Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing

September 2019
Maternal Health


By routinely intervening in labor and delivery in ways that interfere with innate biological processes, the country’s maternity care system is missing opportunities to provide better care and use resources more wisely.

That is the conclusion of a major report, Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing: Evidence and Implications for Women, Babies, and Maternity Care. The unprecedented synthesis of scientific research on how hormone systems function from late pregnancy through the early postpartum period concludes that commonly used maternity interventions — such as labor induction, epidural analgesia and cesarean section — can disturb hormonal processes and interfere with the benefits they offer.

Report and Findings

Fact Sheets

Additional Resources

  • Booklet for Women: “Pathway to a Healthy Birth” (English | Español)
  • Infographic for Women: Pathway to a Healthy Birth (poster | digital)
  • Infographic for Clinicians: Pathway to a Healthy Birth (poster | digital)