New Beginnings Doula Training

New Beginnings Doula Training
Courses for doulas and online childbirth education

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Endorphins-how to increase your levels during labor

I've been studying up on endorphins and the role they play during labor for my next newsletter.  I'm so excited about some of the things I am finding out that I had to share a few ways to help you increase your own endorphins during labor.

1)Medications like opiods, epidurals, and pitocin are associated with lower levels of endorphins, so should be avoided if there is not a medical reason to have them, and your striving for a natural labor.
2)Exercise.  Women who regularly exerscise while pregnant have a huge increase of endorphins during their labor.
3)Increase endorphin releasing behaviors: rocking, pacing, massage, light touch, encourage noises that seem to help.

Some behaviors that I wonder if they help are opening and closing the hands and stretching.  

I'm still researching too, so stay tuned.  One thing I have found interesting, is that the actions that women use to increase endorphins(such as rocking, pacing, noises etc), are often seen as signs of distress by many people.  It would be good to educate people that this is actually helping them to cope by releasing hormones to decrease their pain and give them a sense of well being.  Again,sometimes it takes a trained eye to spot the difference between a moan that means I'm in pain and a moan that is a coping mechanism.

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Birth is a Journey: Does it have to be life changing?

  • One woman might have to climb on an overfilled boat, risking her life and nearly dying as she escapes over the ocean to come to this land. This experience could certainly be life altering. It may very well color the rest of her life, positively or negatively. (I overcame this amazing struggle and here I am triumphant! OR Holy crap, that was SO hard I don’t know if I can go on! By the way, neither response is “right”. No one would judge the woman with the 2nd response.)
  • One woman may buy an airplane ticket, sit on a comfortable 747 and fly to America with a nice smooth flight and landing. She is happy to be in America. Those welcoming her are glad she is here safe and sound. She may only travel by plane 2-4 times in her life, so it is pretty memorable. But the journey itself probably wouldn’t be life changing; it would simply be a journey.
  • One woman may learn to fly an ultra-light plane to lead a flock of geese into America teaching them to migrate. This experience could certainly be empowering and life altering.