Don’t panic, go make some oxytocin.
THE celebrated hormone of childbirth is oxytocin, her job is to get your uterus to contract. Rhythmically reducing the size of your uterus and ripening it into a powerhouse, muscle machine. This emphatically encourages your baby to make his way out. Time to see the light, little dumpling!
Well dang, oxytocin who are you and how do we get more of you? Turns out she’s right there, under the surface, waiting for someone to rub your feet. Oxytocin likes to feel safe and warm. She comes out of hiding when the lights are low and the music is good. When there is a warm bath running and a glass of red wine waiting (please consult your OB on the wine!)
It’s a feel good hormone. You get it when you’re being touched, having an orgasm. While giving and receiving love, you know, being in the present moment. It’s how we humans bond, why we keep coming back for more.
Oxytocin is a real safe, joyful and present feeling.
And so, if there are things in your life that are causing you stress or anxiety, then I’m here to tell you that you may be producing another hormone too, called cortisol and/or adrenaline. These helpful at other moments, just not at the end of your pregnancy hormones, may block the production of oxytocin in your body.
Hello, pacing around wondering why the hell you aren’t in labor yet!
I am NOT telling you to “just relax” here. The stress will be there, that’s a given, normal part of the human condition. What I’m inviting you to do, is to see if you can give the stress just a little bit less of your attention and to instead cultivate joyful, yummy sensations in the body.
Drop in and have fun. You cannot think your way into labor, but you can have an orgasm and take a bubble bath. (You might have to take 30 bubble baths.) We have to remember that the process isn’t linear and the unfolding takes time. We are talking about a 5 week window here, anytime between 37–42 weeks of pregnancy. It might be helpful to erase that due date from your calendar.
We want you to have as much oxytocin as possible, as you approach the end of your pregnancy, then you don’t have to do anything, except feel good, right?
That’s why it’s a good idea to get rid of the stuff that’s stressing you out. You don’t have to go for a jog unless you want to. You don’t have to walk up and down stairs. There’s no pressure, right? We want to take the pressure off and we want you to feel in a place of ease. That’s the goal. So take care of unfinished business and rest your weary feet, my dear. You will meet your baby soon.
Call to action
What can you do tonight to produce some oxytocin? Who’s help can your recruit?
In my next post, I’ll be discussing signs of early labor. And each week going forward, I’ll be walking you through the childbirth process.
Love your (virtual) doula,