“There is a secret in our culture, And it’s not that childbirth is painful, It’s that women are strong.”
Laurie Stavoe Harm
For many people putting the words Ecstatic and Birth in the same sentence is tantamount to be sectioned for insanity. For hundreds even thousands of years we have been creating a birth culture and consciousness of FEAR, PAIN & STRUGGLE.
This is propagated by media portrayals, reinforced by the authoritarian medical system and cultivated by global corporations profiting from current birthing practices. With each generation we get further away from the natural ecstatic experience that is the original birth right for parents and babies.
We have been programmed to distrust our own anatomy and fear our innate power.
As a result we have lost the knowledge and connection to the exquisite natural design that is the co-creative dance between mother and child throughout conception, gestation and birth. Parents are often left with seemingly little power or choice over this most sacred and life defining event.
What is ‘Ecstatic Birth’ then?
It is an experience of birth that transcends a normal state; a physical and spiritual transformation producing lasting sensations of joy, excitement and happiness. It can be both an emotional and physical experience, even resulting in orgasm.
Birth energy is sexual energy! Sexual energy is life energy! Life energy is creative energy!
The anatomical parts of the woman’s body being used during sex and birth are the same. The pleasure hormones that are present during sexual activity are also present at birth and in far greater quantities. University psychology professor, Barry Komisaruk says, “Anatomically, orgasmic birth is no surprise”. We know this sounds incredulous to those that have experienced or witnessed exceedingly painful childbirth, however it is worth noting that sexual intercourse can also be painful and unpleasant when;
- It is violent or forced
- The woman is afraid or not aroused
- The participants lack the knowledge to create an ecstatic, orgasmic experience.
My first baby, born in 2001, was breech. The system recommended a caesarean. After researching breech birth thoroughly, we decided that I could birth her at home with an experienced midwife. I will never forget the euphoria I felt at the moment of her birth, triumphing over the system and discovering my inner source of feminine power. It was transformational on every level. It was so incredible that I vowed that I wanted to help other women experience that ecstasy too! My following two babies were also born ecstatically at home.
What creates an Ecstatic Birth?
The physiological system of natural birth (no medical intervention) is exquisitely designed and balanced. There is a gradual development and intensification during labour that allows the mother to expand and open her body and for the baby to adapt and participate in the process.
Natural labour is divided into three stages;
- Expansion and dilation of the pelvis and cervix,
- Pushing & birthing
- Placenta delivery, uterus returning to size, blood loss stemmed
Each stage is augmented by the ‘cocktail’ of birth hormones that are gradually released into the mother’s bloodstream and cross the placental membrane, to produce the muscular contractions required, regulate blood flow and activate emotional responses in the mother’s and baby’s brains.
These hormones include oxytocin, beta-endorphins, catecholamine and prolactin. The production of all four types of hormones builds gradually in both the mother and baby during labour, peaking at the moment of birth.
The most significant of these hormones is oxytocin, which is vital during every stage for optimal functioning of all the components necessary for a successful natural, ecstatic birth. Oxytocin is called the hormone of love and is connected to the sensations of euphoria, ecstasy, well-being and security. Oxytocin levels are highest in humans during social contact, sex, orgasm, pregnancy, natural birth and breastfeeding. The beta-endorphins are the body’s natural pain regulators, providing relief for both mother and baby as the intensification of energy and sensations progressively increase.
Catecholamine, adrenalin and noradrenalin, are there to increase levels of excitement and muscular effort required to stimulate the foetal ejection reflex at birth. Prolactin, in combination with oxytocin produces the feelings of love, tenderness, and protection associated with motherhood and is present in breast milk. It ensures that the mother will direct these feelings towards her baby.
The levels of oxytocin and prolactin remain high after birth in order to eject the placenta, contract the uterus, initiate breastfeeding and promote attachment and bonding between mother and baby.
The key to the optimal functioning of this cocktail of hormones is the balance, regulation and perfectly timed release during natural labour. Unfortunately the majority of medical birth interventions interfere with this synchronicity. Synthetic hormones (Pitocin, Syntocinen), pain medications and medical procedures have been unable to replicate this naturally occurring phenomenon.
They have now been implicated in the disturbance of the natural hormone physiology causing complications for both mother and baby. A ground breaking report by Dr Sarah Buckley called “Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing: Evidence and Implications for Women, Babies and Maternity Care” was released in January 2015 which states;
 The healing power of love – Oxytocin, Professor Sue Carter, www.stephenporges.com
 Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, Dr Sarah J Buckley, Ch 2 Ecstatic Birth, One Moon Press, Australia, 2005.
“Overall, consistent and coherent evidence from physiologic understandings and human and animal studies finds that the innate hormonal physiology of childbearing has significant benefits for mothers and babies. A growing body of research finds that common maternity care interventions may disturb hormonal processes, reduce their benefits, and create new challenges.”
If the mother is feeling unsafe or unsupported her fear and anxiety levels increase resulting in tension in her body. This tension opposes the releasing action of labour and pain is the result. Once activated the body will produce too much adrenalin/noradrenalin in the early stages of labour. This increases muscular tension and reduces oxytocin and beta-endorphin production resulting in even higher levels of pain.
This is known as the ‘Fear–Tension-Pain’ syndrome. It can be triggered at any time by conscious or subconscious fears related to birth. The simple act of moving from the security of the home environment to the strange, impersonal and busy environment of the hospital can produce this response.
This explains why many women experience a slowing or stopping of labour once they arrive at the hospital and are then encouraged to agree to medical interventions to augment the labour.
Once an intervention has been introduced, it inhibits the natural birth system and can lead to a cascade of further interventions and the possibility of a caesarean section.
 Dr Sarah Buckley, “Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing: Evidence and Implications for Women, Babies and Maternity Care”, Abstract, 2015
 Dr Grantly Dick Read, Childbirth without Fear,
Why choose an Ecstatic Birth?
The benefits are numerous and long lasting.
- Your baby is welcomed in love, joy and excitement.
- Post birth recovery is faster, breastfeeding easier and there are lower rates of post-natal depression
- The transformational experience of self-empowerment, spiritual transcendence and true co-creation.
- The long term emotional and physical health & well-being of both mother and child!
- Bonded and attachment parenting happens mores naturally
My 5 Top Tips to creating an Ecstatic Birth?
1. Knowledge is Power
2. Release your Fears
3. Prepare your Mind, Body & Spirit
4. Surround yourself with Enlightened support
5. Consciously Co-create with your baby
- Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: Dr Sarah J Buckley, One Moon Press, 2005.
- Birth without Violence: Frederick Leboyer M D, Healing Arts Press, Revised edition 2009.
- Spiritual Midwifery: Ina May Gaskin, Book Publishing Company, Fourth Edition 2002
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth: Ina May Gaskin, 2003.
- A Modern Woman’s Guide to a Natural Empowering Birth: Katrina Zaslavsky, 2011
- The Heart in the Womb: Dr Amali Lokugamage, 2011.
- DVD – Ecstatic Birth….Conceive the possibility: Binnie A Dansby, 2000.
- CD – Having a baby is the most natural thing in the world: Binnie A Dansby.
- DVD – Orgasmic Birth; The Best Kept Secret, Debra Pascali-Bonaro.