Hormones of Labour
Labour and childbirth in unpredictable and with that may come fears about the unknown and what to expect. Some fear if they will make it to their birth location on time. Depending on where the woman lives, this can be a concern however there are usually signs and care providers usually provide information on when their patients should make their way to their birth location.
During early labour pregnant persons may experience different emotions. The different emotions may be because of changes in hormones, physical discomfort and impending lifestyle changes.
Some may feel fear – Will it hurt? Will I get to birth location on time? Will I need emergency care? I can’t do this. Excitement and boredom. These two emotions may take turns – first being really excited that the pregnant person will get to meet their baby soon and boredom by how long is this going to take, is it over yet?
Another emotion that some may experience is irritability and the pregnant person may even want to be left alone.
These and other emotions that may be felt during early labour are signs that the body and mind are adjusting and aren’t to cause concern or worry.
Pain of Childbirth
Another common fear is not being able to handle the pain. Labour is painful however every person handles pain differently and each pregnancy is different. When someone faces stress or pain, the body produces calming and pain-relieving hormones called endorphins. A high level of endorphins can help one deal with the process of giving birth even if labour is long or challenging. High level of endorphins can make the woman feel alert, attentive and euphoric. Low levels of endorphins can cause problems in labour and birth by causing labour to be excessively painful and difficult to tolerate which could lead to health care providers responding with interventions. By remaining calm and comfortable during labour the body’s production of endorphins will be enhanced.
With pain and stress, the body may also produce more adrenaline or the fight or flight hormone. If the woman feels threatened by fear or severe pain, this can create high levels of adrenaline. Adrenaline can slow or stop labour altogether. Too much adrenaline during labour can cause distress to the baby, can cause contractions to stop or slow down and can create a sense of panic and increasing pain in the woman.
The hormone oxytocin is needed in labour to help produce the strong contractions that will help dilate and thin the cervix and move the baby down and out of the birth canal. Having low levels of oxytocin can cause contractions to stop or slow which can lead health care providers to respond with interventions such as using pitocin.
A woman may be afraid of the pain and discomfort, they may be afraid of complications with baby or themselves, be afraid of a caesarean or even afraid of dying. The more a person becomes afraid and fearful, the less oxytocin the body will produce, and more adrenaline will be produced. If there is too much adrenaline in the body, there will be less oxytocin which may slow or stop the contractions and the high levels of adrenaline could cause distress in the baby.
It can be challenging to remain calm during labour and childbirth but the more a woman can remain calm, comfortable and relaxed, the better the hormones will work together. A woman can educate themselves prior to labour about common interventions, tour their birthing location to familiarize themselves and practice comfort measure techniques. Once at the location of birth, creating a calm environment such as dimming the lights, minimizing noises and even turning down any machines, limited visitors and unnecessary interruptions can help create a more comfortable and calmer environment.
Hire a Doula
A birth and labour doula is many things: a coach, a cheerleader, a liason with your healthcare team, a moral supporter, a knowledgeable advocate and more. Although doulas are not medically certified, they are certified, insured, experienced and knowledgeable.
As your birth doula, Melissa will be by your side throughout your labour and your child’s birth. Whether you have decided to give birth in a hospital setting, at a birth centre or at home, Melissa will provide continuous support.
She will liaise between you and your medical team as necessary, provide the emotional and physical support you need to keep your experience positive and productive, and provide critical tools and information throughout the processes of labour and birth.
Get in Touch Today
Contact Padma Yogi to arrange a free initial consultation. If you are planning to become pregnant, explore our fertility yoga class. If you are in the prenatal phase of your birth experience, try our prenatal yoga classes, or postpartum yoga once your baby is born. We look forward to meeting you and working with you through one of life’s most joyous experiences.