2:00pm Monday 4th March 2013
By Tom Jennings
AN Oxfordshire author has argued women experience ‘orgasmic waves’ of emotion during pregnancy to help foster love.
Sheila Kitzinger’s book Birth and Sex: The Power and the Passion claims that hormones released during sex are also released during pregnancy.
The mother-of-five said these hormones foster feelings of love and connection and can help bond the mother to the child after birth.
Ms Kitzinger, from Standlake, says pregnancies should be less ‘clinical’ to help encourage these feelings.
She gave a talk about the book, which was published at the end of 2012, and signed copies at Blackwells in Oxford on Thursday.
Ms Kitzinger said: “I am not saying births are titillating or that birth is just like having intercourse, but it is all linked up with these powerful hormones which fill and are felt in your body during birth, as they are during love-making.”
Ms Kitzinger wrote the book, her 24th to be published, after receiving criticism in the national press and on Twitter about her ideas. She said: “There was an article published in a national newspaper which claimed I was off my rocker.
“People argued birth has nothing to do with feelings about sex or passion or overwhelming tidal feelings that women can have in childbirth.
“Some women do use the word orgasm, but others find that objectionable because it contaminates birth with sexual feeling.”
She said during both intercourse and birth the hormones oxytocin and endorphin are released, which creates feelings of love and desire.
Ms Kitzinger said women should be made more comfortable during birth so that these emotions could be felt and mother and child could better connect.
She claims the hormones create an “ecstasy” of excitement, love and satisfaction, which leads to “spontaneous mothering”.
She added: “If you are in a warm, welcoming environment with people who support you and do not boss you, then it is much more likely these hormones will be released.
“I think so often women are disabled by interference and feel they do not have the capacity or ability to do it themselves. They feel guilty that they have pain and very apologetic about it and blame themselves.”
Ms Kitzinger, an honorary professor at Thames Valley University, has researched births in the USA, the Caribbean, Europe, Australia, South Africa and Japan.
She received an MBE for her services to education for childbirth and teaches midwifery in the Wolfson School of Health Sciences.
Svetlina O’Regan, who teaches pregnant women relaxation techniques in Witney, said: “The more you can relax the body, the more you can let the hormones work and be really connected with the body.
“If you relax and go with it and do not fight it you can have a more peaceful and controlled birth.
“It is the best start in life you can give a family.
“Traumatic births can affect women tremendously for years and years.”
Birth and Sex: The Power and the Passion by Sheila Kitzinger is published by Pinter & Martin, price £11.99.
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