Natural birth triggers maternal bonds.
Expectant mothers have enough to worry about before giving birth: prenatal vitamins, home vs. hospital delivery, whether to become a stay-at-home mom or go back to work. Teen mothers have their own set of additional concerns, and now, it seems, so do mothers giving birth via Caesarean section.
Via Jezebel: a recent Yale University study found that mothers who gave birth naturally have higher levels of brain activity in areas that signal motivation and emotion than those who underwent a C-section.
While the study was small (12 women), the lead researcher said the results support the theory that C-section birth can alter a woman's hormonal response to giving birth, sometimes making it harder to connect with her newborn. The theory goes: contractions trigger the hormone oxytocin to release, which, in turn, triggers the thoughts or feelings of attachment. Fewer contractions, diminished attachment.
This news can't be music to the ears of mothers who've delivered via C-section or anticipate having to do so. Two notes that will help to ease concern. First, baby experts suggest that cuddling a baby against bare skin can spur on feelings of attachment between mother and child, regardless of the birthing process. Plus, the six women in the study who'd had C-sections had chosen to do so, which could mean the personalities of these women predisposed them to less-attached maternal feelings from the get-go.
Score another point for the power of hormones. Oxytocin not only bonds women to their babies, it helps us become attached to our partners and loved ones.