Today, we are inundated with volumes of information on health, medicine, technology and science–beyond any previous generation. We may or may not always welcome it, but information can be powerful. It can also provide us with certain advantages.
Most childbirth professionals and many parents are aware of the hormone oxytocin and the import role it plays when it comes to labor and birth. Oxytocin is a necessary hormone, produced in a mother’s body, which supports the onset and progress of labor, and birth of the baby.
However, there is a catch. Adrenaline impedes the production of oxytocin. The most common trigger for adrenaline creation is, of course, fear or upset of some kind. So when it comes to birth, we have an interesting challenge: how to support the mother in a way that she feels safe, or not afraid, and to optimize her results. Education, preparation and physical support are typically most important for mothers, particularly first-time ones. However, we could also provide moms with an “Oxytocin Generator” of her own: the father/partner.
Oxytocin is often called the “hormone of love” as it is also produced in each of us during times of intimate physical contact. Loving couples produce this delectable cocktail regularly, due to their sexual relationship. This intimate dynamic within a couple’s relationship can be one of the most valuable assets in support of a birthing mother. A couple, when properly prepared, supported and allowed the space of intimacy, can have a significant advantage of increased oxytocin during labor and birth. After all, two generating oxytocin are better than one.
So couples: keep the intimacy alive. Ask for some privacy during labor and enjoy a deep kiss, a gentle caress and… who knows? Experiment to see just how much oxcytocin two people can generate.
This is the second in our series, “Focus on Fathers”–watch for more to come! Patrick Houser is author of the, Fathers-To-Be Handbook, a roadmap for the transition to fatherhood, a parent and childbirth professional workshop leader, freelance writer and speaker at conferences world-wide. Learn more at www.FathersToBe.org.