The ejection reflex

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“Just before a fetus ejection reflex, mothers lose their inhibitions completely and may behave in emotionally explosive ways. Medical birth attendants usually wish to interfere verbally at this point instead of calmly refraining from comment. The fetus ejection reflex is rarely seen in hospitals or by midwives and doctors. It is disturbed by vaginal examinations, fundal pressure, masculinization of the birth environment, electronic monitoring equipment, cameras, even eye contact. I am fortunate, as a homebirth midwife, to have witnessed many instances of fetus ejection reflex, and have learnt from them to be less intrusive and more confident in the physiological design for birth. It may be possible to witness the fetus ejection reflex in a hospital setting if it can be adjusted so that the lights are dim, it is quiet and peaceful, the midwife/doctor does not speak or comment or interfere in any way. A reassuring motherly figure who is quietly and unobtrusively present and only assists when and if needed, is the best kind of birth attendant. The fetus ejection reflex is not a 2nd stage of labour and is usually preceded by a pause where the mother may stop contractions and sleep for several hours or a mother may doze between contractions. The vertex is usually positioned for some time just behind the perineal tissue prior to a fetus ejection reflex. When a mother is breathing deeply inbetween contractions and is resting and calm, babies keep their tone and do just fine. The onset of a fetus ejection reflex may seem sudden and the baby is born after three to four expulsive efforts.

Usually there is a pause of about 2-3 minutes between the birth and the time a mother is ready and able to turn towards her baby. Adrenalin concentrations in her bloodstream diminish suddenly after the birth, making room for a huge bolus release of oxytocin followed later by prolactin release. The mother has given birth and they engage actively with each other IF there is no disturbance. Fetus ejection reflex precedes possibly the most transcendent moments in a woman’s life, the knowledge of herself and her part in creation of another life, the deep rooted discovery that she herself has transcended her fear and can become the roaring lioness that will protect and care for her new baby. New babies require full time devotion. A new mother needs all the love hormones she can generate and likewise her baby. Think of how we could influence the future: one in which humans are adepts at releasing a cocktail of love hormones that facilitate attachment, interaction and co-operation between people and nations. ”


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