Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Oxy.. whaaaattt???

Oxytocin, adrenalin, endorphins - just a few of the hormones present at birth. The human body has an amazing balance of hormones, all working in harmony, all with a specific function - think of it somewhat as a potion. If one goes off-balance, it triggers another and well, the balance goes off. So let’s look exactly at what their functions are, what halts their performance and what helps them work at their peak.

Oxytocin Also known as the love hormone. This hormone is responsible for causing contractions during labour and birth, producing milk. It’s the hormone that also helps make you feel good and triggers nurturing feelings. It also prevents postpartum hemorrhage. What causes oxytocin levels to drop during labour and birth? If a mum feels unsafe in anyway the oxytocin levels drop. What happens when oxytocin levels drop?? -contractions slow down or disappear entirely. -because the contractions slow down the labour is longer.

Endorphins In response to the pain a woman in labour feels, her body produces a hormone called an endorphin. Endorphins are responsible for calming the body and are the body’s natural pain killer. This hormone also triggers the release of prolactin (the hormone responsible for lactation).

What causes endorphin levels to drop during labour?? -the use of an epidural. -the use of pain meds during labour. What happens when the endorphin levels drop? -the labour becomes painful and difficult to tolerate -the use for interventions increase

Adrenaline During labour the hormone adrenaline is produced to ensure ‘survival’ If a woman feels threatened during labour her body produces a high amount of adrenalin.

What causes adrenalin levels to rise? -a frantic, frightened mum -An uncomfortable mum -Unwelcomed visitors in her birth space -Noise
What happens when adrenalin levels rise? The labour can slow down and stop altogether and give rise to unnecessary interventions. It’s clearly highlighted above, the importance of all hormones having to be in a perfect balance. Most women are now realising the importance of labouring at home, as dilation is aided in a familiar environment and going to the hospital towards the end. Besides all of the above it is imperative that you educate yourself about birth, prepare psychologically and take charge of your birth, making it an event that is positive in every way!

By Sumaiyya Mahomed 
Mother's Intuition
Cell: 076 762 3306

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