The one comment that I will make here on the difference between naturally formed oxytocin and synthetic forms is that from my research I have found that natural oxytocin communicates with the brain to respond according to a cascade of events that start and support the process of labour. Synthetic forms of oxytocin do not cross the blood-brain barrier and therefore the cascade of events is not the same, therefore contractions and the birthing process is experienced differently. The benefits of waiting for a spontaneous Labour may at times outweigh the benefits of an induction. Of course this all depending on the reasons your birthing team offers as why medical induction is best suited for you and your baby.
Again I cannot highlight enough the importance of you being fully informed and asking all the questions relevant to natural versus medical induction. I also do not want to advise you way, as every pregnancy and everybody is completely different.
But what if there were natural ways you could increase the natural production of oxytocin? Which you would you prefer if you knew there were ways you can do it before having a medical induction?
Naturally produced oxytocin truly is that wonder hormone that encourages a spontaneous labour and can also support you throughout any labour to enhance natural oxytocin production. And if you can trust in your body to do what it knows best, you, baby and your support team will reap the benefits.
We know that oxytocin stimulates the uterus muscles to contract, therefore helping contractions along with encouraging the baby to move into the most optimal position ready for birth. But what about the other benefits. Naturally derived oxytocin:
- Stimulates uterus muscles (contractions)
- Increases production of prostaglandins
- Speeds up delivery of placenta
- Reduces risk of heavy bleeding
- Promotes breastfeeding
So how can you help the process when your medical team are already talking medical induction when you are only at 32 weeks gestation? Here are a few tips to boost oxytocin naturally:
- Touch / Pleasure or love responses - this does not even have to involve a partner. Cuddling a loved one, child, friend or anyone may well be enough. And learning self-pleasure can also be helpful. It does not even have to be of a sexual nature (see massage below)
- Skin to Skin contact - time to get nakey with a loved one. Okay so this one might have a little more of the sexual connotations to it, but again it does not have to mean that. What about a skinny dip? Feeling the sensation of water flowing over your body can create beautiful pleasurable feelings encouraging the release of the right hormones.
- Massage - I am really big on self-massage for igniting self-pleasure. But sometimes it can take time to get used to the pleasure and benefits of self-massage. But if self-massage is not your thing why not just have regular pregnancy massages instead? I offer a beautiful pregnancy massage experience for all trimesters of pregnancy that include a remedial treatment (if needed), relaxation, meditation and visualisation. Towards the end of the pregnancy, I discuss with my clients moving to Initiation massages. These massages prepare the pregnant body for labour and birth and support the natural release of oxytocin. Many of my clients go into spontaneous labour simply because they are more relaxed, have feelings of being empowered to birth naturally and are feeling all the good birth hormones to support the birthing process.
- Laughter - what a simple, yet powerful way to boost the production of oxytocin. Laughter is known to release the happy hormones and has many benefits beyond helping you prepare for labour. But all of those benefits can support the natural birth of your baby because laughter is said to be a natural painkiller, a way to massage your belly (think about the term "belly laugh") and it can even help lower blood pressure. So watching a comedy movie or just sharing a good laugh with a friend or loved one can help lead to spontaneous labour.
- Love - being around or thinking about a loved one naturally produces the release of oxytocin. Try a simple meditation where you find gratitude for those that you love. Visualisation is a powerful way to induce a response in your body. Take a few moments to sit in stillness and visualise those that you love, even the baby that you carry. Think about moment when you have felt great love and sense the building of all those feel good hormones in your body.
If you are seeking a natural birth, no matter where you are in your pregnancy please feel free to reach out for a consultation on how I can help you prepare for labour. It would be my privilege to support you in preparing for a natural birth, so you can meet your new addition without the barriers that come with a medically induced labour.