Which hormone is called the birth hormone

Oxytocin - why the cuddle hormone is so important for you and your baby

The hormone oxytocin triggers labor, it controls milk production after birth and drives the regression of the uterus after pregnancy. But the messenger substance can do much more: Oxytocin strengthens the bond and trust between mother and child. It is therefore also known as the cuddle hormone.

The tasks of the hormone oxytocin

Serotonin, dopamine and the endorphins are among the most famous happiness hormones. Inevitably, however, oxytocin also belongs in this list. The cuddle or love hormone is not only released at birth, but also during an orgasm.

The hormone strengthens the bond between partners - and when breastfeeding, caressing and cuddling also the mother-child bond after the birth.

Oxytocin during pregnancy and after childbirth

The cuddle hormone is formed in the brain and released from the pituitary gland through the blood system in the body.

Like any hormone, oxytocin performs numerous tasks in the body. Men also release the hormone, however, it has a far more significant effect on women. It controls different processes during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding:

  • During pregnancy: The body's own oxytocin initiates the birth. The hormone is released at the end of pregnancy and stimulates the uterus to go into labor. The bonding hormone is not only formed in your body, but also by your baby.
  • During childbirth: Even when you are in labor, your body continues to release oxytocin to help the uterus contract. If the distribution decreases, it can lead to a birth arrest.
    Together with the oxytocin, endorphins are also released during childbirth. These solve the fear and calm the pregnant woman. The interplay of the happiness hormones helps you to endure the birth despite the severe pain and to relax between contractions.
  • If your baby is born / breastfeeding: Oxytocin levels are highest after birth. The cuddle hormone is now responsible for milk production. It stimulates the mammary glands and ensures that your breast now produces breast milk. And the hormone is also released when breastfeeding. It triggers what is known as after-labor: These contractions cause your uterus to recede.

The hormone in synthetic form

Oxytocin can also be produced artificially. In these cases, it is used in the form of an infusion:

  • At the classic contractionswhich is used during childbirth when things are not going well (anymore).
  • The contractions drop is also used when labor is inducedif, for example, the body does not trigger any contractions after a rupture of the bladder.
  • Or at Labor stress testto check the baby's response to labor.
  • Even after the birth Doctors like to administer the messenger substance in synthetic form to prevent bleeding and to accelerate the detachment of the placenta.

Oxytocin and the Mother-Child Bond

The cuddle hormone for breastfeeding

Oxytocin not only influences the above-mentioned physiological processes, but also also strengthens the bond between mom and baby. The hormone released during breastfeeding calms the mother and increases her well-being. The release of stress hormones decreases.

But that's not all: Your baby also produces oxytocin when drinking and is calmer and more relaxed. The bond and trust between you and your child become stronger.

No breastfeeding = no oxytocin?

Are you not breastfeeding and now worrying about your bond? Don't worry, the messenger substance is not only produced in the body of breastfeeding mothers. Touch, gentle massages and caresses also ensure that you and your baby release the hormone.

It is therefore a fallacy to believe that the mother-child bond can only be particularly close in breastfed children.

A strong bond takes more than a single hormone

In recent years, a great many studies have been commissioned and carried out on the influence of oxytocin on the bond between mother and baby. Scientists have found that the cuddle hormone strengthens trust between two (or more) people.

In fact, it has not yet been fully researched what requirements must still be met in order to permanently strengthen the mother-child bond and how all the hormones in the body interact.

Just as a breastfed child does not automatically have a good bond with its mother, an unsatisfied child inevitably has a disturbed relationship with the mother. Bonding and trust are the result of affection and loving togetherness - even beyond the infant phase. Oxytocin is one of these building blocks, which is important, but not the only decisive factor, for a close bond.

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