Turn the Lights Down Low and Let the Oxytocin Flow!

Childbirth is a very quiet, intimate experience, not only for the mother but for the baby and those attending the birth.  During intimate times it’s fitting to have the lights down low as this actually helps labor progress.

But, why is this and what causes it?

Oxytocin, the love hormone, is released during labor, intimacy, cuddling, anytime love is freely expressed.  During intimate times our comfort levels go up as the lights go out.  This is the same with childbirth.

Oxytocin promotes contractions, helps to thin and open the cervix, birth your baby, birth your placenta and help with bleeding.  Low levels of oxytocin can cause the contractions to stop or slow down, thus making labor last longer and potentially resulting in more bleeding after the birth of the placenta.  It can also result in a diagnosis of the dreaded ‘failure to progress’ that oftentimes ends in a c-section.  Be proactive and do all you can to help your body produce ample amounts of your love hormone.

During birth our inhibitions need to go down.  Have you ever been undressed with a stranger in the room and the lights on?  It’s a rather uncomfortable thought but that’s what most women are expected to do during birth.  Just turning the lights down can help a mother feel more comfortable in a most uncomfortable situation.

Another help would be to help the mother find her own space.

Just like wild animals, women tend to find private areas to birth in when left alone.  For example, during the birth of my last baby I ultimately found my way into my bathroom.  There was only enough room in my bathroom for me, my midwife and my husband.  Due to the cramped size of the room the assistant midwife had to wait out in the hallway!  The midwife even asked if I’d like to leave the bathroom but I instinctively chose not too.  Not only was I going to stay in my little shower (water felt good) but I didn’t want to be on display for everyone else waiting out there to see Judith make her appearance.

I realize this isn’t always easy to do in a hospital setting but maybe just moving to the bathroom or keeping the room curtain closed can help create the proper setting when she is in active labor.

Also, keep the number of visitors to an absolute minimum, especially when she’s having a hard time concentrating on her contractions.  There is nothing more difficult than trying to birth your baby while people are watching you like you’re a TV program.  Get all unnecessary people out!

How have you helped a mother get comfortable with her surroundings during childbirth?  Have you found that turning the lights down during the birth of your child increased your feeling of privacy?  Please comment below!