Self-calming meditative relaxation has been shown to directly reduce adrenaline and cortisol secretion, naturally restoring hormonal balance and normalizing immune system function. Relaxation directly benefits pregnancy and childbirth by restoring hormonal balance, enhancing the immune system, optimizing nervous system function and providing tools for pain management.
Melatonin is the hormone synthesized and secreted by the pineal body, a cone-shaped endocrine gland located at the base of the brain. Melatonin may be the most potent and versatile antioxidant. Melatonin directly restores and increases T-helper cell production in bone marrow.
The practice of meditation in pregnancy has been proven to be superior to deep sleep in bringing about energy restoration and repair. Melatonin also has a calming effect, improves mood and enhances contentment.
DHEA, a life-enhancing hormone, is produced in the adrenal glands and acts as a mood elevator that makes people feel and look better. During pregnancy, labour and birth, meditation offers potentially ideal hormonal function and conveys elevated levels of DHEA to the baby inside the womb and to the child after birth through breastfeeding.
Serotonin is a natural substance the body uses to make melatonin. It is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain and the gut that has a calming effect, associated with contentment. It also regulates blood vessel elasticity, helps repair muscle tissue damage and is generally beneficial in healing. Serotonin is produced in elevated levels during meditation practice. It is passed from the Mother to her baby via the blood stream.
Endorphins are peptides secreted throughout the nervous system that have a very strong pain-relieving and pleasure-inducing effect, similar to that of morphine.
Michel Odent (1994, p.15) observes the more time devoted to the practice of pregnancy relaxation and meditation, the higher the level of endorphins present during the labour process. Endorphin production is important to a labouring woman to avoid risks of medical interventions and gain confidence in her natural abilities in childbirth.
The “Love Hormone”
The “Love Hormone” is released from the hypothalamus into the bloodstream as a peptide hormone via the pituitary gland. It is this hormone produced by your body that causes contractions and allows you to give birth naturally. It’s a shy hormone that needs the perfect conditions in order to be released and the use of child birth relaxation coupled with good Midwifery support will increase the flow of the “Love Hormone”.