A reader asked,
I'm 10 days overdue, according to my birth date and wanted more info on the release of oxytocin to start labour. I'm wondering of the effects of this spray on pregnant women and how it would affect them, if this is the hormone that responds to labour induction. How would it affect them if in proximity of any person using the hormone?
Oxytocin is, in fact, the natural hormone that causes the uterus to contract in labor; pitocin is the synthetic version commonly used in hospitals to stimulate contractions and to reduce postpartum bleeding.
In the hospital, the standard dosage of oxytocin for helping to start labor is 0.5 to 2 milliunits per minute given via IV for an hour or more. Therefore, it's really unlikely -- in fact, seems impossible -- that being in the presence of someone using oxytocin himself could stimulate your own labor. Moreover, I don’t think OxyCalm in itself could induce labor.
It is possible that the small amounts of oxytocin in OxyCalm would help you or someone near you to feel calmer, which is important always and especially when you near your birthing time.
Remember, though, that the release of oxytocin is a natural process. The pituitary gland releases oxytocin when we feel nurtured and loved. When we feel threatened, unsafe or anxious, our sympathetic nervous system is activated. Its name belies the function of the sympathetic nervous system, which handles fight-or-flight behaviors.
I've been reading the excellent "Ina Mae's Guide to Childbirth," by Ina Mae Gaskin, one of the foremost authorities on natural birth. Her book is full of anecdotes about women whose births were stalled until they fixed something about their environments or relationships that made them feel unsafe. She writes, "Sphincters function best in an atmosphere of familiarity and privacy."
You might consider whether there's anything about your birth preparations that makes you feel uncomfortable and find an alternative. If this is the case, the change can help your natural oxytocin to flow.
You also can do many things to stimulate the release of oxytocin in your body. If you have a supportive partner, enjoy as much physical intimacy with this person as feels good to you. Kissing, stroking, massage and orgasm release powerful waves of oxytocin that can relax your body enough to start labor.
Congratulations on your upcoming birthing. I hope it's a wonderful experience for you and your baby!
tag: <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/%22ecstatic+birth%22" rel="tag">"ecstatic birth"</a>