There are a number of hormones at work during your pregnancy, your birth and the early postnatal days (especially the early postnatal days!!!) Today I just want to focus on the ones at work when you are laboring and birthing your tiny beautiful human (square peg) through what can definitely feels like a round hole. These hormones are know by many names but they are the love hormones, the happy hormones, the hormones that make this process doable, easy and even pleasurable (I know!) for some mummy’s.
So what are they?
Relaxin is responsible (and has a lot to answer for) during your pregnancy, but as the name suggests it is the hormone of relaxation. It helps relax your ligaments and your joints especially during the labour process to allow your pelvis to move and open to facilitate a baby moving thorugh it. In the same way that relaxin is responsible for relaxing so many parts of your body, it is also responsible for relaxing the ligaments and joints of your babies body. In this way allowing them to assume positions we couldn’t dream of and birth like the contortionist that they are. Relaxin is also responsible for lubricating the vaginal path at the end stage during birth…can you imagine doing that part without it?
This is a naturally forming hormone released by your body to assist in the preparation and “ripening” of the cervix in preparation for the labour and birth. When I talk about “ripening” what I mean is, the softening, the shortening and the moving around of the cervix, to face forwards instead of towards your bum. Your cervix needs to do all of these things, often before it even starts to open or “dilate”. Amazingly prostaglandins are also naturally produced by men in semen so if you are keen to give your baby an eviction notice, sex is a very effective way of delivery.
The hormone of LOVVVVEEEE. This is the hormone that produces contractions, intensifies them and keeps labour going. It is KILLED by adrenaline! Oxytocin is also responsible for all of your nice and happy feelings when you see and spend time with your kids or partner. It is the hormone responsible for milk let down when you are breastfeeding, it is also the hormone of orgasm! Yes when you get THAT feeling it is oxytocin working at its best.
So what do I want you to get from this message? The same hormone responsible for getting that baby up and in there is also the hormone responsible for getting that baby back outta there. So environment, care providers and comfort are ESSENTIAL to a positive and comfortable birth.
If you want to know how you can replicate these settings and learn the tools to activate your oxytocin in labour and birth? Check out HypnoBirthing as an education option. Not sure about HypnoBirthing? Check out my HypnoBirthing readiness checklist! to see if your already ready and download my Progressive Relaxation as a small taste of what relaxation involves.