The Power of Oxytocin.
Oxytocin is referred to as our 'Love Hormone' and plays a very important role during the birthing of our babies, breastfeeding and bonding as a new family.
Oxytocin is so important during labour as its the driving force behind every surge that brings our babies closer, reduces stress, calms you down and helps with natural pain relief which is why its vital to keep it flowing. It is a shy hormone and in labour you need it in bucket loads. One of the reasons why women labour so well at home is because they are full of Oxytocin. Then when you travel to your chosen place to birth your labour may slow or rest, you've changed environments so your subconscious mind is reassessing the change to make sure you are in a safe place to carry on, you've left your safe, cosy, warm home with candles and smells that you love. You've arrived at the hospital with lots of noise, lots of people about and bright lights. Your Oxytocin has gone into hiding, but don't worry as there are many things you can do to bring it back out.
One of the reasons why women labour so well at home is because they are full of Oxytocin.
What does Oxytocin like and how can I produce lots of it when I need it in labour you ask, have a think about what makes you feel Happy, Safe, Loved. Think about the sort of atmosphere where you make love. They all have something in common, there is privacy, mood lighting, calmness, warmth, quiet, touch like a massage or holding hands with someone you love, having a hug and being held all these things promote Oxytocin.
After the birth of our babies Oxytocin helps us to birth our placentas which is why you are offered the Syntometrine or Syntocinon injection which is synthetic Oxytocin. What can also help is placing baby on your boob to initiate breastfeeding as this helps your Uterus contract and birth your placenta. Again we need our Oxytocin to be high so its great to have an hour of calm and peace after baby has arrived, Milli Hill calls this 'the hour of power'.
The other hormones of birth that compliment & work with Oxytocin
When we are birthing our babies our bodies are producing lost of different hormones that work together to bring our babies into this world.
We have MELATONIN which is a hormone released by our brains in response to darkness, its one of our sleep hormones & it also boosts our Oxytocin production. It likes dark quiet settings, it doesn't like observation and interruption. Its can also be why a lot of Mamas go into labour at night, its peaceful and dark.
ENDORPHINS they are our natural pain reliever and high levels during labour can make you feel alert, attentive and even euphoric after we have birthed our babies. Stimulated by positive touch & light massage and encouraged by laughter & love. They are great for the promotion of Oxytocin.
PROLACTIN is known as the 'Mothering hormone' it peaks at birth as it encourages our milk supply alongside complementing Oxytocin. Some research has shown that Prolactin increases during pregnancy and higher when we go into spontaneous labour.
PROSTAGLANDIN Ripens the cervix. Causes cervix to begin thinning
and opening. Encourages uterine surges.