Popularly known as the “love hormone”, oxytocin is responsible for the emotional bond between mother and child. It collaborates for uterine contractions in labor, for releasing milk during breastfeeding and for making your heart melt every time you look at the little one! ❤
There is also synthetic oxytocin, which is used in situations where the natural hormone produced is not sufficient to start work naturally or to help regulate contractions when they are not evolving properly.
You can feel the importance of that hormone, can’t you? Find out more!
What are the roles of oxytocin?
Not only with the baby, oxytocin plays a fundamental role in relationships. Some situations, such as physical contact, hugs, massages, music, reading, sex, physical activity and balanced diet promote the production of the love hormone.
Studies show that skin-to-skin contact with the baby, especially the premature ones, strengthens the bond, besides helping to diminish the risk of delays in neurological development and improving skills for group coexistence.
The stimulant of childbirth
In labor, it is oxytocin that causes the uterus to contract, which causes dilation and promotes expulsion of the baby. It is a kind of tranquilizer with analgesic, since it reduces fear and promotes calm and connection with the child.
This is why it is so important for the pregnant woman to be in a comfortable environment when giving birth, since situations that cause fear and insecurity increase the release of adrenaline, which hinders the production of oxytocin in labor.
In the immediate postpartum period, oxytocin is responsible for the feeling of recognition, attraction to the smell, well-being and attachment to the baby from the beginning. At this moment, oxytocin still promotes contractions that reduce the risk of bleeding.
Because of all this, natural childbirth releases more oxytocin than cesarean section. But in any case, skin-to-skin contact is essential in the first moments of life, whatever the type of birth.
The ally of breastfeeding
Breast-feeding is another friend in oxytocin production. It does not produce breast milk, but it is still fundamental in breastfeeding. The sensation of sucking the baby provokes electrical impulses in the maternal breast that reach the brain, responsible for releasing the hormone.
The baby ends up ingesting this “dose of love” and the mother also reduces cortisol levels, which generate anxiety and stress. That’s why mothers give so much to their babies during the lactation period. Cool, right?
Good for daddies too
And the advantages are not restricted to the dual mother and son. Studies show that parents who play with their children have more oxytocin. It is a two-way street: the more interaction between father and son, the more oxytocin is released into their organism.
Synthetic oxytocin: advantages and disadvantages
When the mother, for some reason, is unable to produce enough oxytocin or has problems starting labor, the doctor may prescribe a medicine containing the synthetic oxytocin to help at that time.
However, although tempting, the indiscriminate use of this medicine can cause problems in births that would occur quietly with the natural hormone and also bring some complications for the mother and baby, such as:
- increased risk of uterine rupture in patients who have already had a c-section;
- more painful contractions;
- increased risk of low oxygenation of the baby;
- nausea and vomiting;
- induction of premature birth.
Like all medicines, their use should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by a doctor.
Tips for naturally increasing oxytocin production
The sexual act produces hormones similar to oxytocin, responsible for the sensation of pleasure. The physical contact itself is already enough to increase the production of oxytocin quickly. Regular acupuncture sessions throughout pregnancy and in the periods before delivery can be very helpful. Mediation and exercise are also very important!
Finally, compassion, generosity, honesty and good deeds in general are capable of increasing oxytocin levels, since these attitudes cause good sensations in the body.
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