In my classes, I always say that the sounds and environment which helped create this baby, should be the same for bringing baby into the world. Why is the idea of where you will have your baby or where you will labour so important when preparing for the birth of your baby? It’s all about the physiology of birth and the big player in this is oxytocin which is one of the main hormones involved with childbirth. It also happens to be the same hormone involved with sex and breastfeeding.
Oxytocin is called the “love hormone” or “trust hormone” because that is what we release during sexual activity. When we get aroused, it’s oxytocin. When we have an orgasm, it’s oxytocin. When you see a mother’s milk let down when hearing any baby cry, it’s oxytocin at work. Oxytocin levels are at their highest during pregnancy and especially during labour. As oxytocin is released, the uterus contracts and guides the birthing process along. In fact the biggest shot of oxytocin a woman experiences in her life is during childbirth in those moments right after the birth. It’s all part of the cocktail of hormones that help mom and baby fall in love after birth.
If there are parallels between oxytocin in childbirth and sexual activity, just picture yourself having sex in a bright, loud room full of strangers? It wouldn’t be the same as it is in privacy. Instead you would likely feel stressed and release adrenaline, another hormone known as the “fight or flight” hormone. However women in labour are routinely in environments full of people they don’t know. Anxiety isn’t what you want in birth. Adrenaline, needs to be kept in check otherwise it may end up preventing the release of oxytocin, which then leads to the process becoming very different with interventions to try and help the process that has derailed along. No one can tell you that Pitocin (the synthetic version of oxytocin) will do the same thing.
So when considering your options for your birth, if you are planning a home or hospital birth, consider how you will achieve the quiet, peaceful environment you need to do the work of childbirth, and let oxytocin do it’s job.
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