What is Oxytocin and why you should care if you are pregnant
Oxytocin is a hormone. and a pretty freaking cool one. It is what we feel when you cuddle up on the couch with your boo, or maybe your cat or dog. Its the feeling you get when you smell something that reminds you of someone you love. Oxytocin is super important for labor, and that's because it runs the show!
Queen O, she, is responsible for making your uterus "contract" or hug around your baby to encourage them to descend down into your pelvic inlet and out through the vaginal canal. She is beauty. She is grace. She is intense.
So, how do you encourage oxytocin flow in labor ?
Picture this. You are your partner are getting it on. and by IT.... you know what I mean.There are dimly lit candles, your favorite romantic music playlist is playing and its super sensual. So.... now lets change that and make the room cold, turn on bright lights, and have machines beeping. You are being stuck with needles, and having strangers come in and out asking you how old you are and your medical history. How does that second scene feel? Is it a place you feel comfortable to have an intimate experience? Probably not. Birth is intimate. It is sacred. and it should feel that way! If you wouldn't feel comfortable having sex in the environment you are giving birth in, were going to change that. And yes, this is 100% possible in a hospital room, it does not have to be cold & bright.
I once had a couple that brought to the hospital the same string lights they had up at their wedding. What a sweet way to bring back allllll those oxytocin vibes. A+ for them.
2. Feeling SAFE
When animals are in the wild and in danger, a hormone called adrenaline starts rushing though their body. This helps them run fast, and get to a place of safety and survive. There is a level of adrenaline that we need for birth however, adrenaline directly counteracts oxytocin. No bueno. Wherever it is that you feel safest-- in the hospital, at a birth center, at home, that is where you should be giving birth. Do you feel safest with minimal people in the room so you can make all of the animalistic, innate sounds birth brings? cool. We're kicking out anyone who does not need to be there. Maybe you feel safest having extra support-- also great! Obstetrician or midwife? There are a lot of factors that play upon your feeling of security and safety. This is why taking a childbirth education class, working with a doula, or any level of preparation other than showing up when your water breaks is essential.
3. Cuddles, support & laughter
Physical touch can go a long way in labor. A hand on the shoulder or chest can be grounding. It is easy during labor to let the intensity take over and overwhelm you. Having support from your partner, possibly a doula, or anyone who is going to make you feel like you are a total queen birth goddess warrior. Someone who is going to make you laugh -- yes, laughter releases endorphins which are natures opiates and decrease the perception of pain. Some people know that they don't like being touched in labor or any time where they are in pain. This is great too however, it is equally as important to feel supported emotionally and informationally.
These are just a FEW ways to encourage oxytocin flow in labor. Follow along this blog, or join me on social media, or schedule a call to learn more and prepare to have a supported birth experience.