The Benefits of Touch

"Benefits of touch include increased levels of the hormone oxytocin, which speeds labor and promotoes a sense of well-being. (Synthetic Pitocin does not produce the effect of well-being because it is delivered through the bloodstream by IV, rather than being manufactured in the brain like natural oxytocin.) Studies from the Tourch Research Institute at the University of Miami show that women receiving massage in labor report less pain, less anxiety, and have shorter births. According to doula researchers Dr. Kennell and the Klauses, fathers-to-be touch their partners about 20 percent of the time in labor, while doulas touch mothers up to 95 percent of the time. However, the exception to this is when both the father and the doula are present; in these cases the amount of time fathers touch their partners is increased." - The Doula Guide to Birth

So again, it doesn't have to be a professional level massage, it can be as simple as wiping your face with a cool cloth or holding your hand while you get the IV or resting their hand on your leg, but TOUCH HELPS. I read in another text (sorry, no direct quote) that when laboring in a hospital if medical professionals enter the room that the father steps farther away from his wife. One presumes it's because they want to get out of the way of any exams needed? But as a result the mother is losing a source of comfort and reassurance. When a doula is present and demonstrating ways to touch and help the mother then the father is MORE likely to touch his partner. I think that's fantastic!

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