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Hypnobirthing, contrary to popular belief, is actually really scientific and evidence-based. In this blog post, we’re going to talk you through the science behind hypnobirthing and specifically about the two hormones that are at play when you give birth; oxytocin and adrenaline.

Oxytocin is our ‘feel good’ hormone. It’s what the body releases when we have a cuddle, when we have sex, when we have an orgasm or when we have a laugh. It’s also the hormone that fuels labour. No way, you’re thinking? YES way.

Every single surge (contraction) you experience in labour is fuelled by oxytocin. So much so that if you’re induced, the drug you’re given is called ‘Syntocinon’, which is literally just synthetic oxytocin.

Labour is designed to feel GOOD. Whether your labour is spontaneous or induced, you’ll be fuelled by lovely oxytocin.

The other hormone that is at play is adrenaline, aka the enemy of birth (so to speak). This is the hormone the body releases when we’re stressed, anxious, frightened. Unfortunately for a lot of people, those are the emotions they experience when thinking about birth – so you can see how unhelpful that is.

So what happens when we produce adrenaline? First of all, the heart rate will increase. The heart will start pumping more blood. Your body enters what’s known as ‘fight or flight’ mode and will start pumping more blood to your arms (fight) and to your legs (flight).

Which is great for some scenarios, but not for birth. This is because the blood is being taken away from the uterus (where it needs to be) and is being sent to your arms and legs, which isn’t helpful. The blood needs to be in our uterus because it’s full of oxygen, which our muscles need in order to do their job (yes, the uterus is a muscle!). Without the oxygen it’s going to become really difficult.