s in our bodies. When you meet a woman who has had an ecstatic birth, you can’t talk her into taking drugs that aren’t good for her body. You can’t talk her into a hysterectomy that she doesn’t need. You can’t talk her into a crummy diet. She’s come home to her body. She knows what this body is capable of. She loves this body. This body loves her. And there’s nothing like the transformation available at birth to nail that in there in such a way that she becomes illuminated, because she’s a channel for life. And then she becomes a channel for life in all its forms.”

Join us as we watch the families in the film welcome their babies into the world and see what happens when mothers, babies, fathers, and families are left undisturbed to welcome their newborns into their arms. Worldwide research supports the fact that the best, safest care for healthy full-term newborns is in their mothers’ arms, skin to skin, breastfeeding, feeling safe and nurtured.


Carrie Contey, PhD, a leader in the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology, says:

“What we’re finding is that it does matter—it absolutely does matter—how somebody comes into the world. And it doesn’t mean all babies should be born this way or that way. It just means that we have to pay attention and recognize that those babies are having experiences. And the way that birth happens when it’s left to happen naturally, without drugs and without forceps, is really what the baby’s body is expecting. There’s a biological readying that’s happening. So it’s incredibly important that we start thinking about this time period in a new way, and we start caring for moms and babies and families around the birth experience in much more thoughtful and mindful ways than we are doing right now.”

Mayberry L1, Daniel J2., ‘Birthgasm’: A Literary Review of Orgasm as an Alternative Mode of Pain Relief in Childbirth., J Holist Nurs. 2015 Nov http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26578553
Hormonal Physiology of Childbirth http://transform.childbirthconnection.org/reports/physiology/
Pascali-Bonaro, Liem, Orgasmic Birth: The Best-Kept Secret, 2008 www.orgasmicbirth.com
Davis, E. Pascali-Boaro, D., Orgasmic.Birth: Your Guide.to.a Safe Satisfying and Pleasurable Birth Experience, New.York,.Rodale Books,.2010.
Kitzinger, Birth and Sex,  Pinter & Martin, 2012

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