(image credit: Science Blogs)
If sex and orgasms offend you or your sensitive nature, then please, turn off your computer, the internet is not for you. Especially a page that is about being a student midwife – I mean, babies appear in the majority of cases because sex has preceded them approximately 9 months earlier, and usually someone has achieved orgasm (some think it can even improve your chances of conceiving!).
So let me get straight to the punchline: I think that female sex aides should be part of the holistic tool kit available to women to boost contractions.
Read that sentence again if you like, it still says what you think it says.
(Image credit of Oxytocin as a molecule: Wiki)
As a midwife, or a student, there will probably have been some point in your training or career where you have explained the miracle of oxytocin to women (and their partners) and its wondrous effects on birth. You haven’t? Don’t fib. I know I have, because I like to give women actual information due to my sciencey, facty, “this is why” nature.
I get a fair amount of feedback about how much information I give women – not that I shouldn’t give it, but that I need to find a more concise way to convey it AND I need to judge when that information is really needed (in my opinion, it’s always needed because informed choice, but hey, I get the point). So my explanation of syntocinon is a little like this:
It’s a synthetic form of oxytocin, and that’s the hormone that gets your uterus muscles to contract.
Pretty snippy innit?
Your cervix being stimulated, especially by baby’s head pushing against it, acts like a “release button” every time it’s pushed, it tells your brain to release oxytocin to get the uterus contracting – it’s why we ask you to be active, to go for a walk, to use the stairs – gravity is going to help that baby’s head press the button.
A fair mix of fact and colloquial, in my humble opinion.
So as for the activity advice some units (ours does) provide birthing balls for women, it takes pressure off their coccyx it bounces baby a bit to get it downs wards onto the cervix. We have a huge set of stairs in the unit that women are encouraged to use, and an even bigger set round the corner in an adjacent unit. I’ve lost count of the number of times that women have told me that these stairs have been responsible for the onset of labour for them. We also have essential oils available for women to use including clary sage, which is provided with the information that it aids uterine contractions.
All these things working because OXYTOCIN.
We offer syntocinon as a synthetic option to get labour going, but what if we offered something else to release a massive shot of oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine? All the good birthing hormones, the enemies of adrenaline.
What if we offered something like this:
No it’s not C3-PO’s appendix, it’s a clitoral stimulator. You can get one here if you’d like from Ann Summers, only £5.
Clitoral and nipple stimulation to induce an orgasm is a win-win for a woman in labour, banishes those pesky stress hormones and potentially jump starts what should be happening more often.
(Gif source: giphy.com)
You’re either laughing now, or thinking, “What in the effing Jeff is this post about? Is she serious.” Why yes, yes I am.
An orgasm releases all of those chemicals and as Ina May Gaskin said (ish) What got baby in will get baby out.
I wrote about something similar towards the end of last year, the couple who were interrupted by a domestic while having sex in the woman’s hospital room. The spokesperson said that it was an encouraged method of starting contractions and they have no issues with it, but ask people to put a “Do not disturb” notice on the door (although I maintain that if the woman had knocked and not had permission to go in, she should have stayed outside…didn’t I make a joke about “Come in” of course I did. Too good an opportunity for a pun to be missed there).
Anyway, let’s get back to what I was saying: I think that for the low price of £5 a woman could make used of evidence based research to help her labour. Is it really that ridiculous? I have mentioned it to a couple of people and been met with laughter and then “Wait…you’re serious? The NHS giving out vibrators to women?!”
Imagine the awesome birth boxes people would keep “This is your name band, this is a picture of your dad changing your first nappy, here’s your umbilical cord, and this is the little beauty that helped mummy get you out into the world!” Would it be more embarrassing than seeing that your mother kept your foreskin? Who knows.
So the evidence is there, the price is lower than a birth ball, and perhaps the cost of a syringe of syntocinon (is it? Actually I don’t know how much that costs) AND the woman would get an orgasm – I’m not seeing the negative here. It can work for women whose membrane have ruptured as there’s no vaginal insertion required. I reckon this is a Million Dollar idea.
Of course, it could be completely mad. I haven’t decided.
What do you think?
ps – just in case you didn’t get the Rabbit picture reference > Rabbit