Natural Ways to Produce Oxytocin in Labour
When you are in labour your body produces Oxytocin which makes the uterus contract. A woman who has her labour artificially induced will often be given Syntocinon to get labour started. This is artifical Oxytocin. However, the body does not react in the same way to Syntocinon as Oxytocin. Syntocinon can cause the contractions to come on thick and fast and women are more likely to need an epidural (and so more likely to have an assisted birth) if their labour is artificially induced.
Conversely, Oxytocin is known as the 'love hormone' or the 'feel good hormone'. It causes the body to release endorphines which act as a natural pain killer.
So, what can you do in labour to get lots of that lovely Oxytocin? Well, Oxytocin is also released during sexual intercourse. If labour stalls you and your partner could try some nipple stimulation to help increase Oxytocin production which in turn helps the uterus to contraction.
You can also try doing the things you would normally do on a romantic date which your partner to increase Oxytocin levels in early labour. Laughing, rhythmic moving, touch and relaxed breathing can all increase Oxytocin levels.
In my last labour, when I felt the surges beginning to build my husband and I went for a gentle walk where we laughed together and held hands. It felt strange yet very natural and comfortable to be in labour whilst doing something so normal for us to do as a couple.
Has anyone tried nipple stimulation to help increase Oxytocin levels? Are there any other ways you helped your body to naturally bring on labour?