Postel contacted 956 French midwives, asking them to complete an online questionnaire about orgasmic birth. He got 109 complete responses for midwives, who, combined, had assisted 206,000 births in their careers.
The results, available online May 3 in the journal Sexologies, established the fact that obstetrical pleasure exists, Postel said.
Midwives reported 668 cases in which mothers told midwives they'd felt orgasmic sensations in birth. In another 868 cases, midwives said they'd seen mothers demonstrate signs of pleasure during childbirth.
Finally, nine mothers completed questionnaires confirming they'd experienced an orgasm during birth.
Anatomically, orgasmic birth is no surprise, said Barry Komisaruk, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University in New Jersey who studies orgasm.
In fact, the intense stimulation of the vaginal canal in childbirth may work to block pain - whether that stimulation is felt as sexual or not.
He suggests that orgasm during birth comes down to simple anatomy.
"It's stimulation of the birth canal, stimulation of the cervix, the vagina and the clitoris and uterine contractions," Komisaruk told LiveScience.
Komisaruk noted that since every woman's anatomy is different, some may experience pleasure during childbirth while others feel only the pain.
Whether or not orgasmic birth is in the cards, the anatomy involved brings good news for laboring women as Komisaruk and his colleagues have found that sexual stimulation and orgasm reduce sensitivity to pain.