After Amandine Mangin had a ‘painful’ delivery with her first-born daughter Alyssia, now five, she heard about the concept of ‘pleasurable' birth and was intrigued.
‘For me it was a mix of shock and hope,’ Amandine tells New Idea. ‘The idea of giving birth in pleasure felt like a new world was opening to me!
‘After the surprising effect of the idea, it felt logical. We conceive our babies in pleasure, wouldn't it be normal and natural to bring forth our baby in pleasure?’
Before falling pregnant with her second child, Amandine trained as a prenatal yoga teacher – and in doing so embarked on a lot of research about pleasurable birth.
By the time she was six months pregnant with her son, Ilya, now five months, she says she had gathered the ‘tools to ride the waves of childbirth’
‘I believe that birth can be a truly empowering experience for a woman and that every woman has the right to give birth in a respectful and loving ambience,’ Amandine – who is a doula and Pleasurable Birth Preparation Practitioner – says.
But in spite of that, the mum-of-two says she had her own hurdles to face when it came to pregnancy.
‘I love being pregnant! For me it’s one of the most graceful state, carrying life, sharing my body with my angel!
‘However the first three months were much less graceful. I got morning sickness - which lasted all day - but as soon as the third month was over, I was blossoming like never before.’
Amandine – who has been married to Vlad for almost seven years and lives in France – said yoga was her saviour against back pain and swollen legs. She also walked regularly during her pregnancy – covering 10km in the three days before her due date.
After a difficult experience with the birth of her first child, Amandine was determined to prepare herself for a pleasurable birth second time around.
'It’s a holistic approach,’ she explains. ‘A physical preparation with yoga, breathing, dance and massage.
‘Basically it is getting free of old programming and beliefs – such as 'childbirth is painful' - and updating my brain with positive affirmations.
‘An emotional preparation with meditation, relaxation, visualization. A spiritual preparation with chanting, and energy-rising tools. I also prepared my perineum with oil massage.’
According to Amandine, ‘acceptance and relaxation’ are key to a pleasurable birth.
On the day her little boy was born, the mum went for a walk as the contractions hit.
‘I was actually nicely surprised when I felt the first waves! They were pleasurable!’ she explains.
‘As soon as I was outside, walking, feeling the sunlight and the nice breeze on my face, it got its intensity.
‘The surprising thing was that the waves were already intense and so I had to move in a certain way, every time they arrived.
‘If for one reason or another I would have not been able to move, I am almost sure I would not have felt them pleasantly! My cure was the movement.
‘Feeling free to move, even if it looked like a weird tribal sexy dance, was important for my well-being during child birth.’
For those wondering what ‘orgasmic childbirth’ is really like, Amandine puts it candidly.
‘It felt like I was having a deep intense sex but without the erotic mindset,’ she says. ‘It is a borderline kind of pleasure. This borderline pleasure we may feel while making love.
‘I think the mind plays a big role,’ she continues. ‘You can either feel the wave as an aggression or as a friend.’
At times during the labour – which took place in hospital in a room decorated with candles, scented by essential oils and with music playing – Amandine passionately kissed her husband.
‘I was dancing around, no minding anyone and sometimes I would get my oxytocin dose by kissing him,’ she explains. ‘Oxytocin, also called the 'hormone of love', is the hormone responsible for the delivery and during labor we want to allow this hormone to flow abundantly.
‘Kissing is a way to get a boost of it. And of course, kissing my husband was a way to get support from him.’
Amandine says she was ‘better informed and more prepared’ for the birth of her son than she had been at the birth of her daughter but that mindset is key.
‘If you can’t imagine enjoying childbirth, it’s going to be hard to get a pleasurable birth,’ she admits.
‘You see, everything we do, we have imagined it first... It’s a mental work of transforming everything we thought we knew about childbirth.’
She urges other women to read and watch other women who’ve been through the experience in a bid to see that it is possible.
Amandine’s top tips for getting the most pleasurable birth possible
Create a relaxed and romantic ambiance in the room you want to give birth (in the hospital or at home)
Trust your woman body and your baby, you are meant to give birth! Let your mama wolf instinct out!
Be free to MOVE, do anything which feels right!
For more from Amandine visit her website here
This article originally appeared on New Idea.