Posts Tagged ‘oxytocin’

Staying Connected After Birth

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Postpartum-Mama-Baby-Sleep

My life explorations as an adopted person and my studies of the foundations of human wellbeing have consistently turned up this fact: a key element of health is the experience of and capacity for connection.

Birth presents a unique, unrepeatable opportunity to foster connection. It is also important to understand the human costs when a mother and newborn cannot stay connected after birth — whether it is due to adoption, NICU confinement, health issues in the mother, or other circumstances requiring they be separated.

This is not about guilt or blame, but the empowerment that comes with understanding what happens with neonatal separation… and more importantly, what you can do to protect it and how you can help your baby heal when connection must be disrupted. {Read the rest of this post at mothering.com}

 

Image:
footloosiety,
Flickr | Creative Commons

The Childbirth – Autism – Erection Connection

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

LaborPool

Today has been World Autism Awareness Day, and Kim Stagliano despises it. The mother of three autistic daughters, she finds the “feel-good frippery” and air of festivity around the globe — with the rallies, events, balloons, and everything in blue (even the Eiffel Tower) — suggests a party rather than a crisis.

Good intentions aren’t in question: Autism Speaks talks about World Autism Awareness Day as an event that “celebrates the unique talents and skills of persons with autism.” Yet Stagliano bristles at the jovial tone of April (Autism Awareness Month), and the suggestion that “the circumstances of my daughters’ existences are to be celebrated. For me, this should be a month of solemn acknowledgement and education about a global crisis.”

Stagliano points out the sharp rise in autism over the past decade, and notes MIT scientist Stephanie Seneff’s prediction that by 2025, half of all children will be born with autism.

{Finish reading this post at mothering.com}

 

Image:
theogeo through a Creative Commons license

Mental Health Begins in the Womb

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Gone are the days when we could consider pregnancy a 9-month “grace period” before the job of parenting begins. Mounting research tells us that lifelong wellbeing, including mental health, begins in the womb, and everything parents do – beginning even before conception — shapes their children in critical, life-altering ways.

I began 2013 by writing about the power of beginnings. In 2014 I invite us to recognize that this applies to virtually everything, from baking a pie to building a company to developing a human: the beginning contains within it the seeds of the project’s ultimate success…or less-than-success. {Read more at naturalbabypros.com}

The Childbirth – Autism – Erection Connection

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

OdentLast fall I sat riveted in a Honolulu conference room, listening as obstetrician and primal health researcher Michel Odent declared that women are losing the capacity to give birth. Odent makes the compelling case that this is happening thanks to the systematic (yet unconscious) disuse — and thus, atrophy — of our human oxytocin system over the past few decades. He draws stunning parallels between the decline in physiologically normal births, the increase in autism and (forgive the pun) the rise in male erectile dysfunction. Those all rely on the same system: without oxytocin there is no physiologically normal birth, no human empathy, and no intercourse!

Over many years Dr. Odent has applied a revealing lens on a range of mental health issues: zeroing in on a central feature of conditions such as autism, criminality, suicide, he has cast it rather lyrically as “an impaired capacity to love.” When he used this novel perspective from which to survey a broad spectrum of supposedly unrelated research–on juvenile violent criminality, teen suicide, autism, anorexia, obesity and more–he found something striking: “[W]hen researchers explored the background of people who have expressed some sort of impaired capacity to love–either love of oneself or love of others–they always detected risk factors in the period surrounding birth.”

I spotlighted a few of Odent’s perspectives in my report on the new findings on the connection between induced labor and autism risk. This week it so happens that I’m working on a textbook chapter on “Pre- and Perinatal Influences on Female Mental Health,” and here again, Dr. Odent’s prescient insights emerge as key points. Here’s one example (and sorry — please excuse the textbook-y language!):

Given the gender gap of depression and the fact that twice as many women as men suffer from major clinical depression–one woman in eight experiences at least episode in her lifetime–it is relevant to include Odent’s observation that the rate of college students reporting they’ve been diagnosed with depression has risen from 10% to 21% in just eleven years! Acknowledging the complex causal tapestry involved in depression, he urges us to consider that in that same decade, 2000-2011, “it was a time when the number of women who were able to give birth to their baby and to the placenta thanks only to the release of their natural hormones dramatically decreased.” He reminds us that depression is related to how stress-axis “set points” are established in the pre- and perinatal period, pointing out the myriad brain areas showing altered activity in depressed subjects that have an important phase of development and “set point” adjustment during the period surrounding birth.

An Audience with Michel Odent

I was privileged to have the opportunity to be one of a small number of people at that breakout session of Michel Odent’s Mid-Pacific Conference on Birth & Primal Health Research. Now, thanks to the recent release of his important book Birth and the Future of Homo Sapiens…and the fact that his London book launch event was videoed…you have the opportunity to listen firsthand to this visionary thinker talk about these oh-so-important topics!  Provided you can understand him (the author of this excellent UK Telegraph article writes that Odent’s French accent is “as thick as a ripe Brie”), it is a master class in visionary thinking about the future of humanity.

OdentBookLaunch

Odent cautions us (with respect to our tendency to anguish over studies like the new one linking labor induction to autism risk) that when reading about such studies…or listening him talk about any of the conditions he is researching through a primal health lens…you cannot be thinking of your own family, your friends, or your neighbor’s cousin’s autistic son. These are population-based (epidemiological) studies that reach conclusions in terms of tendencies, risk factors and statistically significant differences amongst huge numbers of people. It is not appropriate or valid (although it is always tempting) to apply these autism risk findings to specific individual cases!

Contrary to one of the many vitriolic comments to the Telegraph article, this is the reason he says his new book is NOT meant to be read by pregnant mothers. Too close, too often-bleak. Michel Odent is the first one to promote chronic JOY in the lives of pregnant women.

The rest of us, though, best get our heads out of the sand and look at the big…the really big…unified picture of birth — and autism — and erections — and the future of us all.

Staying Connected After Birth: A Peaceful Beginning

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Postpartum-Mama-Baby-Sleep

My life explorations as an adopted person and my studies of the foundations of human wellbeing have consistently turned up a key element of health: the experience of and capacity for connection. Birth presents us a momentous opportunity to foster connection. It is also important to understand the costs of not staying connected after birth — whether it is due to adoption, NICU confinement, health issues in the mother, or other circumstances preventing mother-newborn connectedness. This is not about guilt or blame, but the empowerment that comes with understanding what happens with neonatal separation. {Read the rest of this post at mothering.com}

Mental Health Begins in the Womb

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Gone are the days when we could consider pregnancy a 9-month “grace period” before the job of parenting begins. Mounting research tells us that lifelong wellbeing, including mental health, begins in the womb, and everything parents do – beginning even before conception — shapes their children in critical, life-altering ways.

I began 2013 by writing about the power of beginnings. This applies to virtually everything, from baking a pie to building a company to developing a human: the beginning contains within it the seeds of the project’s ultimate success…or less-than-success. (more…)

Inviting Fathers In: Attachment Begins in Pregnancy

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

A mother’s attachment to her baby often begins long before birth. By the last trimester many mothers feel like they know their babies, having been enjoying for months their familiar, reassuring movements in the womb.

But what about fathers? What are their experiences during those wondrous nine months?  How does the attachment process begin for them? Is a father’s only option to look on with wonder (and sometimes envy) at the beautiful relationship forming between his once-doting partner and this tiny interloper? Is it the extent of his calling to act as back-rubber, chauffeur and coach? Do these “staff support” roles reflect the monumental potential influence fathers have in their family’s life? (more…)