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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsBirth is a normal physiological process, OK, and it works very, very well if you don't interfere with it. And the trouble is that we do interfere, and I'm not talking about the major interventions like rupturing membranes or giving Syntocinon. Just the fact of a woman having to come into hospital and out of her own nice, secure, little cosy home, being with strangers maybe that she's never met before, being a bit nervous -- is she labour, is she not in labour -- or nervous about what might be done or not done. All those cause adrenaline output, which decreases oxytocin. And oxytocin is the hormone that is the most fantastic hormone because it starts labour, continues labour.

Skip to 0 minutes and 46 secondsIt's the love hormone, makes you fall in love with your baby. It's the hormone that assists breastfeeding. You know, it's very, very essential, and adrenaline decreases it. So anything that stresses out a woman in labour can slow down labour. And we just do it all the time, unthinkingly. Even going into a labouring woman's room, opening the door without knocking or just opening the door even with knocking, that's enough to kind of lose her concentration or frighten her just very slightly and put things off. So a physiological birth, when it works, works well. When it doesn't work, it's usually because we've done something to slow it down or stop it.

The effect of fear on your natural oxytocin

In this video, Cecily talks about how the body’s natural oxytocin works, and explains how fear can affect it.

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This video is from the free online course:

Journey to birth

Trinity College Dublin