Good Morning My Lovely Mamas!
The Physiological Power of Our Laboring Bodies is beautifully described… from the Alliance Of African Midwives:
Oxytocin plays a big role in labour. Oxytocin is the hormone that causes the uterus to contract during labour. Levels of oxytocin gradually increase throughout labour, and are highest around the time of birth, when it contributes to the euphoria and receptiveness to her baby that a mother usually feels after an unmedicated birth. This peak, which is triggered by sensations of stretching of the birth canal as the baby is born, does not occur when an epidural is in place. Administration of an epidural has been found to interfere with bonding between ewes and their newborn lambs.
Catecholamine’s-stress hormones or “fight or flight” hormones can slow your labour down, this is why it’s important to create the ideal environment during labour. If a woman if feeling at all stressed or unsafe during her labour this can slow or stop it, “Failure to Progress,” which can lead to interventions to start it up again. Notice that “Failure to Progress” has the same initials as “Fear-Tension-Pain?” If a woman is at all scared during the labour process she will tense up. If she tenses up and no one helps to calm her down or give her love and support, tension usually leads to more pain. Pain then leads back to becoming more scared. This cycle can build on itself and become out of control, therefore causing the mother to feel out of control?
Beta-endorphins are your body’s natural pain killers. These will kick in during childbirth! As a naturally occurring opiate, beta-endorphin has properties similar to opiate drugs such as Pethidine (Meperidine, Demerol), morphine, and heroin, and has been shown to work on the same receptors of the brain. Beta-endorphin is also a stress hormone, released under conditions of duress and pain, when it acts as an analgesic (pain killer) and, like other stress hormones, suppresses the immune system.
Prolactin is produced after birth. It is a calming hormone and is necessary for milk production. Prolactin levels rise during pregnancy and drop for a short period just before birth, then they rise once again a few hours after delivery, or immediately when the baby is put to the breast.
Trust Self, Trust Body & Be Strong!