Knowledge of the hormonal physiology of childbearing is foundational for all who care for childbearing women and newborns. When promoted, supported, and protected, innate, hormonally driven processes optimize labor and birth, maternal and newborn transitions, breastfeeding, and mother-infant attachment. Many common perinatal interventions can interfere with or limit hormonal processes and have other unintended effects. Such interventions should only be used when clearly indicated. High-quality care incorporates salutogenic nursing practices that support physiologic processes and maternal-newborn health.
Keywords: beta-endorphins; hormonal physiology; maternal–newborn safety; onset of labor; oxytocin; perinatal interventions; precautionary principle; prolactin; stress hormones.
Copyright © 2016 AWHONN, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.