TRY PHYSIOLOGICAL BIRTH!
Oxytocin and beta-endorphins are key hormones in labour and birth - they create your uterine surges, offer pain relief, feelings of safety and time distortion, as well as making birth safer for you and your baby.
They also happen to be the hormones of love, connection, ecstasy and bliss which activate the dopamine reward system, releasing natural opiates into the brain creating intense and addictive feelings of positivity and pleasure!
During orgasm, research has shown that women’s oxytocin levels often DOUBLE, and that the higher the level of oxytocin, the stronger the orgasm.
In a physiological (spontaneously starting, unmedicated and uninterrupted) labour, oxytocin levels steadily rise to around 3-4 times their usual leaves by the time the pushing reflex kicks in. Your baby is also benefiting from the increased levels as natural oxytocin (unlike the synthetic version offered intravenously in hospital) crosses the placenta offering baby the same feel good benefits you enjoy.
In the Golden Hour after a physiological birth, oxytocin levels have been shown to be as high as TEN TIMES their usual norm… the greatest peak you’re ever likely to experience, no matter how good your partner is in bed 🙊
This makes perfect biological sense - this hour is known to be a critical time for mother-baby bonding, breastfeeding initiation, birthing the placenta (low oxytocin levels = greater risk of heavy bleeding), and generally stepping into maternal behaviours which would once have been critical for infant survival!
Some medications including synthetic oxytocin, epidural and opiate based pain relief interfere with the production of these hormones and disturb the experience, that’s not to say they don’t have a time & place, but part of making your informed choices is understanding that in taking with one hand, you may be giving with the other.
If you’d like to work towards a physiological birth but don’t yet know how you’ll cope - get in touch so I can help remove the fear, and show you just how many tools you have at your disposal for thriving during your natural birth!
I’m a firm believer that you should get your antenatal education independent from the NHS. In my own experience and that of clients, it can be hard to get unbiased information and support from NHS classes taught by the very care providers constrained by hospital policies and expectations!
One of my clients recently described it as ‘antenatal grooming’ as they felt they were being given half a story to gain their compliance when the day came, which resonated with me… lots of assumptions that you’ll be going in to hospital to give birth, being told that things like the MLBU / birth pool / homebirth are only available if you’re ‘low risk’ and that ‘you’ll have to….’ at a certain time point or because of a certain risk factor etc.
What you need is information, support and nuanced conversation about risks, benefits and your gut feelings!
Here at Supernova, all of the information and support I share is evidence based and independent - I have no vested interest in the choices you make, other than genuinely caring that they’re the right ones for YOU!
Many of my clients make different choices to the ones I did / might make in the same circumstances. I support them fully because it is their body, baby and choice!
Many of my clients choose to birth outside of hospital policy - it isn’t law, it isn’t always evidence based and cannot be best for every person giving birth! But many are also happy to go with what is offered, I support them fully and offer many tools to use in their circumstances.
Many of my clients come to me for their second+ pregnancy, and feel that in ‘doing as they were told’ last time, they had a birth which was harder on them and their baby than needed.
You can join us Mondays at The Birth Circle for empowering antenatal education, powerful labour tools and health boosting relaxation.
Investment just £99 for 6 sessions
Booking link is in my bio
It’s common to wonder what you should do when labour starts. Its usually at home (unless you’ve gone in to be induced - in which case these tips are still relevant!) and it rarely unfolds fast enough to have a midwife come straight out to you at home, or to be welcomed onto the MLBU/Labour Ward.
This can feel scary for some expectant parents, often more so the support parent, as we don’t always know what to expect or do.
Ultimately what you should do is pause and tune into what your mind and body are telling you to do. Depending on the time of day or night, that may be to rest, walk, bathe, meditate, call a loved one, or finally pack the birth bag you’ve been putting off for just one more day 😆
But here are 3 things I think everyone should be doing during early labour when drawn to:
💫 Breathing - taking even just a few minutes to focus on your breath, to slow it down and turn your attention inwards will hugely help in early labour. You’ll be maximising your oxytocin release, increasing relaxation and minimising pain! You’re building time distorting hormones and allowing your ‘thinking brain’ to slowly turn off - perfect for labour!
💫 Resting - but wisely. Now isn’t the time for slouching back on the sofa, get comfy in a position which opens the pelvis allowing baby to put pressure on your cervix, continuing the flow of labour hormones and helping them move into your pelvis most easily. Sleep, breathe, listen to music or an audiobook, have your partner snuggle or massage you or simply relax your body between surges.
💫 Eat & Drink - labour is a marathon of sorts, it could well go on for many hours. Your body can manage that, as can your mind, but only well you’re taking care of them both! On top of breathing and resting, staying hydrated and keeping your energy levels up are vital to labour going well. If you’re out of energy, you’re going to find every surge or every push more challenging and disheartening. Carb load in early labour if you fancy a proper meal, or focus on energy dense foods like dried fruit, nuts, crackers, flapjack etc as well as drinking plenty.
For more tips, follow or follow the link in my bio to book a class!