(with Dr. Sarah Buckley, mom of 4, author, specialty in obstetrics & family planning) Your hormones during pregnancy can help you have an easier labor & healthy birth. But only if you know how to let them do their job.
Your hormones during pregnancy might even be the MVP of your entire birth. Yep, it’s true. We always hear the same old story … your hormones during pregnancy make you tired, constantly pee, have some seriously wackadoo food cravings, and the “plug my nose and run from the room” food aversions, and of course gas.
But did you know your hormones during pregnancy are silently in control of THE most important things that happen in pregnancy, in labor and when giving birth? Did you know they work seamlessly in partnership with your baby’s hormones to actually start labor?
Dr. Sarah Buckley teaches how your hormones during pregnancy are like a melodic symphony in your body giving you pain relief, protecting your baby during labor and making every contraction more efficient for a faster labor. Ah-mazing. And it all ‘just happens’.
You’ll Also Learn:
- How hormones switch on our instinctive mothering behaviors (we all have them, they just need to be turned on)
- Which hormone actually helps to alter your state of consciousness during birth! (yes!)
- How our “mothering hormones” soften us to prepare us for becoming a mama. Literally. You won’t believe it.
Dr. Buckley is a leading expert in childbirth & the mama of 4 kids. She trained as a family practice physician with specialties in obstetrics and family planning. Dr. Buckley is in high demand to lecture all over the world about birth and parenting. Check out Dr. Buckley’s website here & get her book here. She’s an inspiring woman & loves teaching mamas (like you) how to give your baby the best start at birth. Dr. Buckley and family live in Brisbane, Australia.
Watch the Class (download the MP3)
What do you think? Share below…
Dr. Sarah Buckley – Hormones
Sarah: Hi, this is Sarah Blight from YourBabyBooty.com. We’re the world’s leading experts and real moms share their most important lessons learned so that you can be really confident and know what to expect during pregnancy and childbirth so that you can have the best experience possible.
Hormones. The raging hormones we experience during pregnancy that make us a little cranky or definitely give us some cravings or food aversions, the nausea, the constant peeing, and we have to mention the gas, of course, what do these hormones do besides make our lives a little different than they were before? Do they really serve a purpose for us and for our babies? Well, Dr. Sarah Buckley is here with us today, and she’s going to explain how hormones really act as a symphony in our bodies and do things for us that include pain relief or protecting our baby during labor or helping our body be the most efficient during contractions as possible.
So Dr. Buckley, thanks for joining us. Dr. Buckley is also the mama of 4 kids. She’s trained as a family practice physician. She’s currently a full-time mom and author. She’s written the book Gentle Birth Gentle Mothering: A Doctor’s Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices Right Here. We’ll talk more about that at the end, and she lives in Australia, but is a Kiwi from New Zealand originally. So thank you so much for joining us all the way from Australia today.
Dr. Buckley: My pleasure, Sarah. It’s great to be here.
Sarah: So Dr. Buckley, from all your experience as both a mom and a doctor, what are you most inspired to share with expectant moms and why?
Dr. Buckley: Well I think the most important message that I want to give is that our female bodies are superbly designed for pregnancy, and later, in birth and mothering, and it’s not something you hear out there in our culture. I think, often, women coming into labor and birth, their body doesn’t work so well and then we need all this technology to make labor happen and to make it safe for our babies or as one of my guest can say is we think our bodies are lemons, and our bodies aren’t lemons.
Your body is not a lemon. Your body is superbly designed for pregnancy and labor and birth, and you can really trust what I call Mother Nature’s superb design because what happens – and we’ll talk about the whole lengths of it later on – but the whole amount of flow that you were referring to really is designed to enhance ease from the end of the baby and to make labor as easy and efficient as possible. It’s designed to enhance safety from the end of the baby and there’s many in-built safety features, and we’re really only beginning to understand some of them.
And it’s also a design for pleasure from the end of the baby, and it might not feel pleasurable at the time, but what the hormones of labor and birth do is they activate your reward centers in your brain, and it’s that feeling after you’ve had a good experience of birth. You get wow, I could do that again. It’s what Mother Nature wants because she wants us to have lots of babies.
Dr. Buckley: So it’s a pleasure, and safety, and Mother Nature’s superb design are the main messages that I want to give women.
Sarah: I love that. You mentioned before in your pre-interview that Science has a way of – or is discovering that we realize as mother that birth really impacts us for a long time as women, and how is this possible? Why? How and why?
Dr. Buckley: Okay, well there’s a few ways I could answer that question, Sarah.
Dr. Buckley: Well, one of them is that we remember the births of our babies in great detail, you know. We remember all of our lives, and there was some research done by a wonderful research group [0:03:45] [Indiscernible] worked out the women remember very accurately in a lot of detail, even years and decades later, and I just saw an interview, she [0:03:55] [Indiscernible], and she says, you know, she has women who contact her in their 60s and 70s, and 80-year-olds who still want to talk about the trauma of their birth. So a good birth really is an investment for a lifetime in our memories, but not only that, but natural birth is designed to set up an optimal physiology for mother and baby. So it’s designed to make baby optimally prepared for life outside the womb and there’s many ways in which this happens hormonally, but basically, you could say it’s like waking the baby up. You know, the baby’s – like in this particular stage in the womb like a little bit of sleep, but then afterwards, suddenly, the baby suddenly has to do all these things that’s never done, that the baby has to breathe, the baby has to digest, the baby has to deal with the on-heat exchange, the baby has the metabolize and excrete, and all of those things that baby’s physiologic functions have to come onboard after birth. So the processes of labor and birth are designed to wake the baby up. What we’re beginning to understand is it’s not just a one-off process. Actually, the things that happen for the baby during labor and birth actually optimize the baby’s physiology ongoingly and probably lifelong from what we understand, and one example of that is the baby’s gut flora.
There’s a lot of interest in this in recent years, and we need to again explore that the baby inherits from the mother naturally through birth is that a pride immunological resource for the baby. That sets the baby’s immune system for the whole of its life, and this experiment some of the findings that we have for cesarean babies that don’t get that optimal gut flora transferred from the mother. We know that babies that are born by cesarean will likely have asthma and allergies and even though BCG and some autoimmune diseases, and it’s really to do with that immunological process that happens when the baby gets the mother’s gut flora during labor and birth.
Sarah: So is that kind of like probiotics? I know those are becoming more popular for women, and then everybody to take children.
Dr. Buckley: Yes.
Sarah: That’s the gut flora you’re talking about would be like a probiotic?
Dr. Buckley: Exactly. Exactly. That’s exactly right.
Dr. Buckley: Naturally, we have – If we have a healthy gut flora then we have a healthy digestion. We have a healthy immune system. We also have just recently that the gut flora actually make some of the brain hormones like serotonin is predominantly brain made in the gut. So it’s a happiness hormone. So you know, when people say your happiness lives in your gut, then that’s true.
Dr. Buckley: And it’s also how your body works. And you know, I think that interest of probiotics is really, really good at the moment because the mother has to have a healthy gut flora to pass it on to her baby, and many of us don’t. We’ve probably got the worst gut flora we’ve ever had in human history for various reasons: one is because of the widespread use of antibiotics; one is because we’re born in hospitals and babies born in hospital have the worst gut flora than babies born at home because of all the sterile things that are done in the hospital. We also think that the contraceptive pill can alter our gut flora so what you’re talking about probiotics is a really great idea for pregnant mom to look at her gut flora and to take probiotics or even fermented foods so she could give a really healthy gut flora to her baby.
Sarah: Very interesting. I love that. That sounds like a whole different interview by itself. I would love to talk to you about that more in-depth some time. Okay, so let’s help moms understand the big picture of hormones in our bodies. As I mentioned in the intro, we kind of have these negative, or you know, stereotypical pregnancy associations of hormones, but as you said, they actually are here to make our lives and our baby’s lives more smooth and easier during pregnancy and childbirth. So can you give us a big picture of what hormones are?
Dr. Buckley: So basically, a hormone is a substance that’s made in one part of the body and it has actions in another part of the body. So the typical childbirth hormone that I’ll talk about is called oxytocin, which many people probably have heard of, and it’s naturally made in our brain, a part of the brain called the pituitary system, which is in the middle layer of the brain also called the limbic system, and when we make it, we release it within the brain. We also release it into the bloodstream. So it travels during labor in the bloodstream to our uterus and it causes the uterus to contract.
So oxytocin is released in pulses on the brain and it causes the rhythmic contractions of labor, but at the same time, it has these wonderful suckering motionly things. So it’s a chilling out hormone. It’s been called the hormone of calm and connection, so when we have these peaks of oxytocin during labor and birth, and especially after our baby’s born, you get a big rush of happiness of calm and connection. It’s a great feeling to have an oxytocin high. And it also switches on the mother’s instinct behaviors. Now this is true in every mammal and it’s true in women as well, but it switches on their instinctive mothering behaviors. So it actually alters our brain and probably permanently actually to switch on those areas that we need for mothering.
And every mammal has a different way of mothering, but we know for example that women who had been to a natural labor and birth compared to women who’ve had a cesarean actually have a different brain response to their baby’s cues. This was a research done recently using an MRI machine. So they had women who were several weeks after giving birth either by cesarean or vaginally, and they played the baby’s cry, their own baby’s cry to them all the way with an MRI machine, which is a big tunnel when you go through. You can’t really have your baby in there with you, but it mimicked the presence of the baby by the baby’s crying, and the women who’ve given birth vaginally, whole areas of their brain lit up to do with optimal mothering so their alertness centers went up. Their empathy centers lit up. And their reward centers lit up as well. And that didn’t with the cesarean moms doing the same thing.
So what the research has concluded was that these peaks of hormones that we get in either in birth and probably most of the oxytocin actually shifts the mother’s brain so she’ll optimally mother her baby, and you know, when the baby’s cry that the woman will be alert, and she’ll also be rewarded.
It’s that sort of feel good feeling that you get when you think about your baby or even your baby crying can trigger, you know, contentment and happiness in you because it has to do with the baby and Mother Nature has all these reward systems to make sure, you know, that our babies are really well-cared for, and it’s not just a good feeling. It’s actually about that the baby survived. It’s the issue about the mom survived and it’s about the species survived. So it’s true for every mammalian mother and it’s true for human mothers as well. So the processes of labor and birth really give us a head start with our mothering.
Sarah: Cool. So is that why when I hear my baby cry my breasts leak milk? Does that have to do with oxytocin or is that something different?
Dr. Buckley: Yeah, it’s the same thing. So you release oxytocin in your brain which gives you all those alertness and empathy and reward feelings, but it also comes down into your blood stream and it actually causes a contraction in the muscle cells that align the milk ducts so the milk ducts contract up and they release the milk. That’s the let-down reflex you’re talking about. It happens both in your brain and in your body.
Dr. Buckley: It will okay your breast for feeding your baby, yeah.
Sarah: Uh-huh. That was so neat. Okay, so where do hormones come from and how exactly do they work, I guess, generally because we have a lot of hormones we’re going to talk about today.
Dr. Buckley: Yeah. So generally, these hormones are made in our brains…
Dr. Buckley: …and as I said, they have a fix within our brains and they also have a fix within our body. So oxytocin that I just referred to causes the contractions of labor and birth, causes the letdown reflex and breastfeeding. It actually causes orgasm too. It’s a sexual hormone of sexual activity, and at the same time that it’s released into the body in those situations, it’s also released into the brain, so it causes calm and connection. It’s been called the hormone of monogamy because it causes bonding between men and women after sexual activity, and that’s true for other species as well, other monogamous species.
Dr. Buckley: Of course, it’s calm and connection. It’s been called the cuddle hormone, and yeah, of course, it’s the mothering behaviors as well. So it’s a whole package that happens when later in birth when we’re breastfeeding, when we interact with our babies, when we make love, when we make babies, and when we have a baby. So you know, it’s one of Mother Nature’s survival systems to make sure that mother and baby had the greatest chance of surviving the birth, and as they say, it’s a hormone of monogamy, so in monogamous species, it bonds the male and female together after mating and that enhances the survival of the young as well.
Sarah: So you’ve given us – You’re kind of led into my next question, which is, so what’s the big deal about hormones? Why do they matter so much, and you’ve kind of answered that about oxytocin, but there’s a lot of other hormones that we’ll talk about in a few minutes. Why do those matter so much to us?
Dr. Buckley: Okay. So using oxytocin as an example, it really matters because it’s part of Mother Nature’s superb design so when we undergo a natural labor and birth, we get these peaks of oxytocin that optimize efficiency, you know, that give us relief in contractions and labor, and it particularly optimizes efficiency of pushing stage, so at that stage, we’re ready to push our baby out. You get a big surge of oxytocin. That gives you a big contraction. It helps your baby to be born quickly and easily, then after the birth, you get the surge of oxytocin, even higher, 10 times higher than you had at that moment of birth, which is their design to bond you to your baby, and Michelle [0:13:25] [Indiscernible] calls it the beginning of a great love affair. So it’s really there to make mothering easier for you, and oxytocin also has natural pain relieving quality, so it’s a fantastic hormone for women during pregnancy, labor, and birth, and a lot during breastfeeding. As you mentioned, it’s a hormone of breastfeeding. So all the time that we’re breastfeeding our babies, we’re getting a hitch of this hormone oxytocin, which rewards us, which makes us calm and connected, which increases our bond with our baby, and makes us feel good, and the other hormones. So that’s oxytocin. It has the starring role, you could say, and it’s been the focus of a huge amount of research in recent years. It’s been called the hormone of monogamy, hormone of trust, hormone of calm and connection, hormone of love, so all of these positive aspects of oxytocin that we’d naturally get during pregnancy, during labor and birth, during breastfeeding as we mother our babies as well.
But there are other hormones. That’s just one of them. And the other hormones that I’m talking right about are the hormones beta-endorphin, the hormones known as adrenalin, also called epinephrine, and the hormone prolactin. And some of what I’m going to share today is in my e-book. If you go to my website SarahBuckley.com, you can download my free e-book of Ecstatic Birth: Nature’s Hormonal Blueprint for Labor. So I recommend you go and look at that if you’re interested to find out more about the hormones.
Sarah: I have to say it’s really good. Here’s my copy. I wrote notes and highlighted. It’s fascinating. Definitely, we’ll have a link below. You guys need to check it out. Fascinating. Fascinating. Go ahead.
Dr. Buckley: It is, yes. So the second hormone I wrote about is beta-endorphin, and beta-endorphin like oxytocin stimulates our reward centers.
And I’d say it’s not Mother Nature patting us on the back saying you’re doing a good job. Do more of it, you know. Make more babies. Have more babies. Breastfeed your baby. And it also acts as a natural painkiller, so it’s every mama’s best friend in labor is beta-endorphin and the further on you are the more beta-endorphin levels are helping you to deal with the stress and pain. And it also puts you into this altered state of consciousness. Do you remember that in your labor, Sarah?
Sarah: Yes, I do.
Dr. Buckley: Is that there?
Dr. Buckley: Natural labor and birth do enter this altered state of consciousness, and some people say it’s going to labor land. Some people prescribe this is actually a Native American understanding. They say that the laboring woman goes out to the stars to collect the soul of her baby and bring it back.
Sarah: Wow! That’s really beautiful.
Dr. Buckley: That’s exactly what’s happening in labor. You’re entering this altered state. It gives you natural pain relief, puts you into this what I call the state of transcendence where you can transcend the stress and pain of labor, and it also helps you to follow your instinct. It’s the hormone that that has you just do what your body wants you to do and not really care about other people, that they don’t really care about, you know, what other people say, what other people want of you. You know, you really are in this state where you can be very direct about what you want, and that’s so important in labor, you know, that you want to say you get your needs met because if you get your needs met, get the positions you want to be and the people you want around you, the place you want to be in, then the chances are that your birth will be more smooth and easy.
Sarah: I love that. You’re right. I call it kind of getting in my zone, but I love that NDN, and now, you know, that’s right on.
In your book, you quoted a Dutch obstetrical professor. He said, “Spontaneous labor in a normal woman is an event marked by processes that are so complicated and so perfectly attuned to each other that any interference will only detract from the optimal character.” What does that mean that the processes are so complicated and so perfectly attuned? Can you give us an example?
Dr. Buckley: Yeah. We’re only really beginning to understand now the whole complex orchestration of labor and birth and the way the hormones interact with each other, and I love what he says, he says perfectly attuned. They are perfectly attuned for the mother and for the baby. So a good example of that is the hormones epinephrine-norepinephrine. So when a woman’s naturally going through her labor, levels of this gradually increase, and she reaches quite high levels of epinephrine-norepinephrine towards the end of labor, and that’s really important because she’s in this altered state of consciousness, which is, you know, beneficial to her, but she also needs to be alert, and this is true for mothers of every mammalian species, and I’m saying this based on evolutionary principles.
So for millions of years, human mothers have given birth out in the wild, and it’s a jungle out there, you know. You never know what animal or predator’s around, so going off into labor land might not benefit your baby if you’re not alert to the presence of danger. So laboring mothers – And you may remember this also – you seem to be in this altered state of consciousness, but you’re also really sensitive to any suggestion of danger. You actually got this hypervigilant senses at the same time. It’s quite an extraordinary unusual hormonal situation, so a woman in hospital, for example, you know, she might hear someone even out in the corridor suggesting something about her baby, so she’s very alert to that.
And these hormones work as naturally as they gradually increase, but if a woman feels frightened in labor or if she doesn’t have those basic requirements for labor, which I say for all mammals, we need to feel private and safe and unobserved in labor, any animal in the world needs to feel private, safe, and for any of you who have had animals under your care, maybe you’ve gone up on a farm or seeing, you know, your domestic animals give birth, or even in the zoo. You know that the focus of the caregivers want to provide for that animal is that she feels private and protected. You want to get out of the way of that animal. You don’t want to let her know that you’re there. You may want to hide yourself away because your presence will interfere with their birth process for that animal, and that’s true for human mothers as well.
So if we feel fearful or we have a sense of danger and we get to this really [0:19:21] [Indiscernible]. You probably remember it where, you know, you’ll prowl around and you’ll look for the place where you want to give birth and that’s – It’s a small private place, maybe in the bathroom, you know. It’s like you were thirsty. And so you’d be looking around, and if there is a sense of danger, you’ll actually get an early elevation of these hormones. You’ll get a spike of epinephrine-norepinephrine. At that stage, I call it the saber-tooth tigery thing. It’s like a woman is giving birth in the water and a saber-tooth tiger appears. The surge of these hormones will actually turn your labor off. It will inhibit your contractions, and it will also shift the blood supply to the major muscle groups as part of your body’s need for fight or flight.
So you know, your muscle groups tap your lungs, and in doing so, it shifts blood away from the uterus and baby, and this is why [0:20:10] [Indiscernible] mother of feeling proud, safe, and unobserved is so critical because if she doesn’t feel like that, she’s going to have a surge of epinephrine-norepinephrine and not only will her labor slow down, but potentially, her baby could be deprived of blood and oxygen. And it really explains a lot of what happens in hospital at least, and we don’t provide conditions where women feel private and safe and unobserved. We put them in a room with a bunch of strangers coming in and out through an unlocked door. I mean no other animal could give birth in that situation, and it’s really ridiculous that we do that to laboring women, and no wonder that for most women, the reason they need intervention is because their levels goes down and because they may have a lack of blood and oxygen, which we call fetal distress.
So really, they really need to know that they could test your faith that way and really organizing for laboring women. You know, we’re not giving them the basic requirements, and we end up with a lot of intervention necessary, and you know, we know that how women’s bodies are organized. Our basic physiology hasn’t checked all those millions of years, and we still have those same requirements, and this explains why, you know, when a woman labors and births at home that natal intervention is so much lower. That also explains why if you take a doula into hospital and you have someone there that helps you to feel private, safe, and unobserved, all of those interventions goes down as well.
Sarah: That’s so good. Okay, we’ve talked a little – Well, you talked about oxytocin and endorphins, adrenaline. Is that the norepinephrine and the epinephrine that you’re talking about?
Dr. Buckley: Yup.
Dr. Buckley: I just want to make something else about that hormone, which is really important for the baby. So when the baby gets towards that end of labor, the baby’s head is low in the mother’s birth canal, and pressure on the baby’s head causes a surge of these hormones for the baby. So it’s called a catecholamine surge because collectively, epinephrine-norepinephrine or also known as adrenaline noradrenaline are called catecholamine hormones.
Dr. Buckley: So these are hormones for the baby. It protects the baby at that most intense time in labor when their mother’s contractions are long, strong, and close together, and each time the uterus contracts, it deprives the baby of blood and oxygen to some extent, but the baby’s perfectly adapted to that so a healthy baby has no problems with that in labor, and the catecholamine surge protects the baby’s brain from those long and close together contractions. It ensures there’s always a good blood supply to the heart and the brain, which are the paths of the body that will need blood and oxygen, and it also begins to prepare the baby for laugh outside the womb, so it actually starts to – It’s preparation for the baby to breathe. It now increases lung surfactant, which is a lung lubricant. It starts to ease the flow and put air into the baby’s lungs that opens up the airways, and it also increases lung confines or elasticity, and at the same time, the surge of catecholamines also increase the baby’s metabolic fuel so the baby can have a good blood glucose, have good metabolic fuels that period after birth until their mother’s milk supply comes in. those begins the baby’s process of generating their own tea or temperature so it increases the baby’s thermogenesis.
The catecholamine surge also makes the baby wide-eyed and alert. So when you see those pictures of newborn baby who are really wide-eyed and alert that means they’ve got a good surge of catecholamine hormones. So we can also see how important these hormones are for the newborn baby. When you look at what happens for cesarean babies, so cesarean babies have particular problems. They tend to have breathing difficulties. They tend to have low blood sugar. They tend to have poor temperature control, and all of these things can be explained because the cesarean baby, particularly the elective cesarean baby – the baby born by a scheduled C-section – doesn’t have a surge of these hormones, and that’s really detrimental for the baby. At least in the postnatal period, sometimes the baby can end up in NICU even with serious breathing difficulties because they haven’t had the benefit of this catecholamine surge of the end-stage of labor.
Sarah: Okay, so that’s a labor – That is labor specific.
Dr. Buckley: Yeah.
Sarah: Okay. Let’s talk for a moment about prolactin. Explain to us what that hormone is all about.
Dr. Buckley: Okay, so these 4 hormones that we’ve been talking about, I call them the ecstatic hormones of labor and birth because they’re all really feel good hormones and they all benefit mothers and babies and the adaptation to life after birth, so we’ve talked about oxytocin, the hormone of love. We’ve talked about beta-endorphin, which are the hormones of project and transcendence. I’ve talked about epinephrine-norepinephrine, adrenalin-noradrenalin, which I call hormones of excitement because they make mother and baby excited. So our fourth ecstatic hormones is prolactin [0:24:56] [Blank] mothering.
It’s a hormone that builds up. We release it and we produce it during pregnancy, and all the time during pregnancy, it’s really softening our brains and switching us on to mothering behaviors. So I think of it it’s that hormone that, you know, when you’re pregnant, you have this particular sensitivity to babies and even baby animals, you know, if you see a baby animal and you can get really teary in pregnancy. Prolactin’s happening on, you know, working on your brain to soften it and prepare you for mothering, so it’s a very hormone for mothering.
And like oxytocin, it’s also a chill-out hormone. It reduces your levels of stress and reduces your susceptibility to stress or during pregnancy, during labor, during breastfeeding. Prolactin reduces your mother’s stress hormone levels. And it’s also pro-lactation. It’s the major hormone of breast milk synthesis. So during pregnancy, these levels are increasing in your brain, but it doesn’t actually switch on breast milk synthesis, the production of breast milk until after birth because the hormone that’s in the placenta, progesterones, inhibits its breast milk-producing activity. So after you’ve given birth and the placenta’s been born, suddenly, prolactin kicks in, it begins to produce breast milk for you.
And we know that during labor and birth like the other ecstatic hormones, prolactin levels change. She goes down during labor and then sudden surge in the moments after birth for several hours afterwards, and we know that this is acting on the mother’s brain to adapt her to optimally mothering her baby. We also suspect that it starts to switch on the mother’s breast milk production. We know that when the mom and baby are together, skin-to-skin after birth, the baby starts to stimulate the mother’s breast, the baby will massage the mother’s breast, and then eventually suckle, and all of those activities stimulate prolactin release as well, and not any at the time, but they also set up the mother’s prolactin system for a really good production of milk for the baby.
Sarah: Awesome. Let me turn my camera on again. I keep turning my camera off just to make sure that our connection is the best it can be. Okay, so I mentioned in the intro about symphony of hormones, and what you’re describing is very much that sense of everything is just working together, so let’s take it from the top, and let’s go from pregnancy, you find our you’re pregnant, all the way through labor and childbirth, and how all of these hormones are interacting with each other just a wide breast stroke. We talked like in specifics, but let’s kind of put it all together for the mamas so they can just see the progression.
Dr. Buckley: Okay. So there’s many, many hormones in pregnancy, labor, and birth, but I’m just singling out those four. Well, the other major hormone is estrogen, which is the female hormone that we produce about a thousand times. Levels are about a thousand times higher by the end of pregnancy.
Dr. Buckley: An estrogen [0:27:54] [Indiscernible] because it actually stimulates the oxytocin system. High levels of estrogen increase our oxytocin receptor numbers, which makes our bodies more sensitive to oxytocin. So estrogen gives us some of those things that happen first in pregnancy helps to mature our breast and prepare them for breast milk production. And as I said, it also activates the oxytocin system. So during pregnancy, we’ve got oxytocin waking in our brains to adapt us to maternity, to switch on those instinctive mothering behaviors, those that makes us chilled out. It’s a common connection hormone, and all the time during pregnancy, the oxytocin system is being up regulated, which is a technical term for saying it’s becoming more active. So we’re getting more receptors, which makes us more sensitive to those effect, and when we look at animals, we can see that the actual content amount of oxytocin in our brain increases dramatically just before labor and birth. And just before labor and birth, not only that, but we have the most sensitivity that we’ll ever have to oxytocin because we have the most hormonal receptors, and the receptor is structured on the outside of the cell wall that the hormone binds with, so we have the hormone, and then we have that binds to the receptor, and where it binds to the receptor it sends a message into the cell telling it to do something.
So with oxytocin, it binds to the receptors on the outside of the mother’s uterine muscle cells that it sends a signal when they’re saying contract, so that’s how oxytocin is released from our brain. It causes the uterine contractions, and you could imagine from that that it’s not just the amount of oxytocin floating around in her bloodstream that determines how efficient her contractions are, but also the number of receptors that she has. So if she’s got a lot of receptors, which happens when she’s just ready to go into her labor, her body will be very sensitive to oxytocin, and she’d get the most efficiency and ease out of labor and birth, and the one thing that women have but few of us may recognize, but what that means is that if you’re not close to the time of labor, the natural onset of labor, then your number of oxytocin receptors will be lower, and that’s why induction sometimes doesn’t work, you know.
You can – For some women, if they’re, you know – And we can’t tell what woman really. I mean with other animals, for example, with rats, which a lot of this work is done upon, they go into labor on day 22. Every rat does. It goes into labor on day 22.
Dr. Buckley: Women, you know, we don’t all go into labor on the same day. 5% of women go into labor on their due date. And so for women, you know, the natural onset of labor can be anywhere from 36 to 37 weeks to 42 weeks. So it’s a really wide range. So when the woman is ready to go into labor herself, she’ll be really exquisitely sensitive to oxytocin, and if you want to give her some pharmacological oxytocin, some Pitocin, just a little drizzle of it, and suddenly, labor would kick in, but if she’s weeks away from the natural onset of labor, you could pull all the Pitocin in that you like and labor won’t happen because she does not have sensitivity.
Dr. Buckley: We don’t know [0:30:53] [Blank] plus the natural onset of labor, in which case, she’d actually go into labor soon anyway, whether she’s away from it, in which case, your induction isn’t really going to work.
Dr. Buckley: One of the [0:31:04] [Blank] in medical terms, we have guessed it this week, look at the state of the woman’s cervix because [0:31:10] [Indiscernible] processes of labor and birth that take your monthly and week and days in the lead up to labor and birth so that labor and birth is efficient as possible. These changes also involve changes in the woman’s cervix. If the woman’s cervix is ripe as we call it which is soft and open and short, then that probably means that her oxytocin receptor numbers at getting towards optimal. So you know, we know from induction when the woman’s cervix is ripe, it’s a good sign that she’s probably going to be sensitive to oxytocin and got to be almost ready to go into labor herself.
Sarah: Wow, so it looks like what you’re saying is literally from the moment you become pregnant, the hormones are at work and all working together towards the ultimate goal of getting baby out. That’s so amazing.
Dr. Buckley: Right. [0:31:57] [Indiscernible] Baker who’s died, but she was a midwife from Utah, and she said it’s ridiculous to put a length of time on labor. She said labor actually last 9 months. That’s [0:32:09] [Indiscernible] to give birth.
Sarah: And I bet all of our spouses would agree with that that the hormones, for sure, are taken for quite some time and maybe even longer than 9 months. Okay, so we’ve talked about how all of these naturally-occurring hormones can help us in amazing significant ways from protecting our babies during intense labor because we don’t often think about that. I mean they’re getting – These contractions are impacting our babies. We often just kind of don’t even think about that part, so let’s say – I just want to do a little bit of role playing with you so mamas can kind of get in like an idea of what this is really like in like real world situations. Okay, so let’s say it’s really loud where I’m laboring. Say – Let’s just say I’m in a hospital, but it could be anywhere. It could be at a birth center, at home too could be loud, and you hear someone who’s snippy. Maybe it’s a nurse or your spouse or somebody in the next room, and you kind of hear him kind of talking loudly or being kind of snippy. How does that affect my labor and why?
Dr. Buckley: Okay, well, for start, you know, it’d be some interruption to you, and what I say about labor and birth, and it’s really based on the idea that, you know, women need to feel private, safe, and unobserved in labor, so when a woman isn’t feeling private, safe, and unobserved, then then the levels of their hormones can go up, can increase, the levels of her adrenaline-noradrenalin, and that will switch her labor off. So in that situation, when she doesn’t have that sense of privacy, then that’s a real possibility, and one of the ways that I describe is as I said that the conditions that we need to have a baby are very similar conditions that we need to make a baby, you know.
Dr. Buckley: So we need to feel private, safe, and unobserved, otherwise, it’s not going to work. Is that right?
Sarah: That is so right, yeah.
Dr. Buckley: Yes. So you know, [0:34:08] [Indiscernible] is what the energy that gets the baby in gets the baby out, so private, safe, and unobserved is really important, and you know, in that scenario that you’re talking about, the woman’s not feeling private, safe, and unobserved. She’ll get a surge of adrenaline-noradrenalin and labor can slow down or even stop, and it can even interfere with the blood supply to a uterus and baby.
Sarah: So what can the mamas do in that situation?
Dr. Buckley: Well, as I said, you know, you really want to think about it beforehand, and organize yourself a situation where you feel is private, safe, and unobserved as possible, and I mentioned before that many women will naturally instinctively choose the smallest most private room they can which might be the bathroom [0:34:48] [Indiscernible] so that’s a good choice, having someone with you that can help to protect your space like a doula or your own midwife. This is so really important, and you may even choose to not leave your own space, to have your baby at home.
So all of those things will help you to feel private, safe, and unobserved in labor.
Sarah: That’s a really good suggestion about the doula. Okay, I’m not – Let’s say I’m at the hospital. I’m not progressing. They suggest Pitocin, which you’ve mentioned is this synthetic oxytocin. How does that affect me and my baby? Isn’t it just like normal hormones? I mean I have hormones in my body and they want to give me synthetic hormones. So what’s the big deal?
Dr. Buckley: Okay. Well, what’s different to your natural hormones – Because I talked about how your natural oxytocins released from your brain and it goes into your body and into your brain at the same time, and it has this calm and connection, loving, pain relieving effect, so when you’re given synthetic oxytocin, it doesn’t – it goes straight into your body rather than into your brain, so it has effects on the uterus, and the uterus, yes, of course, has contractions, but it doesn’t have those calming pain relieving loving effects, and you know, if you’ve been induced yourself or being with women who were being induced, they recognize this. It’s not a good feeling. Yeah, you get the pain, but not the natural pain that goes with it.
So of course, it doesn’t have those benefits for the mom. It cause the contractions that are longer, stronger, and closer together than a woman would naturally have at that stage of labor, so it can cause a lack of blood and oxygen supply to the baby. It can cause fetal distress. And we know this is true because, you know, every time you have a Pitocin drip, you have to have IV, you have to have monitoring, yeah, and I say to women, “You know, if you are offered an intervention that requires monitoring, you know there’s a risk to your baby.” So there is a risk to the baby with synthetic oxytocin with Pitocin.
And the other thing that we know – And this is already beginning to understand some of these consequences – is that using Pitocin for prolonged period of time actually detrimentally affects the mother’s oxytocin system. We talked about receptors beforehand, and when the mother has an excess of exposure to oxytocin, her receptors do a very sensible thing, which is they reduce in numbers. It’s fall down regulation. And it’s the mom’s body making sure that she doesn’t get overstimulated from Pitocin. So that means that her body becomes less sensitive to oxytocin. Then after the birth, when she really needs a good surge of oxytocin to protect her from bleeding because her natural oxytocin, the surge after birth prevents postpartum hemorrhage…
Dr. Buckley: …the body can’t even respond, so she’s got low receptor numbers and she can’t respond to oxytocin and causes now strong contractions that prevent bleeding. So we know that women who have synthetic oxytocin in labor are more likely to bleed after the birth and really do require extra doses of it after the birth.
Dr. Buckley: I just want to announce it quick and from there as well Sarah, which is, you know, what does it do to the baby’s brain? We know it’s a hormone of common connection. We know, you know, it sets moms up to be a mother in a particular way, to be alert and rewarded. Now that does it do in the long term to have the baby exposed to these high levels of synthetic oxytocin because it does cross into the baby’s brain, and we know from animal studies it can actually interfere with your hormonal systems lifelong. We haven’t even known to think about that for human babies, you know, the chances are that there is some effect, but we don’t really know what it is at the present point in time.
Sarah: Wow. Okay, that’s a good-to-know going into a laboring situation before you’re offered that. You’d mentioned obviously the private, safe, and unobserved place to give birth for you is important to keep labor going. What else can mamas do if their labor has kind of petered out a little bit? Is it just relax and wait? What are some suggestions for that?
Dr. Buckley: Well, as I said, Anna, my guest says the energy that got the baby in can get the baby out, so there’s lots of things we can naturally do to produce oxytocin. Stimulating our breasts produces oxytocin. Sexual activity produces oxytocin. Making love will literally make oxytocin, the hormone of love, and someone have used this as an alternative when their labor slowed down, and you need a bit of privacy. We’ll ensure that you’re private, safe and unobserved about smooching with your sweetheart, you know, even – You know, we’ve even had orgasms in the labor ward, you know. Close the door and no one’s going to come in and it’s a good way to get labor started. It really is, you know. That really gives you a surge of oxytocin.
Sarah: Yeah, that’s – Well, I can attest to that because with my second baby who I gave birth a few months ago, my contractions were slowing down and midwife is on the way, and I was like oh, I want to see if this is really, you know, labor, and so we did a little nipple stimulation, and the contraction – It was like putting a little starter on your car and just, you know, starting the car and just turning the key, and it was like it just sprang to life. So that oxytocin was definitely what was going on behind the scenes, right?
Dr. Buckley: And then it also happened for you Sarah because you had, you know, large number of oxytocin receptors because you naturally went into labor and birth. So your oxytocin system was as sensitive as it could possibly have been.
So as you say, just a little bit, and suddenly, everything kicked in.
Sarah: Yeah, that was amazing. Okay, so the next scenario is I ask for an epidural. How does this affect me and my baby and the symphony of hormones going on?
Dr. Buckley: Well, epidural, you know, it is really the most effective form of pain relief, and it can be fantastic for some women, but the problem is it affects all of our aesthetic hormones and that can have detrimental effects for mom and baby. For example, when you have an epidural in place, within a few minutes, your oxytocin level starts to go down, and they basically go down all the way through your pregnancy and all the way through your labor. What that means is that labor can slow down, and often it does, so most women with an epidural end up needing a Pitocin drip as well so they need Pitocin to really get labor started again. So it reduces oxytocin and it also reduces – I talked a little bit about that the laboring mom gets a surge of oxytocin towards the end of labor that helps her to give birth efficiently, so the woman with an epidural particularly misses out on that, and that’s really not so good because that means that she’s likely to be able to push her baby out by herself, but it increases her risk of needing forceps or a vacuum help to give birth, and neither of those things are much fun for the mama or much fun for the baby either and can increase the risk of tears for example, so that’s the problem with epidurals and oxytocin.
Epidurals also reduce beta-endorphin which is that hormone that puts you out into labor land, and so the woman with an epidural doesn’t experience that altered state of consciousness that Mother Nature designs for laboring women, and I wrote a book, Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy, and this is that when the woman gets the epidural, she becomes chatty to her girlfriends and nice to her husband, and that’s true because when you’re in this altered state of consciousness, you’re acting instinctively and you’ll do exactly what you need for your baby to be born, and when you have an epidural, you are not in that altered state and you’re more normal, you could say, but that’s not normal for labor and birth from my perspective.
Dr. Buckley: But you also miss out on that reward, you know. [0:42:12] [Indiscernible] stimulates the reward centers quite heavily so you’ll get that reward after birth, and you know, some studies have suggested that when a woman goes through labor and birth, we’ve talked about the brain changes that optimize her mothering, but a personality actually changes after labor and birth. That’s been documented. When a woman has an epidural, she doesn’t get that same shift in her personality. Women become more sociable. They really seek out social activity and social support, you could say, which is important in caring for a baby, and that’s probably an oxytocin effect, and the epidural woman who’ve had an epidural don’t get that benefit either.
Epidurals also reduce prolactin, which you know, probably is not a good thing either. I mean we don’t know much about the consequences of that. We haven’t really researched that that much, but it could impact on breastfeeding, and it also reduces her adrenaline and noradrenaline. It unbalances that. Her adrenalin suddenly drops down and noradrenaline is not so affected, and that causes some side effects of individuals like a sudden drop in blood pressure. It can also cause a transient, what’s called, a hyperstimulation so although the mother’s oxytocin are going down, which would generally slow down her labor, for a short time, this sudden drop in adrenalin for you to contract heavily, so it’s called hyperstimulation and that’s risky for herself and her baby as well. So you know, sometimes baby can get into fetal distress from that sudden shift in her adrenalin after the epidural’s put in.
Sarah: Okay. So it sounds like epidurals are – It’s a trade-off, you know. You either get pain relief 100% or close to it, I should say. It’s not 100% for everybody. It’s different for everyone, but it’s a trade-off so that’s good to know going into it whether or not you want to, you know, make those traits.
Dr. Buckley: And I think the thing is I think epidurals are really well-intentioned like, you know, the medic systems come up with something that is very effective in reducing pain, and it does – You know, women who have had an epidural have been satisfied with their pain relief, but that doesn’t mean they’re satisfied with their experience of labor and birth. I mean the things that I’ve just, you know, just shared. I mean the woman’s more likely to need a Pitocin drip. She’s more likely to have a forceps or a vacuum delivery, and all of those things are such good experiences. So if you ask moms after the birth, you know, about the satisfaction with the birth, women who’ve had an epidural are more satisfied with their pain relief, but they’re less satisfied with the birth itself than women who had been through natural labor and birth.
So you get the short-term benefit, but in the longer term, it’s actually not a benefit to yourself or your baby, and we’re really just beginning to understand that the epidural can have subtle effects on breastfeeding, you know. All of those hormones I’ve talked about are also hormones of attachment. You know, beta-endorphines are hormones of attachment; oxytocin; prolactin actually. Noradrenaline is as well. So when you lose those hormones of attachment, what does it mean for you, you know, that developing relationship with the baby and some studies have suggested they have found some subtle differences following an epidural.
And I’m not saying that if you’d had an epidural, you’re not going to be a good mother or…
Dr. Buckley: What I’m saying is that Mother Nature design’s is to have that the peak’s done, optimal start to mothering and merely, you know, not just to mother well, but to really be rewarded and enjoy mothering, and you know, it might be that an epidural interferes with that on some level.
Sarah: Oh, that’s a good distinction. I’m really glad you said that. So mamas, do your research and figure out what’s right for you and you’re comfortable with. Let’s talk back about C-sections for a moment because I know there are women watching who have either had C-sections in the past or may be facing a C-section for medical reason. How does – We had mentioned a little bit about the impact of C-sections and the hormone interchange that happens between you and your baby. Can you talk more about that and what women – Let’s talk about that first and then I’ll ask my follow-up question.
Dr. Buckley: Yeah, yeah. Okay, so we’ve about two different kinds of cesareans from a hormonal perspective so talking about a scheduled C-section or an elective
C-section or also called a cold C-section where there’s no preparation at all for the labor and birth. So the mom misses out on that hormonal preparation and the baby misses out on all that hormonal preparation, and you know, the way I describe that, you know, what’s that like for both of them. Well, the mother doesn’t get that head start with the mothering and the baby doesn’t get that preparation for life outside the womb when I mentioned before that the baby’s more likely to have breathing difficulties, sometimes severe breathing difficulties, more likely to have a low blood sugar, and more likely to have poor temperature control and just a bit drowsy.
And I think in elective, you know, scheduled C-section, it’s a bit like, you know, if you’re sleeping in the middle of the night, and someone comes in and wakes you up, and shines a bright light in your face, and pulls off the big clothes, and it’s cold, and you’re shocked, and the light’s too bright, and you just haven’t had that preparation that Mother Nature gives us to wake up slowly and gently, and that’s exactly the same process for the baby. They naturally have this process, preparation that has them, you know, gently and slowly through labor, through the weeks before labor, you know, get ready to function very well, to be optimally prepared for life outside the womb so that the scheduled C-section baby doesn’t get that, and you know, it’s a stressful experience for the baby. We know that from looking at the hormones in C-section babies, they have lower levels of stress hormones at birth because they haven’t been through labor in birth and haven’t gradually systems switched on, but they have high stress hormone levels afterwards, and you know, people say for the cesarean baby, this stress comes after birth because they haven’t had that preparation.
And for the mom as well. If she hasn’t had that hormonal stimulation, we know that her hormones are different during her breastfeeding period if she’s had a C-section, you know, and we know that breastfeeding can be more difficult after a C-section as well. And just something to bear in mind if you want to have a C-section and you want to do the best possible way for your baby and really get their help, you know, the other two ways you can stimulate those hormones is skin-to-skin contact with your baby that releases oxytocin that releases beta-endorphin. It calms down your adrenaline. Noradrenalin systems are really important so early on ongoing skin-to-skin and breastfeeding, you know. Three of those hormones; oxytocin, prolactin, beta-endorphin are also released during breastfeeding. So Mother Nature realizes sometimes birth doesn’t go according to plan, but this is her backup system, your skin-to-skin contact with your baby and early and continuous breastfeeding as much as possible. They can really help to familiarize some of that stress for the baby and for the mom as well.
Sarah: That was going to be my follow-up question was okay, so we’re having a
C-section. How do we get the benefits of those, you know, so we’re not totally helpless and feeling sad about it, but how can we make the best of it, and you just answered that beautifully with the skin-to-skin contact, which is also called kangaroo care and breastfeeding. So those are two great suggestions.
Dr. Buckley: Yeah, one other…
Sarah: Okay, so – Oh, go ahead.
Dr. Buckley: I just want to say something about it, Sarah.
Dr. Buckley: So the other thing that happens for the cesarean, the scheduled cesarean babies and not having had those weeks of preparation and the mom isn’t ready to give birth, so the baby hasn’t signaled their readiness for life outside the womb by causing hormonal signals for the mom’s body to go into labor, so the baby may be, again, several weeks away from when they would naturally go into labor and be ready for life outside the womb. So you know, the ideal C-section is actually letting a mom initiate labor first, and if we were – You know, if we were really concerned about the well-being of moms and babies, we wouldn’t be having our long surgical lists of, you know, scheduled C-sections. We’d actually have do a
C-section when the mom’s actually gone into labor
Sarah: Uh-huh. Okay, so – And that was the second type of C-section was mom’s already gone into labor. So there is that interplay of hormones that’s going on that may be interrupted at some point.
Dr. Buckley: Yup, yup. And research has shown that that’s been beneficial for the baby and the risk of breathing difficulties is not as bad as a scheduled
C-section, not quite as good as a vaginal birth, but somewhere in the middle.
So the baby does get some benefit from that hormonal stimulation of labor and birth, yeah.
Sarah: And going back to what you said at the very beginning about the gut flora, when is that exchange made during labor or birth?
Dr. Buckley: Well, basically, we’re beginning to understand more and more about that. I mean the classical thing that we’ve seen is the baby still are all in the womb, and the baby’s encased in the membrane with that amniotic fluid inside, and we’ve said that the baby is generally sterile. There’s no germs inside, but we’re beginning to understand there actually is a little bit of bacterial activity even at that stage, particularly once the membrane’s ruptured, once the waters break, and then, you know, there’s a conduit. There’s a channel from the mother’s vagina, then the healthy bugs that she has in the vagina that got to the baby.
So during labor, the baby begins to be colonized, and particularly during birth and postpartum, the baby’s colonized by the bacteria that are in the mother’s vagina. It’s no accident that it’s next to her bell because it’s really important that the baby gets this healthy bell flora, and you know, they caught the baby, the baby swallows them, and that’s about causes the initial colonization of the baby’s bell, not just a big healthy bacteria, but that also the mother’s local bacteria. You know, they’re part of the mother’s environment. So the baby’s being exposed to what their environment that they’re going to meet later on, yeah. So baby’s gut gets coated. And then when the baby’s skin-to-skin with the mother, the baby has no bacteria on the skin to start with, and the baby’s skin is colonized by the mother’s skin flora, so it’s why for the baby to have skin-to-skin contact with the mom. That’s not possible with the dad. He’s the second phase, but you want someone from the baby’s own home environment because those are going to be the bacteria that the baby will meet eventually from skin-to-skin contact and in vaginal birth, really, optimize the baby’s bacteriological environment or the baby’s microbiology as we call it.
Sarah: That is…
Dr. Buckley: So, you know, you keep an eye on this topic. It’s really something we’re beginning to understand a lot more about, and really, the long-term importance of a healthy gut flora for lifelong health and well being.
Sarah: Yeah, I’ve never – I’ve talked to a lot of people and I’ve never heard about this with skin-to-skin specifically as that being one of the benefits and why that is. That’s – I think it’s fascinating.
Dr. Buckley: Yeah. We haven’t really looked at it, but there was one interesting study that was done, and it was done in 1970, and they’ve got all the babies formed within 1 week in England and Wales, and they followed these children up long term, and they found a correlation between babies that have gone to the nursery – It was the 1970. A lot of those babies went to the nursery, and asthma and allergies at age 30, and they suspect that maybe that the baby wasn’t getting those extra big doses of the mother’s flora by being skin-to-skin or being in the mother’s vicinity and was getting – The baby has to be colonized with something, and if it’s not the mother’s healthy flora, it will be someone else’s flora. In fact, they know the people that handle the baby can possibly, you know, the healthy bacteria or the normal bacteria on to the baby, but that’s not normal for the baby or healthy for the baby. So you know, it’s another really good argument for not passing your baby around after birthing…
Dr. Buckley: …that the baby’s designed to be skin-to-skin with the mom on her body, and to be colonized in the early days and weeks probably as well.
Sarah: Uh-huh. Wow! Fascinating. Really good information. Okay, so Dr. Buckley, how do we wrap this all up? How do we optimize and really just take advantage of all of these hormones that are working inside of our bodies from the moment we become pregnant?
Dr. Buckley: Oh, I think by taking the messages. As I said in the beginning, as you know, your body is superbly designed for pregnancy, labor, and birth, and you could trust your body and you could trust your baby. You can really trust these processes of birth that have developed over millions of years, and really are, you know, perfectly attuned to each other as Professor [0:53:51] [Indiscernible] says. So you know, you want to form yourself as sub-culture of other people that trust birth. You know, you really want to be better mamas, care providers that really enhance your trust and that make you feel good, and well, the good thing is that the things that I’m advocating are generally things that make you feel good. They’re part of your instinctive behaviors. It is to, you know, slow down your pregnancy. It is to you’ll find a situation where you’re private, safe and unobserved in labor. It’s to have your baby skin-to-skin after birth. So it’s really about following your instincts during what feels good, trusting Mother Nature’s superb design, and really, reaping the rewards in terms of on safety, ease, and pleasure for yourself and for your baby.
Sarah: Wow, thank you so much, Dr. Buckley. I’ve learned a ton. I’m taking notes furiously over here. Okay, so Dr. Buckley, you have a website. How can people learn more and get more of you in their lives?
Dr. Buckley: I like that. So my website is SarahBuckley.com, and I’m really excited because I’ve just updated up right now a new membership website, which is called GentleNaturalBirth.com and people can join up to my membership website at any stage in pregnancy, and get in a video with me once a week talking about topics about the ones we’ve discussed today, and specifically, talking about things that you’re going to be interested in that stage of your pregnancy.
So you get a video once a week, get access to my library with a lot of information, some other videos of me doing talks, some downloadable audios, a whole lot of information that are published and not published yet, and you also get a conference call once a fortnight. Well, you can submit your questions at home. We may answer them. So [0:55:26] [Indiscernible] your notes so I really recommend that.
And then also, as I said, my book, Gentle Birth Gentle Mothering…
Dr. Buckley: …has chapters on some of the things we’ve talked about, the hormonal orchestration of labor and birth, epidurals, the pros and cons of epidurals, the pros and cons of cesarean, and it has some discussion on gut flora like we’ve talked about just now.
And if you really want more of me, when I was in England last year, I did some all-day workshops called Understood Birth, and this is a video that was taken of me during 3 lectures as part of that workshop, so there’s a lecture on the hormonal orchestration of labor and birth. There’s a lecture on the consequences of intervention. We talked about epidurals and cesareans somewhat to get all the details in here plus my Power Point slides, and then the third lecture in here is on the time after birth, which we haven’t talked about much today; so cord clamping, the after birth, skin-to-skin, breastfeeding are Mother Nature’s best start for mothers and babies.
And I also have a video, and these are all on my website and the internet, Natural Birth, which is an evening talk I did for parents called Secrets of Happy Babies and this video, I’m not doing a Power Point, but I’m really talking about what parents need to know like to prepare themselves for the best pregnancy, the best labor and birth, and the easiest and most pleasurable parenting as well, so Secrets of Happy Babies.
Sarah: Love it. Thank you so much, Dr. Buckley. To all the mamas who are watching, we hope that you took a lot away from this hormonal fest that we had today, this hormone party, and we’d love to hear what you think about what we talked about today. Sharing your comments below, we’re so excited. We love chatting with you guys. We respond to every single comment that comes on our website. If Dr. Buckley is cruising our site, she may decide to drop a line or two in response to your comment, but we just would love to chat with you. Let us know if you have any questions or comments about this topic tonight. Thanks again, Dr. Buckley, for joining us all the way from Down Under, and we’ll see you guys soon. Thanks for joining us.
Dr. Buckley: Thanks. Thanks, Sarah, and thanks for a fantastic resource. Your Baby Booty is one of my favorites. Really…
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