A picture says a thousand words...
« It all sounds perfectly logical » - that’s the response I generally get after explaining the physiology and psychology of Hypnobirthing to Dads.
Ask those Papas to then re-explain to me how it all works and they can kind of clam up.
Voilà, why I came up with this very simple info-graphic on Hypnobirthing Hormones.
Hypnobirthing really is very simple – almost TOO simple : once you’ve got your head around these few basic factors you should be able to explain Hypnobirthing to virtually anybody!
It Really Is ALL ABOUT OXYTOCIN
Oxytocin is what causes uterine contractions or ‘surges’ in labour. Keep the oxytocin flowing and you’ve cracked it.
Great ! How do we do that ?
Simple : 1. know how and when oxytocin is produced
2. know what INHIBITS oxytocin
Oxytocin in a Nutshell
Oxytocin is produced when we feel safe, secure, protected, relaxed. In short, when we don’t feel under threat.
Conversely, when we feel FEAR - both real or anticipated – we produce adrenaline, which inhibits Oxytocin production.
Understanding & promoting Oxytocin is the absolute cornerstone of encouraging physiological birth, and FEAR is Oyxtocin’s arch enemy.
That’s pretty much all you need to know to get started.
Calm + Confidence – Fear = OXYTOCIN PARTY = beautiful birth
This is why during hypnobirthing courses we learn some very effective and simple techniques to promote deep relaxation, and transform subconscious fears into positive and confident feeling about birth. TA DAAA !
Add the PROTECTION element and you’re laughing – literally.
SInce we know Oxytocin is produced when women fell SAFE, SECURE and PROTECTED, Birth Partners can play a vital role in ‘protecting’ their partner during labour, by promoting an environment of relaxation, calm and safety.
This is why Hypnobirthing courses highlight to Dads how their role as ‘protector’ is absolutely crucial, and how they can powerfully protect the labour environment through their actions and behaviour.
This weekend I was at a Doula conference in Paris with the old Oxytocin Icon Michel Odent, who was hammering home this vital aspect of physiological birth.
What Mr Odent also adds to the mix is that when women’s ‘rational brain’ is overstimulated during labour, it can interupt the flow of oxytocin, and therefore the flow of labour.
Essentially : Stimulation of the rational brain (what he refers to as the neocortex) can bring women out of their ‘primitive brain ;’ their fundamental primal instincts which assist a simple and swift birth.
MONSIEUR ODENT SAYS :
Q : The key word is « PROTECTION » How can we protect the labouring women?
A : Minimise any stimulation the ‘neo-cortex’ or the ‘thinking brain.’
Q : So How do we do that ?
A : Think about Lights, Language, The Unfamiliar – or feeling ‘observed’
Without going into too much detail, what Monsieur Odent is basically telling us is that careful use of language is pivotal to supporting a ‘undisturbed’ physiological birth. Any other factors such as bright lights, feeling observed or being in an unfamiliar or unsafe environment will inhibit the flow of oxytocin.
Great ! SO that’s why in Hypnobirthing we heavily emphasise the careful use of language during labour, and other ways in which partners can protecter the birthing environment ! We also explore how we can divert any ‘rational’ questions to Dadsso they can be the ‘BRAINS’ during labour, protecting the birthing woman to stay in her positive birth bubble and connected to her primal instincts.
SIMPLE RIGHT ?
Hopefully this begins to explain just how excellent Oyxytocin is - and why hypnobirthing is wonderfully adapted to teach women and their partners how to optimise Oxytocin during labour – resulting in a swift, simple and peaceful birth!
And if you have already done a hypnobirthing course you should now be able to go away and explain all of this to your friends and family by using my magic diagram !
I’ve mainly focussed on Oxytocin in this post as it is the vital ingredient (if you keep Oxytocin flowing then everything else follows)…. you can read more about other hormones such as Adrenaline and Endorphins in any hypnobirthing book or in my other blogposts here :
Hypnobirthing teachers : please feel free to use this diagram in your teaching or re-create a similar one - I’ve found it really useful & effective.
Hope you all have a great week!