Why you should consider birthing in the dark…

Why you should consider birthing in the dark…

I’m back again to talk about hormones!

I know you have heard me banging on about oxytocin till the cows come so I’m starting with something less obvious but equally pivotal when it comes to birth.


Time for a curveball


Let’s talk about cats (stay with me). Have you ever had a cat that’s had kittens and noticed their behaviour??


When a cat (or any other female mammal) is ready to meet her babies, she retreats to somewhere







Somewhere like the airing cupboard or under the bed does the job.


But why is that? It’s partly to do with a hormone called melatonin.


Melatonin levels ebb and flow around the day/night cycle. But, scientists have known for some time, that as a woman approaches the end of her pregnancy, the melatonin levels at night, become higher and higher.


Melatonin acts in synergy with oxytocin to promote smooth contractions, think of it as an oxytocin wingwoman!

It’s probably the reason why many labours start at night.

Which makes sense when you think about the logic, if I was instinctively trying to protect my baby from predators then birthing when everyone else is sleeping is a pretty good time to do it!


And guess what? We are not that different to our feline sisters.


Consider this hormone when thinking about creating your ideal birthing environment.


If you are birthing at home then it’s easy, dim the lights, draw the curtains, get some candles on! If you are birthing at a birthing centre then consider taking some battery tea-lights or fairy lights and if it’s a hospital birth, investigate the facilities. If it looks like bright lights all the way then think about an eye mask. Melatonin receptors are in the eyes so that’s a quick win wherever you birth.  


In fact, In my Walthamstow Hypnobirthing class, an eye mask is one of the things I always suggest to pop in the birthing bag. It’s great for the car or taxi journey to your birthplace too!


So when it comes to birth, think like a cat and birth in the dark!

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