10 amazing benefits of the love hormone

Learn reasons why oxytocin is much more than just a love hormone!

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Oytocin released during pregnancy, labour, birth and beyond helps you to be a great mum in many ways. Understand how it works and you can relax — your body’s got it sorted!

1. Creates an energy store

Your oxytocin levels starts to rise immediately at the beginning of your pregnancy. This increase alters your metabolism, which leads to weight gain in the first trimester and provides an energy store that’s used when your foetus is growing faster and needs more calories.

2. Enhances intimacy

By the last trimester, oxytocin levels in your blood are significantly higher than in the first trimester. The increased hormone levels cause you to be more open in your relationships and more likely to have friendly interactions with your family members. You’ll feel less independent and more willing to accept help. This has an important biological function, bringing you closer to those who can support you once your baby arrives. Women often find that they start to discuss things with their mothers on a far deeper level.

3. Promotes caution

Oxytocin encourages you to be more careful during late pregnancy. You’re also more cautious about the world around you, which helps you make sensible choices to keep you and your growing baby safe.

4. Induces contractions

At the beginning of labour, spikes of oxytocin in your blood help to induce uterine contractions. The frequency of these spikes increase as labour goes on, peaking during the actual birth of your baby. The release of oxytocin will also lessen pain.

5. Decreases stress

Oxytocin is linked to the reward system in the brain. It makes you feel good, which helps to reduce your stress levels after the birth, which may have been exhausting — and perhaps difficult — for both mother and baby.

6. Increases bonding

There is a scientific reason why mums are encouraged to make skin-to-skin contact with their babies after birth — touch is one of the strongest stimulators of oxytocin release. This flood of oxytocin helps you fall in love with your baby, and promotes the desire to care for her. A baby’s skin has already been stimulated during contractions in a natural delivery, raising her oxytocin levels. Immediately after birth, the efficiency of skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby is heightened, which boosts oxytocin levels. When cuddling her newborn, a mother will experience her highest-ever level of oxytocin.