Labor & Birth

The Hormones of Labor | Why Wait When Planning a Cesarean Birth

The Hormones of Labor

Why You Might Want To Discuss If Waiting Is An Option With Your Provider When Planning a Cesarean Birth

Spontaneous labor begins from a combination of fetal maturity and the physical and emotional readiness of the mother. This concept makes apparent the benefit of labor in regards to neonatal health- the onset of labor demonstrates that the baby was ready to be born.

There are many benefits of labor, even if you're planning a cesarean birth!

While a cesarean comes with more complications than a vaginal delivery, they are, at times, necessary, life saving, or even preferred. If a cesarean section is not medically imminent, or for a family electing a cesarean birth, a beneficial option may be to labor prior to the cesarean.  A scheduled cesarean misses out on the many benefits of the hormones of labor.

The Benefits of Contractions and Endorphins

Contractions, which strengthen the uterus are a fundamental benefit of labor. The mother-baby "labor dance" which produces endorphins, stimulates the adrenal glands of the baby which excrete catecholamines, preparing them for the transition of life outside the womb. The alertness of your newborn from these hormones also facilitates bonding, while the increase in white blood cells begins to build immunity.

The Benefit of Time

Babies delivered via cesarean without labor are more likely to have respiratory problems. Studies cannot without error determine optimal time for delivery. When babies choose their birthday, communication between a mother's body and fetal maturity determines the time for birth is right. 

Image Credit: Blooming Footprints

Image Credit: Blooming Footprints

The Benefits of Oxytocin

Oxytocin is a significant hormone of labor.  Research shows numerous benefits such as protecting your baby's brain during birth.  Oxytocin is a key player in body synergy during labor, not only facilitating bonding but also as part of the interaction with and release of endorphins. 

The Benefits of Prolactin

Prolactin is the major hormone of milk synthesis. Prolactin doesn't peak until closer to birth, and is present throughout labor.


When planning for the birth of your baby, there is much to consider. Consult with your preferred care provider in making the best decisions for your pregnancy and birth. To facilitate communication with your provider, Metro Birth offers eDoula birth consultations in which we will help you construct questions, and gather information for your upcoming BIRTHday. Schedule you complimentary consultation today!