"Operation Oxytocin" is a phrase I heard from a lovely client I was supporting recently. With her permission I've pinched this to explore what this could look like.
As the last part of pregnancy approaches a boost of oxytocin is needed to help labour and birth.
How do we encourage this in these last weeks? For many towards the end of pregnancy they may feel tired, fed up and answer daily questions about when the baby will be born, when they will give up and go for induction or arrange a caesarean birth. Work often stops or slows, their body feels large and heavy. Things become hard work; bending, putting on socks, shopping, cleaning. Many experience a nesting urge and maybe start DIY projects or deep cleans. We must explore postnatal planning, think about feeding and baby care, meal preparations, support set up or childcare for siblings. This period is busy and unknown.
All this doesn't sound good for oxytocin building, does it? So why not plan an Operation Oxytocin of your own at the end of pregnancy?
Exploring things like hypnobirthing can help with the understanding of the hormones, I would also suggest thinking about environment for the end of pregnancy, labour and birth. Whether you plan to birth at home or in the hospital your home is your safe space, keep it cosy, warm and relaxed. Consider eating foods which can help to boost your oxytocin levels, such as:
I would also suggest carb based food as labour is starting of if your surges slow down or become a bit more infrequent. It’s also really important to remain hydrated and fuelled for birth (think about isotonic drinks as well as water).
Enjoying fresh foods and natural sugars will also help during this time.
When looking at ways to boost oxytocin spending time with friends and loved ones ranks highly as socialising can boost your oxytocin. A word of warning here, pick your people this needs to be a nice experience for you so set boundaries: " I want to go for a walk but not talk about birth"
"I would love to go out for some cake but I don't want to talk about babies"
This is your time and you need the right people around you. I know from personal experience how the right people can help. The ones who walk super slow with your huge bump and aching hips, who encourage you to do that little bit more with love and empathy. Cheer leaders for you, your baby, your body and your birth. You may also find spending time with your pets having lots of cuddles with your other children a great way of helping to boost your oxytocin.
Kitchen disco are a favourite in our house. The way we feel can be changed by listening to music, relaxations or watching something funny. During Operation Oxytocin think about some fun play lists, films, tv shows that make you laugh and feel nice. Why not explore mediation? You could find some time in a dark room with a relaxation playing where you can focus on your breathing (fabulous preparation for birth) with your hands on your bump connecting to your baby. Bonding is high on the oxytocin list after all!
Images/ Positive affirmations can be a really useful way of helping you to focus and boost oxytocin. Why not make some birth bunting or a birth wishes Jar, crafting and creating can be relaxing and a great way to involve children, partner, friends and family in building some oxytocin and positivity for birth and parenting.
What images, photos make you happy? You could use these as a phone screen saver or stuck on your mirror so you can focus on them boosting the oxytocin.
What about a hobby you enjoy, or baking a cake, perhaps book a beauty treatment or hair cut to help you feel good.
Some people really enjoy having maternity pictures taken this can be a lovely memory to look back.
Another super tip would be to block out anything that's negative, work, the news, social media, what's app groups anything that's not fitting with the boosting of oxytocin.
Lastly as well as couple time (hugging, massage, cuddles, kissing) sex is also a brilliant booster and can help bring on labour.
So why not give it a go? Operation Oxytocin may help your labour begin and support your birth journey. It would also be a lovely way of spending the last few days/weeks of pregnancy and be associated with fond memories of all the fun you had whilst you awaited the birth of your baby.
Don't forget though, unless baby is ready, your body is ready and your mind is ready birth won’t happen, Waiting till your time maybe hard but is defiantly part of the magic of birth.
" Don't criticize nature, stand in awe of it."- Ina May Gaskin