A guy called Micheal Odent, a French obstetrician and child birth specialist, once said men should ‘stay away from childbirth’. We are here to say this is the 21st Century and the said ‘men’ are the ones that helped put this miracle of new life in there in the first place!
His belief was that the presence of men during their partner’s labour produced adrenaline. . Odent stated “If she can’t release oxytocin, she can’t have effective contractions, and everything becomes more difficult. Labour becomes longer, more painful and more difficult because the hormonal balance in the woman is disturbed by the environment that’s not appropriate because of the presence of the man”.
As practicing midwives, there is a lot we can agree with in what Michale Odent suggests, however, the hormone oxytocin is produced first and foremost when women have an orgasm! It is known as the hormone of love or “the cuddle” hormone. Effective ways to increase oxytocin include reducing stress and anxiety by increasing feelings of calmness and security, improve mood and increase feelings of contentment and to have an orgasm…most women however wouldn’t consider sex during labour, but it’s not been unheard of…! All this is designed to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, which prompts your adrenal glands to release adrenaline.
At the Naked Midwives we passionately believe that if men are educated and understand the birth process with realistic expectations then they are indeed the ‘guardians of oxytocin’. By gaining an understanding of how their loved one may react to contractions, the changes to her behaviour and body, how labour should progress and the coping techniques they can help instil, they will indeed help with the flow of oxytocin.
Michael Odent is correct in the sense that men can cause adrenaline levels to rise in labour if they panic. It can be really scary seeing your partner in pain and there’s usually an overwhelming sense of not being able to do anything…then labour can be longer and more painful. However, if men are well prepared, especially for the early stages of labour (the latent phase) then actually the loved shared between a labouring couple can only rocket those oxytocin levels…hence “the cuddle hormone”.
At the Naked Midwives we’re always overwhelmed by the positive feedback we get from the men attending our courses, and we are speedily gathering our own little herd of the ‘guardians of oxytocin’.
GOLDEN RULE…DON’T PANIC!
Realistic NOT Idealistic Education