This topic was on a midwifery study group. We're specifically taking 6 weeks to learn about Oxytocin. Some HB midwives do recommend alcohol in labor when labor
has been extensively long, to help mom go to sleep. (long as in 36-48+ hours) I was horrified at first until it was reminded to me that in a hospital setting mom would be given morphine, stadol, Demerol, etc. I realized it is the lesser of two evils.
The Question was: “I learned that alcohol
suppresses Oxytocin release, which can therefore suppresses milk ejection. Logically a lack of ejection will lead to fullness in the breast making what appears to be a supply increase. Accurate? Opinions?and whats that thing where women are re to drink some wine in early labor or some kind of ctx ... to stop them .. or what am i thinking of? would the alcohol stop ctx this way? But why castor oil and vodka to impatiently evict babies before their chosen birthday? In that situation you'd think they'd cancel each other.”
Here is what I found in researching:
I think I found it! It's only because I just added my resource of how Oxytocin
plays a role in pregnancy [I posted the other article below] and then I’ve found
small paths to take down the road of an answer.
This article talks about beers role in milk ejection and alcohol does inhibit it. It talks about
the History of women consuming beers, even in ancient Egypt, to produce more milk.
Also which beers now-a-days is lactogenic. I didn’t realize a mom couldn’t just
have a Corona and be good. Guiness is supposed to be the best, but skip the car
Looking further into why Vodka, OJ, and castor oil are recommended, I remembered what I just learned in my study group research. (I hope I’m not giving anything away) The uterus’ Estrogen levels rise to help bind to Oxytocin receptors, which increase towards the end of pregnancy. So I looked up how Vodka affects Estrogen levels. It turns out premenopausal women taking Estrogen supplements should not consume even the equivalent to a half glass of wine, since it caused her Estrogen levels to almost double and women drinking the equivalent to three glasses of wine, estrogen surged more than threefold. Alcoholic men also have been shown to have higher Estrogen levels. http://www.nytimes.com/specials/women/warchive/961204_810.html
Since Estrogen is raised when consuming wine, I wanted to see the effect of elevated Estrogen on nursing. I ran into lots of animal research. (I actually like animal
research more than human, because husbandry is a lifestyle and farmers have to get their science right in order to survive, unlike obstetrics. Plus animal’s life cycles are shorter and easier to study more quickly. They also don’t have the outside influences humans do when conducting controlled studies) I read an interesting article on dogs and the hormone level process. I’ll post later. The one I am posting now is about goats. They found an increase in Estrogen is beneficial in goats producing milk, BUT Progesterone has to be combined with it or the milk production isn’t sufficient.
Going further I looked into alcohol's affect on progesterone levels. In a study on premenopausal women they found when consuming alcohol the progesterone levels
drop. It’s also why some women have fertility issues. http://alcalc.oxfordjournals.org/content/35/5/417.full
I think consuming wine in labor is mostly for rest and not a stall of labor. The wine raises the blood sugar levels and then quickly drops causing moms to “crash”. Sleep can help to slow or halt contractions, but not always. Wine is usually recommended with a bath, which often does slow early labor.
I am cutting information out that pertains to sythetic oxytocin. (Drives me crazy that
sythetic oxytocin is often termed oxytocin and no sepreration of the two forms. It makes research harder)
Smooth-muscle cells in the uterus contain proteins that bind specifically to oxytocin; the
number of these oxytocin receptors increases during late pregnancy....large amounts of the hormone cause smooth muscles in the wall of the uterus to contract, which in turn initiates labour. Oxytocin’s effect on uterine smooth muscle is dependent on the presence
of estrogen, and for that reason oxytocin has little effect on the uterus during the early stages of pregnancy; near term....There are no known disorders associated with under- or overproduction of oxytocin.
The reasons for not hatting (adapted from Carla Harlty):
1.Hats can be very dangerous. They can cause moms to have postpartum hemorrhaging. As it turns out the experience of birth is what triggers the built in safety mechanisms. This is also true for third stage. Mom being able to smell her newborn’s head is the design for the reconnection of mother and baby (smell of baby to olfactory system to limbic system = initiation of “identification” biology) and release of Oxytocin signaling the uterus to release placenta and stop bleeding so necessary for mother’s health. The smell doesn't so much trigger Oxytocin as it is that the limbic system is waiting for that smell in order to tell the uterus it is ok to proceed to the next step; anything we do to inhibit that process is dangerous to the mamma.
2.In addition to hats interfering with bonding and safety of third stage, hatting restricts the unmoulding of the baby’s skull. Plus the head is extremely sensitive in those first hours.
3.The hats we use in the U.S. do nothing for maintenance of core temp according to the studies I have found, and in fact one study showed that a hat was detrimental to maintenance of core temp. Brain cooling may actually be good for all babies and not those who have potential brain damage. And studies show that skin to skin with mom is most effective way to stabilize core temperature and that in fact, her body will heat and cool as
needed for baby’s sake as it did when baby was inside. Even if separated from mom, a hat is NOT proven to stabilize core temp unless it is woolen these stockinette or cotton hats we use are useless if not dangerous throw them away.
Brilliant! We cannot improve on this design. Why do we keep trying?
I hope you learned. I sure did, when I first heard of this concept. It’s a part of
protecting moms and protecting babies.