The key role for an amazing experience in the birthing process plays oxytocin, the „love hormone“ involved in bonding, sex, childbirth, breast-feeding as well as feelings of peace and calm. Those who meditate regularly might know that also meditation can increase oxytocin’s effect. The deep state of rest produced during meditation triggers the brain to release neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins. Ingredients that have vital roles for emotional awareness, attention, perception, self-recognition, decision making and stress regulation.
Dr. Michel Odent talks about the biochemical explanation for why birth is and should be an erotic and sometimes orgasmic event: the main hormone in both sex and birth is the same (oxycontin). And we need as good conditions for good labour as we need good conditions for good lovemaking. Because if a woman produces adrenaline (related to fear) she cannot produce oxyocin, which is the hormone not only needed to deliver the baby but also to deliver the placenta.
It is absolutely necessary for a woman during labour to feel at ease and comfortable (unobserved and not judged), that she is uninhibited to follow intuitively her blue print for labour and encouraged to trust her body to complete this ancient and mystic process. Unfortunately, few women ever have such conditions of privacy, safety and non-disturbance, which is the fundamental problem for why women need so much help when giving birth.
These days it seems more “natural” to replace natural oxytocin with drips of synthetic oxytocin and natural endorphins by epidural anaesthesia. So most women give birth without relying on the release of their own natural hormones. The downside of the readily available synthetic hormones is, that they do not have the same behavioural effects as the natural ones. Synthetic oxytocin for example inhibits the release of natural oxytocin from the woman’s pituitary gland. And the artifical drug will be effective at stimulating uterine contractions, but it will not reach the brain, meaning it will not have the „bonding effect“ as the natural hormone.
Natural methods also require the woman to be an active participant in the birthing process, which involves empowering her to listen to her body and being able to change positions (walking, squatting, rolling, hovering in water or just resting) – in contrast to a woman being stuck in a hospital bed on her back with feet strapped, which has consistently been shown to slow down and complicate labor.
“The same movements that get the baby in, get the baby out.”
From Birthing From Within