UP YOUR OXYTOCIN
Labour is an exciting time fraught with all kinds of emotions! But don’t let yourself get stressed over it. Certain types of personalities and lifestyles can suppress oxytocin production. “Oxytocin and stress hormones (such as adrenalin and cortisol) really do not form a balanced equation. The stress will always dominate the body and oxytocin will be reduced,” says Henny de Beer, a clinical midwife specialist at Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital and a senior partner in the Grove De Beer Midwife Practice.
GET YOURSELF A LOVE BOOST DURING LABOUR
■ STAY CALM, COMFORTABLE AND CONFIDENT. Whatever helps you get to your happy place – do it. ■ AVOID DISTURBANCES in the room and around your space, such as unwelcome people or noise, and uncomfortable procedures. ■ STAY UPRIGHT as much as possible during labour. This uses gravity so that the baby presses against the cervix and then, as the baby is born, against the tissues of the pelvic floor. ■ TOUCH IS THE BIGGEST OXYTOCIN CUE – hugs, embraces, kisses, you name it. ■ STIMULATE THE NIPPLES or clitoris before birth to release oxytocin. ■ GIVE BABY A CHANCE TO SUCKLE shortly after birth to give bonding and the likelihood of breastfeeding succeeding a boost.