This is a great concept for partners to know and understand. Partners often worry how they will be able to support her effectively when the time comes. While I fully support childbirth classes, people often find themselves confused as to how all that information actually applies when the time comes. "When do I start counting?" "When do I rub her back?" "When do I tell her she's doing a good job?"
No matter what tools you utilize; Bradley, Hypnobirthing, Birthing from Within, etc, the point is the same. To keep her oxytocin high and her adrenaline low.Natural oxytocin is the love hormone. High levels of oxytocin help produce effective contractions. Oxytocin is high when a woman is feeling love, happiness, generosity, safe, amused...all the good stuff. Oxytocin is also what is in action when a woman breastfeeds, has an orgasm, and is feeling good in other situations too. When oxytocin levels are high, they keep adrenaline levels low, like a seesaw effect.Adrenaline is the opposite. It's emotional makeup is stress, fear, anger etc. Adrenaline has its place when we quickly and without thinking evade a car accident and our body goes into auto-pilot. Then many of us are familiar with the feeling after and adrenaline rush. The trickling down.
When supporting a woman in labor, our [doula and partner] goal is to keep her adrenaline down and her oxytocin up. When oxytocin is up, she will feel less pain and fear, and be able to embrace the intensity of labor as productively as possible. Labor can then be more enjoyable and transforming, just like loving, giving, & nurturing can be. Giving selflessly is hard work. But it also feels so amazing. When we are working hard for something good, we are better able to push through challenges. We need to make sure a woman in labor feels safe, loved, nurtured, amused (wisely finding the right moments to crack a joke) and supported. Tell her you love her. Tell her in your own words how honestly amazed you are by the work she is doing to bring this baby into the world. Our words, touch, suggestions and support help her keep the balance in favor of the oxytocin and help keep her healthy birth, healthy.