We’re taking it back to science class with a post all about oxytocin. This hormone plays a large role in a number of bodily functions and behaviors, and is a key component in labor and breastfeeding! The formula for this amazing hormone is C43H66N12O12S2 but its better known as the love hormone.
Oxytocin is naturally produced in the hypothalamus portion of your brain and is secreted by the pituitary gland. During pregnancy your body begins to slowly produce more receptor cells for this hormone and during the labor process production really ramps up. This is vital as oxytocin acts to produce uterine contractions that dilate your cervix, push baby through the birth canal, expel the placenta, and control bleeding. Your little babe is also helping the process along as pressure from their body against your cervix and pelvic floor stimulates oxytocin and contractions!
When you experience a “letdown reflex” of milk you’re feeling the effects of oxytocin on the cells around your alveoli. This is where breastmilk collects, and the oxytocin reflex causes milk to fill the ducts in your breast and for those cells around the alveoli to contract. This amazing process becomes a conditioned response- you might find that baby’s smell, their cries, or even just thinking of your precious babe will incite your letdown reflex response.
As baby nurses and that oxytocin is flowing you may be able to feel the wonderful benefits of this hormone and neurotransmitter. Oxytocin is known to increase feelings of calmness in nursing moms, it reduces stress, and it strengthens and solidifies the bond between you two. Formula feeding mothers won’t miss out either- skin to skin contact with your sweet little one also encourages the production of oxytocin.
At Promise Prenatal we are continually amazed and inspired by the ways our bodies naturally work to grow, deliver, and provide for our children. While C43H66N12O12S2 makes up the formula of oxytocin, we think the formula of a mother’s love is made up of selflessness, gentleness, wisdom, and strength. Breastfeeding is a part of a mother’s love, and we are honored to support your journey with natural and safe products that work with your amazing body!
By Shannon Sprayberry, Auburn, WA- Women's Health Blogger
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“The Role of Hormones in Childbirth.’ Childbirth Connection. Retrieved August 14, 2020. http://www.childbirthconnection.org/maternity-care/role-of-hormones/.
“What is the Link Between Love and Oxytocin?” Medical News Today. September 4, 2017. Retrieved August 14, 2020. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275795.