Hormones Even before you knew you were expecting, your hormones shifted into overdrive. After all, they have a huge role to play in the next 40 weeks to help you maintain a healthy pregnancy and determine when your body is ready to start labor. At Gentle Beginnings, our certified nurse midwives understand the biology of a woman’s hormones and support a natural labor when possible. Our philosophy is to try to avoid interventions so that your hormones can carry out their natural functions properly. Rushing a delivery, separating mom from baby, added stress and epidurals can do a great disservice to moms and babies by blocking or diminishing the effects of your hormones. A guide to (some of the many) pregnancy hormones Oxytocin Oxytocin might just be the star of the show with its multiple essential roles. It causes rhythmic uterine contractions that help to dilate a woman’s cervix as she nears the end of pregnancy. It also helps to control postpartum bleeding and promote breastfeeding by stimulating the breasts to produce milk. You also have this hormone to thank for that overwhelming feeling of new-baby love. It helps with mother-baby bonding following birth. Endorphins These hormones are released during labor to help women cope with labor contractions. Along with oxytocin, endorphins also create a sensation of exhilaration for the mom in the immediate postpartum period. Prolactin These milk-producing hormones get to work in a woman’s body during pregnancy and increase right after giving birth. They prepare the breast tissue for lactation and the release of milk. At Gentle Beginnings, we are committed to fostering mother-baby bonding and initiating breastfeeding with skin-to-skin contact as soon as your baby is born. Having that immediate skin-to-skin contact helps let your body know to release prolactin. If you have any questions about hormones and how they may affect your pregnancy or wish to visit our practice, call one of our local offices: Locations: Elmer Office: 389 Harding Highway, Suite 1 Elmer, NJ 08318 Get Directions (856) 358-1100 Haddon Heights Office 708 Station Avenue Haddon Heights, NJ 08035 Get Directions (856) 265-0200 Follow us on social media!