Childbirth: the main hormones

Childbirth is impossible without participation of specific hormones. The main hormones help transform the female body to maximize successful and safe birth of the baby.

Childbirth activate 4 major maternal hormone:

  • oxytocin (the love hormone);
  • epinephrine and norepinephrine (hormones excitation);
  • prolactin (maternal hormone);
  • endorphins (hormones transcendence, pleasure).

These hormones are mainly produced in the limbic system (midbrain).Delivery for this part of the brain to be more involved than the rational part of the brain. This helps conditions such as peace, dim lighting, at least sounds. New mother should be able to submit hormones and genetic program, intuitively choosing breathing movements, sounds, poses in childbirth .


Oxytocin is knowingly named hormone of love. It is produced during sexual activity, orgasm, childbirth and breastfeeding. Its production is carried out in the hypothalamus and stored it in the posterior pituitary. It not only affects the release of sperm during the male orgasm, but the output of the child at birth, and lactation. Oxytocin causes uterine contractions and rhythmic rush delivery, stimulating stretch receptors bottom of a woman’s vagina when leaving the child. Oxytocin promotes and placenta. The child also produced oxytocin, probably initiating labor. Oxytocin stimulated and in contact with the mother’s skin baby skin and eye contact with him, allowing a feeling of pleasure, the newly-made mother. Good levels of oxytocin prevents postpartum hemorrhage.

Epinephrine and norepinephrine 

These hormones are called the fight-or-flee hormones. They stand out in response to stress (fear, anxiety, cold, hunger) from the adrenal glands. High levels of these hormones in birth suppresses oxytocin, delaying childbirth. They also reduce blood flow to the uterus to the placenta to the baby. But at the time of the child’s birth, these hormones act differently. The sharp jump in noradrenaline activates the output of the child. New mother is experiencing a sudden surge of energy. Peak levels of hormones causes strong contractions that help fast and easy childbirth. High levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline in the child protects it from hypoxia. But the level of stress hormones in the child falls in contact with the mother.


The worst is a hormone breastfeeding. It was felt that it also forms a protective aggressive behavior in lactating mothers. Prolactin levels increased during pregnancy, although the milk production decelerated to the placenta. Prolactin levels and increases in labor peaks at birth. Surprisingly, during pregnancy child also produces prolactin, although its function is still unknown. High prolactin levels observed in the amniotic fluid.


Beta-endorphin in their action is similar to heroin and morphine. Like oxytocin, a high dose of it is present during sex, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. But he still works as an analgesic and to suppress the immune system. Last particularly important during pregnancy to the mother’s body did not act against a child, a stranger to his body. High doses of this hormone – good assistants in labor, transforming pain and introduce a special state during childbirth. Beta-endorphin at high pain prevents the release of oxytocin, slowing down the fight, and thus normalizing childbirth.

Hormones in the normal course of labor can help to maximize maternity and child. But not all the hospital ready to take care of setting the body hormonal mothers, unreasonably using stimulation, pain medication, epidural, cesarean section, requiring rationality of the mother and the child and mother separated after birth.

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