Meet: Oxytocin, Endorphins and Adrenaline.
We have all spent time with each one of them…
The love hormone, the one that makes your pupils dilate and your mouth lye softly open.
The driver hormone, the one that takes over to keep you focused and excited during stressful times.
Then the one that causes your heart to race, to clench your jaw and squeeze your eyes, either you raise a fist or run for your life. You may know which one is which, but, do you know how they can help or hinder labor?
Oxytocin is also known as the love drug. It oils the uterus in exactly what it needs to work hard! It causes the strongest muscle in a women’s body to contract. The higher the levels of oxytocin the stronger the contraction. I’m sure even the least birth savvy person knows the importance of a strong contraction during labour. KEY, when moving the baby from abdomen to birth canal and then into the world. Keeping a woman safe and loved will help her body naturally release the hormone. It is even considered good practice to have sex when trying to go from the early stages of labour into active. During active labour its a great idea to hug, kiss and cuddle your partner. If you don’t have a partner present, most doulas will cuddle!
Endorphins Help A LOT!
The driver, transporting a women from one wave to another. When endorphins are free to do there duty, a women can be almost at ease during even the toughest stages of labour. Its ability to keep a women focused and motivated can transform her reality during child birth. The calming effect puts her deep into what she’s doing. It helps too keep her looking forward to the next contraction. When a women is in labour she may need to be reminded of what she’s doing to keep the endorphins high. The higher the levels of endorphins the better she can cope with pain and stress. The use of focal points and affirmations can be great ways of reminding the mother why she’s working so hard!
Adrenaline, not so much.
Not any in fact. It is not a good idea to invite this hormone to your experience. When adrenalin rears its ugly head during child birth, labour can slow or even stop all together. This one should be kept at bay by any means necessary! Causing panic and anxiety in the labouring women, adrenaline also washes over babe resulting in undo distress to the unborn. If adrenalin gets out of hand he will completely take the labour over. High levels of this hindering hormone often lead to interventions and higher risk of PPd.
Knowing how these hormones work and the roll they play in childbirth are very important. The first step in every birth plan should be understanding how to manage these hormones when they arrive. Make sure that both O and E have plenty of space to get comfortable. When A shows up, bounce him out! The best way to achieve this is by addressing fears. Fear causes a rise in A, pushing O and E out. Any fear a women has about childbirth or motherhood will come up during her labour. It is a matter of what there is more of. Love and Focus or Fear.
If you are looking to learn more about the hormones that help and hinder and learn ways of coping please contact me, The Doula Chef and book your Labour Aid consult today.
Savour the moment.