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Birthing in the Dark

Why are we always banging on about birthing in the dark?โ 

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I, for one, find it much easier to implement an action if I truly understand the reasoning behind it, otherwise the importance does not settle as well and I'm likely to forget the advice or shrug it off as a low priority.โ 

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So - why do we talk about low lighting when it comes to birth. โ 

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Firstly instinct. Listening to our bodies, which like other mammals, would naturally seek out a dark, safe space, in which to give birth.โ 

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But dig deeper - why do we naturally seek the dark?โ 

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The hormone melatonin regulates our sleep cycle, producing high amounts in the evening when we are getting ready for bed. But when it comes to birth - it has another role!โ 

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It may be hard to believe when so many of us suffer from pregnancy insomnia, but Melatonin levels in the bloodstream actually start rising in the second half of pregnancy. Simultaneously, the uterus starts to develop melatonin receptors, making the muscle sensitive to melatonin in the blood stream.โ 

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When we are in labour, melatonin acts as oxytocin's sidekick, boosting it's effects on labour, which make surges (contractions) stronger and more effective.โ 

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Given melatonin levels are naturally higher are night, it's not surprising that many women go into labour in the evening and early morning and things often slow down again at day break.โ 

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So..... to help labour progress naturally and facilitate physiological birth, turn the lights down low, draw the curtains, pull down the blinds and turn off the strip lights. If you're on a labour ward pop on your eye mask, create your own dark space and let the melatonin works it's magic. xโ 

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