by Andrea Stainbrook
Love and labor go to together.
Common questions doulas are asked are:
“How do I get labor started?”
“What keeps a labor going?”
“What can help me in labor?”
These are all fabulous questions. Some are surprised to hear our answer for all of these questions is love. What’s that? Love?! Yes. Let’s break down love and labor.
Oxytocin is the “love hormone.” It is the feel good hormone that your body releases during labor to keep your uterus contracting. Do you know when else oxytocin is released? Whenever you have that warm and fuzzy feeling. You know when you watch a romantic comedy and we all see the plot, we all know how this ends, but you find yourself smiling and feeling nice anyway? That is good ole’ oxytocin working. Hugs feel nice, sharing a meal with another, memories of favorite vacations, these all stir up that hormone.
So anything to release oxytocin in labor can help get a labor moving or started, and also help you through labor by making you feel good while it continues to progress.
You can use to this knowledge in the birth room. The uterus needs to keep contracting to bring baby down. If you have a partner you care deeply for they can be useful in labor to keep that oxytocin flowing. Getting into positions where you are facing one another can help facilitate that exchange. My favorite position is “8th Grade Slow Dancing.” The birthing person can place their hands on the shoulders of their partner while the partner places their hands on the birthing person’s hips. You both can sway and dance together during or through contractions. You may giggle at first and that is OK because giggling is good too! Laughter releases the love-hormone.
Romantic love of a partner is just one form of love. Other oxytocin inducing ideas:
- Hang up photos of a vacation you truly enjoyed
- Set out framed photos of your other children, or loved ones
- Place favorite movie quotes around the room
- Positive birth affirmations
- Music that gives you the feels
- Being told funny or heart warming stories
Love is such a wonderful thing! As you can see it can play an integral part of your labor. What other things do you think you can do during labor to keep the love hormone flowing?