Oxytocin is a big part of our reward for making it through a medication-free labor. Although midwives and Michel Odent sing the praises of oxytocin, the love hormone, there hasn't been a lot of evidence that oxytocin prepares mom for bonding with their babies. In this new study, moms with higher oxytocin levels "engaged in more personalized bonding-related
behaviors that facilitated a more exclusive bond with their infants --
behaviors and actions not easily duplicated by another person, like
singing a special song to the infant or bathing and feeding them in a
special way."1 Additionally, ""We found that initial levels of oxytocin (first
trimester) predicted bonding-related thoughts...as well as maternal
'affiliative' behavior to her newborn."2 Now if only those studies had looked at the affect of epidurals and other drugs in labor on oxytocin levels and bonding. Studies have shown that epidurals in labor interfere with the release of oxytocin:
So when labor gets tough, remember, the good drugs (oxytocin) are just around the corner.
1 Megan Rauscher, "'Love' hormone helps mom and baby bond," Reuters Health Information, Tuesday, October, 23, 2007, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_56520.html, accessed, October 27, 2007.