Oxytocin is the hormone which triggers your contractions and keeps them coming. Oxytocin is also known as the hormone of love. At the same time, your body produces another hormone, prostaglandin, which helps softening the neck of your womb (the cervix) to help it to open up (dilate) to allow your baby to come through to be born. This is how your body makes labour happen. Your body does also produce its own painkillers, endorphins, to help you cope with labour. Endorphins not only reduce the pain you are feeling, they also reduce stress and make you feel good.
Unfortunately, fear upsets the amazing and complex process of labour. Fear, makes your body release another hormone, adrenaline. Adrenaline slows down the production of oxytocin. When you are feeling tense, your contractions are less efficient and you will feel more pain. Tension makes labour longer and more painful.
Being relaxed and calm is the key to coping with labour!