Comfort Measures in Labor: Kissing
John and Jane sitting in a tree,
First comes love,
Then comes marriage,
Then comes John pushing a baby carriage.
We all have heard the children’s rhyme that was a way of teasing a couple who liked each other but there may be more truth to the rhyme than we ever realized.
Movies and TV give viewers a very distorted view of what labor is really like. They show a woman screaming at her husband, threatening him within an inch of his life should he ever attempt to touch her again.
If this is the only idea you ever have of labor, the idea of kissing may sound more like torture than a way to bring comfort and pain management to the mother in labor. However, the reality is that many women have found smooching in labor to be one of the most powerful tools to use in labor.
How does kissing affect a woman in labor?How does kissing affect a woman in labor? Click To Tweet
Kissing boosts oxytocin production. Oxytocin is the main hormone in keeping contractions going and making them more effective. This will speed up labor, as well.
Oxytocin is also the main hormone in bonding. Increasing oxytocin will not only help parents bond with their new baby but will help them strengthen the bond between each other. Parenting is stressful so doing everything you can to strengthen the marriage bond, is a good idea.
Kissing also increases endorphins which are the body’s natural pain relievers. Endorphins also keep the production of oxytocin at a high.
Serotonin, Phenylethylamine, and dopamine are all increased with kissing. These hormones keep you happy and content. They act as the body’s tranquilizers or sedatives. They keep mom calm and relaxed so she can focus on her baby.
2. Lowers stress and anxiety
Cortisol is a hormone that increases stress and anxiety. When a laboring mother becomes stressed and/or anxious, her oxytocin plummets and labor slows or occasionally stops altogether. It is very important to keep a mother calm and relaxed in labor so get to kissing.
3. Increases blood flow
In a CNN article, Valerie Reiss quoted Andréa Demirjian, author of “Kissing: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about One of Life’s Sweetest Pleasures,” saying, ”Kissing passionately gets your heartbeat revved in a healthy way that helps lower your blood pressure…It dilates your blood vessels—blood is flowing in a good, solid fashion and getting to all your vital organs.”
An increase in blood flow encourages the muscles and tissues to be more pliable, which leads to a reduction in pain and increased stamina when muscles become tired. It also assures that baby is well-oxygenated.
How to use kissing in labor?How to use kissing in labor? Click To Tweet
Ina May Gaskin, midwife, said, “Early in my midwifery career, I observed another fascinating relationship pertaining to the Law of the Sphincter. I noticed a strong connection between the sphincters of the mouth/throat and those of the cervix and yoni. A relaxed mouth means a more elastic cervix. Women whose mouths and throats are open and relaxed during labor and birth rarely need stitches after childbirth.”
Kissing is a great form of distraction and relaxation for a laboring mother. It is also way of keeping your mouth sphincter loose and open which translates to a relaxed, loose, and open cervix.
Try kissing during a contraction or in between or anytime you feel like you need to remember to relax, be distracted, or connect with your husband.
Kissing is an excellent way to bond with your husband and to get the hormones flowing that support labor. Even if a mother has a medicated birth or a c-section, kissing can help increase the hormones to reduce stress and encourage bonding.
Keeping yourself calm, relaxed, and confident in labor is the best way to help a mother in labor. Kissing can assist in reaching this goal. So when you start feeling a contraction come or when you start feeling relaxation leaving your body, pucker up and grab your husband.
If you are in the Denton, TX area and are interested in hiring a doula for your birth experience, contact me today to schedule a free consultation. If you are interested in learning about more comfort measures in labor, check out my Comfort Measures page.