Natural Birth – See How Clever Our Bodies Are!

Did you know that in the first hour of birth a woman’s oxytocin levels are at their highest ever, and never will be that high again?  Oxytocin is a hormone that our clever body produces to help: 

·        Contract the uterus, limiting blood loss

·        Increases the temperature of the mother’s breasts, providing warmth for the infant

·        Decrease stress

·        A state of calmness and social responsiveness

·        Bonding with their infant, and enhanced maternal behaviors                     

·        Milk ejection 

What a hormone!!  Yes we can get this artificially, called syntocinon or pitocin.  But oxytocin cannot cross from the peripheral circulation, such as through an IV, into the brain to cause the effects described above; therefore it is only naturally occurring oxytocin released by the posterior pituitary gland directly into the brain that will have this effect.   

To really take advantage of nature here it is imperative that this surge not be interrupted, hindered or even dismissed.  I will show you how this can happen.  If a woman has an epidural for pain relief then the hormone oxytocin is inhibited therefore decreasing your love surge and decreasing your rate of breastfeeding success.  Also having IV fluids for a long period of time with or without syntocinon (synthetic oxytocin) causes severe breast, nipple and areola edema (severe swelling).  Edema of the areola interferes with latching the baby to the breast, increasing the risk of poor milk transfer and nipple damage.    

Another area overlooked is the dismissal of this surge of oxytocin.  Let me explain, as I said before there is a surge in oxytocin for about a couple of hours immediately after birth, this aids in ejection of your milk. Research shows that a successful first feed, within an hour of birth, leads to a longer more successful breastfeeding relationship.  This happens because your hormones and your baby are most susceptible to learning breastfeeding at this time and it leaves a positive imprint setting you up for success.  If your baby is not fed in this window then breastfeeding problems are more likely and can persist.   

We need to get rid of this bathing, weighing and passing around of your little baby.  It is imperative that your baby, if possible, be given straight to you and put to your bare chest, skin-to-skin.  I mean no bra, no shirt, everything off. This will allow your baby’s innate instincts to be maximized.  Your baby will seek out your breasts by smelling and visualizing the darkened area of your breast (the areola).  Isn’t that amazing that your baby can find its own way to your breast and feed!  I mean all other species find their mother’s breast without any help, why would humans be any different!  To facilitate this we need to say no to weighing, no to bathing, no to needles and no to passing around (except hubby/partner).  Just keep your baby at your breast at least until the first breastfeed is completed (it’s not long, really!) this will give him/her the start in life that is totally natural and normal, why would we mess with nature, it is perfect!! 

To drive this point home further, the work of Michel Odent is well recognized by those involved in obstetrics.  In 2001 he wrote, “The age of cesarean sections on request, epidurals and drips of oxytocin is a turning point in the history of childbirth.  Until recently women could not give birth without releasing a complex cocktail of ‘love hormones’.  Today, in many countries, most women have babies without releasing these specific hormones.  The questions must be raised in terms of civilization.  This turning point occurs at the very time when several scientific disciplines suggest that the way human beings are born has long-term consequences, particularly in terms of sociability, aggressiveness or, in other words, ‘capacity to love’. 

With this in mind, the importance of skin-to-skin contact for mothers and babies is so crucial to the life of your child.  Please allow this special time to take place and don’t let anyone take it away from you.  Even if you have a cesarean section, skin-to-skin contact is important and can be achieved if you voice your wishes.  

To recap, a natural birth plan is the way to go.  Educate on the ways in which your body works so you can work with it not against it.  If you want to find out more then visit my blog www.naturalbirthplan.com and have a read. You can also contact me personally through the contact page or leave a comment.  Also, if you want to learn more on how to plan for your Natural Birth then follow this  link www.child-birth-options.com.  I have interviewed the best of the best in Natural Birth Planning, you can learn so much from listening to these interviews, you can let go of your fear and maximize what nature gave you. I would love to hear about your empowering stories of Natural Birth and how you achieved this amazing life event or how you are planning for your imminent birth right now.  Good luck and have fun learning.

Loretta

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  1. Natural Therapy » Natural Birth - See How Clever Our Bodies Are! | Natural Birth Plan Says:

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