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Labor Orgasms Called 'Best-Kept Secret'

Experts say labor and childbirth doesn't have to be an excruciating experience.

ByABC News
October 27, 2008, 11:35 AM

Dec. 9, 2008 — -- Painful. Excruciating. Unbearable. These are the words most often associated with childbirth.

But what about pleasurable? Blissful? Euphoric?

Some women even say that instead of agony, childbirth can be ecstasy.

Amber Hartnell of Hawaii said she experienced an orgasm during labor when she gave birth to her son in September 2005.

"All of a sudden the orgasm just started rolling through and rolling through, and it just kept coming, and my whole body was spiraling and rolling, and I was laughing and crying," she said.

Hard to imagine? Hartnell and her husband, Nassim Haramein, were shocked as well. Although they had spent many hours planning for their son's birth, in a tub under a tree outside their home, they say they never planned for an "orgasmic" birth.

Haramein was amazed -- and also relieved -- to see his wife experience such pleasure.

"It made me feel like everything was gonna be all right," he said. "The experience didn't have to be a traumatic, painful experience. It could be an experience of ecstatic joy."

"It is, as we say, the best-kept secret," said Debra Pascali-Bonaro, a childbirth educator for 26 years. "I believe by women having such terrible fear. … Women aren't getting the choices they need, to make the experience as easy as possible."

Labor Orgasms Are 'Basic Science'

To prove that it is possible to have pleasure in childbirth, Pascali-Bonaro made a documentary called "Orgasmic Birth."

Tamra and Simon Larter of suburban New Jersey were one of the couples that allowed Pascali-Bonaro to film their most intimate moments of labor. For their second child, the Larters wanted a natural birth with midwives at their home. They spent part of Tamra Larter's labor kissing and caressing.

"The physical touch and the nurturing was just really comforting to me," Tamra Larter said, adding that she ultimately experienced an orgasmic birth. "It was happening, and I could hardly breathe, and it was like, 'oh, that feels good.' That's all I could say really."