The first hour after birth is undoubtedly one of the most critical stages in the life of human beings. It's not a coincidence that all human groups routinely disrupt physiological process in such a short period of time, due to the beliefs and rituals. Our cultural social environment is largely shaped by the start of the mother-child interaction.
The first hour after birth can be viewed from many different and complex views. Only one of them is the effect of hormones on the behavior of the mother and child.
The influence of hormones on behavior
Today we can say with certainty that all the powers of different hormones released by the mother's and the child's body, during the first and second stage of labor, are excreted from the body in the first hour after birth. All of them have a special role in the mother and child.
The key hormone involved in the birth psychology without a doubt oxytocin. His mechanical effects are well known for a long time (which allows uterine childbirth and the birth of the placenta, clamping myoepithelial cells of the breast leading to milk ejection reflex).
Prange and Pedersen showed for the first time the effect of oxytocin on behavior, experiments on rats, 1979. year. Oxytocin injections directly into the brain unpaired (neskotne) rats, maternal behavior is caused by the same. This experiment became the basis for the study of new generation. The results of thousands of similar studies can be summarized in one or two sentences: Oxytocin is a hormone typically altruistic - it is related to all aspects of love.
This fact becomes important when we consider that, according to Swedish research in a short period after the birth of the child and the placenta before birth, a woman's body contains the greatest amount possible of oxytocin. In other situations (eg, sexual intercourse or breast feeding), oxytocin release is highly dependent on the influence of the environment.
It is easier if mothers in hot conditions, so that the amount of the hormone adrenaline lowest possible group. It is also convenient that the mother does not do anything else but watch the eyes of your newborn child and to feel the contact with baby's skin without impediment. The way that oxytocin released a new foundation for the research. To be effective, this release must be impact: the higher the frequency of the pulse, the greater the effect of hormones.
Oxytocin is never released it. It is always part of a complex hormonal balance. That's why I love having so many different effects. In the first hour after birth, as a specific condition of the body, under physiological conditions, high levels of oxytocin is associated with high levels of prolactin, which is called the "mother hormone". This is the most typical situation for the promotion of love for the child. Oxytocin and prolactin are mutually complementary. Furthermore, estrogen receptors activate oxytocin and prolactin. We must always bear in mind the hormonal balance.
In 1979. also prove the release of a hormone similar to morphine during labor. The release of endorphins is now well documented. In the early eighties, we have learned that the child releases endorphins in the birth process, and even today there is no doubt that at a certain time after birth, the mother and child is saturated with opiates. Characteristics of the induced state of opiate addiction, as we well know, so it's easy to expect that it will be the beginning of "addiction" or coming together to continue to develop.
Even hormones adrenaline from the group, often referred to as the hormone of aggression, a visible role in the interaction between mother and baby immediately after birth. Over the last contractions before labor, the highest levels of these hormones in the mother's body. Because of that, under physiological conditions, as soon as the urge to print, women have a sudden urge to be, full of energy, stand up and be caught in something or someone. Often want to drink a glass of water, as does the speaker in front of a large audience.
One of the effects of such a release of adrenaline vigilance mother and her caution. Remember the behavior of mammals in the wild, it tells us what is the advantage for the mother to have enough power and aggression to protect her newborn, if necessary. Aggressiveness is one aspect of maternal love.
It is also known that a child has their coping mechanisms over the last contractions squeeze it and release your hormones adrenaline from the group. The rush of norepinephrine to the fetus to adapt to the physiological oxygen specific for this stage of labor. The visible effect of this hormone releasing the wake of the child at birth, with open eyes and dilated pupils. Mothers are fascinated and delighted with the way their newborn child stares at them. It looks as if the child has received a signal, and it certainly seems that this contact eye-to-eye is an important part of the early relationship between mother and child.
Very complex role of hormones epinephrine-norepinephrine groups in the interaction between mother and child has not been studied for a long time. A small number of animal experiments opens the door to new research.
From hormonal perspective, it is clear that sexuality is completely full and complete. In all the different episodes of our sex life, the same hormones are released and a similar scenario is repeated. For example, during sexual intercourse, both partners, male and female, releases oxytocin and endorphins. This is the beginning of connection that follows some models linking the mother-child relationship during the first hour after birth.
Our latest knowledge on the impact of the behavior of various hormones that are associated with the process of giving birth, help us to clarify the concept of a sensitive period. It is clear that all the hormones released by the mother and child during labor and delivery are not suddenly eliminated. It is also clear that each of them has a special role in the late connection and interaction between mother and child.
Author: Dr. Michel Odent
Source: Midwifery Today, Vol 61, 2002
Translated and adapted by: Emy De Bombo