Health

Why Some People Masturbate During Childbirth

March 10th 2016

By:
Laura Donovan

Australian birth photographer and doula, Angela Gallo, recently opened up about why masturbating during childbirth can greatly improve the labor process, sparking intrigue over the approach on social media.

Gallo, who has more than 10,000 Instagram followers and more than 5,000 Facebook fans, wrote in a new blog post on her website that masturbating during childbirth has three major benefits: it helps get the baby out, can help ease pain, and feels good. Gallo also cited a previous statement by Debra Pascali-Bonaro, director of the documentary "Orgasmic Birth: The Best-Kept Secret," about changing one's expectations about what to feel during childbirth. Pascali-Bonaro said the assumption that childbirth has to be a painful, awful experience can create shame in women when they feel pleasure during the experience.

"It's such a culture where some women actually feel shamed that they have pleasure, because the expectation is pain," Pascali-Bonaro said in 2013, according to LiveScience. "We have to change that."

How does it work?

Gallo wrote that oxytocin plays a significant role in childbirth pleasure. Oxytocin is a hormone that causes uterine contractions during childbirth and is also released during sex. Gallo also argued that oxytocin helps get things moving in labor.

"What gets the baby in, gets the baby out!" she wrote. "Nipple, vaginal, clitoral stimulation, kissing, intimacy, affection; these all inspire the flow of our hormonal allies in birth. Experiencing a 'stalled' or lengthy labor? Need a natural pick me up? Touch yourself, mama! It gets the good stuff flowing."

She also cited a study in the Journal of Sex Research that found "a sensation of pleasure evoked by genital stimulation can elevate pain thresholds." This came as no surprise to Gallo, who also mentioned that research has shown sex can lead to migraine relief.

Finally, she wrote that masturbating during childbirth simply feels good for the mother.

"Want to feel more relaxed?" she wrote. "You know that dopey, satisfied, tired feeling you can after an orgasm...that's it right there. You may feel tense, anxious, stressed, unable to rest, mind racing - bring it back to basics with some deliciously luscious clitoral love."

Gallo discovered this childbirth technique while "doing the bulk of [child labor] at home" during her second pregnancy, according to Vice. She was feeling "vulnerable and stressed out," and though she didn't want to have sex with her husband when he asked if that would help, she decided to give self-stimulation a try.

woman-lying-back-in-chair

"The second I started using clitoral stimulation, the resting period between contractions was more pleasurable and I could use more force to meet the climax of the contractions," she told Vice.

Try this (only) at home.

As noted by Vice, however, it's important to note that Gallo masturbated in private and not in front of those assisting with her delivery. Because the majority of women give birth at hospitals, it's hard to imagine that this would be feasible for those who want the entire process to take place in hospitals.

Here's what people had to say about Gallo's story on social media:

Angela Gallo Instagram

What other Women are Saying:

Kate Dimpfl, a doula and the founder of Holistic Childbirth, hosted a TEDx talk last year on childbirth pleasure in a speech titled, "We Must Put the Sex Back Into Birth." She shared audio of a woman making noise during sex and an audio of a woman giving birth to highlight how similar both experiences sound.

"How women increase their sense of pleasure through movement, sound, and touch can enhance their orgasm," she said, adding that there are strong parallels between how women behave during childbirth and sex. "Movement, sound, and touch can decrease their sense of pain in childbirth."

In 2013, Elena Skoko, author of "Memoirs of a Singing Birth," explained in an interview with HuffPost Live that she experienced an orgasm while singing during childbirth.

Elena Skoko explains her orgasmic birth of HuffPost Live

"[An] orgasm can have different phases, and I concentrated, and I felt mostly the intense waves of pleasure and pain," she said. "The more I accepted the sensual part of my body and myself and the experience, I could realize that my body was moving in a sensual way. My voice was behaving as when I was making love."

Pascali-Bonaro also appeared on the HuffPost Live segment to say she enjoyed Skoko's story and would like to broaden the childbirth experience beyond singing.

 

 

 

"We have to set a criteria too," Pascali-Bonaro said. "No one will find a lot of pleasure if they're not in a safe, private environment. They're with people that are going to honor and respect then, and then we can add song, dance, and touching [into the experience]."

H/T Vice

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