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  • Sharon Tenuta

Hormones Empower Natural Birth


Feb. 1, 2024                S. Tenuta


If a person has fear in regards to labor and birth, the body registers this information and turns on the appropriate hormones that would keep a person safe.  In the past, a fear in the wild would be of a wild animal looking to chase you.  The body’s hormones would shriek, and halt all systems so it can protect the heart and the brain.  The oxygen would go to the heart, which would  in turn pump blood to the extremities so the person would have the energy to run away from the wild animal.  The person would flee with a heart pounding quickly in the chest, with feet fleeing and with the brain scanning alertly for more information. Hormones empower fight and flight.

If fear is mixed in with labor and birth, the blood in mom’s system is taken from the muscles and tissues and veins and arteries that normally would be flowing with the birth hormones to the placenta and baby.  The veins and blood vessels tighten up to limit the amount of blood flow to the placenta, and muscles that would be readying themselves for the expulsion of a baby.  The blood would go to mom’s brain and heart to keep her protected just as if a wild animal were chasing her.  The muscles that could be getting ready for birth are stalled from the fear.  So, labor stalls.

However, if mom is relaxed, and aware of how the body works in normal pregnancy, labor and birth, there is no need to fear.  Mom would embrace the process, recognize when baby is fine, know that her body knows how to birth, breathe through the tightenings, listen to baby and then move into positions that the innate mind directs mother.  She is actually able to be in a zone that is called the alpha state.  In this state, she is aware of all that is happening in an amplified way through her senses, but she is not totally able to communicate what she is experiencing at that time.

If she goes with this process, her body will have the right amount of relaxin, oxytocin, prolactin, progesterone, and estrogen that is needed for the body to naturally expel baby.  Mom, being close to baby, observing baby, looking into baby’s eyes, and being present, will automatically increase the oxytocin that is the bonding hormone.  Mom and dad and baby, have an hour of intimate time together that can benefit their family circle for eternity.  That intimacy will continue to grow through skin to skin contact, eye contact, special touch and sensory sensitivity, especially during these first hours after birth.  This intimate time sets the stage for baby’s conscious memories and behaviors for a lifetime. If there is a trauma, don’t lose hope.  You can still bond with your baby in time.

As a birthworker, I have recommendations for what I’d like to see parents experience after birth.  That does not mean all will experience this.  It also, does not mean that other ways of intimacy won’t work as well.  We all come to earth with a journey ahead of us.  If we are here to heal others, so be it, if we are here to process some unresolved traumas, so be it.  If we are here to experience some difficulty, so be it.  May we be able to be present at all times in order to receive our experiences with wisdom and peace.

I feel blessed to be able to have experienced a peaceful, empowering birth recently.  Labor was requiring lots of movement for mom.  A little water aided in pain relief.  Swaying hips with pelvis counter pressure aided mom as well.  When baby decided to come, mom decided to be on the bed in a semi-reclining position.  It was no more than 5 min. and baby decided to crown.  Then within a few minutes, baby’s head appeared and within 2 breaths, baby’s entire body was expelled.  Mom had no tears.  Her uterus contracted fully into the baseball sized immediately with no complications.  It was a most beautiful birth.  Dad caught baby.  The placenta was ready to come out 20 min. later.  Baby cried as soon as it arrived, announcing its surprise as it entered the world. Hormones empowered this natural birth.

The scene I describe, is nothing like TV portrays for birth.  May more women experience the peace and wisdom of the human body that is perfectly made for birthing a baby.

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