Essential Guide to Hormones in Labor & Birth

Birth is an awe-inspiring event. The wonder begins long before the delivery, generally unobserved and aspects of it without our knowledge. On the biochemical level, there is an amazing, complex orchestration and delicate interplay of hormones throughout labor and delivery, yet many times interventions during birth disrupt this unique process and create consequences which are problematic for labor, delivery, the postpartum period and beyond. Dr.Sarah Buckley did a wonderful job of researching and explaining these vital processes in the article posted below. I believe it is in every woman’s best interest to be well informed regarding the benefits of allowing her labor to begin and progress naturally, so this article is for care providers and mothers alike.

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Giving birth in ecstasy: This is our birthright and our body’s intent. Mother Nature, in her wisdom, prescribes birthing hormones that take us outside (ec) our usual state (stasis), so that we can be transformed on every level as we enter motherhood. This exquisite hormonal orchestration unfolds optimally when birth is undisturbed, enhancing safety for both mother and baby. Science is also increasingly discovering what we realise as mothers – that our way of birth affects us life-long, both mother and baby, and that an ecstatic birth – a birth that takes us beyond our self – is the gift of a life-time. Read more…

Giving birth is an act of love, and each birth is unique to the mother and her baby. Yet we also share the same womanly physiology, and the same exquisite orchestration of our birthing hormones. Our capacity for ecstasy in birth is also both unique and universal, a necessary blessing that is hard-wired into our bodies, yet that requires, especially in these times, that we each trust, honor, and protect the act of giving birth according to our own instincts and needs. Dutch professor of obstetrics G. Kloosterman offers a succinct summary, which would be well placed on the door of every birth room: Spontaneous labour in a normal woman is an event marked by a number of processes so complicated and so perfectly attuned to each other that any interference will only detract from the optimal character. The only thing required from the bystanders is that they show respect for this awe-inspiring process by complying with the first rule of medicine—nil nocere [Do no harm].

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