Oxytocin During Labor – Everything You Need To Know

4 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Have you ever known of a new research that focuses on a hormone that predicts the degree of bonding between the mother and the child? Indeed, there is such a hormone – Oxytocin. Oxytocin is a Nano peptide hormone that plays a vital part in all the aspects of motherhood, and even of our social and romantic interaction. Continue reading to know what is oxytocin and what is its role in labor and delivery.
oxtocin in labor

What Is Oxytocin?

Oxytocin is a hormone produced by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland. It is also called the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone” since it is released when individuals cuddle up or bond socially. Oxytocin is a vital hormone for women. It is closely associated with uterine contraction during labor. The oxytocin levels in the body increases with progressing contractions. Uterine contractions will not be sufficient if the production of oxytocin in the body is less. In such cases, the doctor may recommend oxytocin in synthetic for through intravenous. However he will start will low dose. It is also administered intravenously to women who undergo post birth bleeding. So it is necessary that oxytocin is taken under proper medical supervision.

Role Of Oxytocin In Conception And Pregnancy

As mentioned earlier, oxytocin is known to play a key role in a woman’s social and romantic relations by providing her with a sense of calm by decreasing stress and anxiety, which in turn develops confidence and helps in bonding. So it is not unexpected that oxytocin is directly involved with falling in love and getting pregnant. Oxytocin can impact things like:

  • Enhances intimacy between partners
  • Increases the probability that they will form a bond that will help strengthen their relations, so they can take care of their children
  • During intercourse, oxytocin helps with arousal and enables sperm and egg transport
  • During pregnancy, oxytocin is present in larger quantities, which helps the pregnant woman to remain relaxed, absorb more nutrition and have a good sleep, which helps with her energy levels
Role Of Oxytocin During Labor

The hormone oxytocin has a vital role in labor. Oxytocin is released in large quantity during the labor. The cervix must dilate (open) to around 10cm for the baby to pass through. Oxytocin goes hand in hand with other hormones like relaxin to stimulate the ripening of the cervix leading to its progressive dilation during labor. This spike of oxytocin in the blood also intensifies the uterine contractions. It is the uterine contractions open the cervix and permit the baby to pass through the birth canal. Oxytocin increases as labor progresses, peaking during the actual birth of your baby. Doctors have been utilizing synthetic oxytocin, which is also known by its brand name Pitocin, for inducing or augmenting the labor from a long time. The higher level of oxytocin likewise diminishes the sensation of pain during labor.
oxytocin suring pregnancy

What Can Diminish Oxytocin Levels In Labor?

Due to emotional connection, if the pregnant woman experiences any kind of fear, worry, stress, discomfort, or doubt during labor, then it can negatively affect oxytocin production. Sometimes the feeling of being watched can also hamper oxytocin release. The use of synthetic oxytocin (Pitocin which helps to stimulate contractions and is used to induce labor can also slow down body’s ability to produce oxytocin.

Side Effects Of Oxytocin To Induce Labor

Here are some of the side effects of taking synthetic oxytocin in labor:

Is Oxytocin Suitable For All Pregnant Woman?

All pregnant women cannot be administered synthetic oxytocin even if their natural oxytocin levels are low. Your doctor will have a look into the medical history and health of the pregnant woman before deciding on administering oxytocin. Synthetic oxytocin is not prescribed if:

  • The pregnant woman is above 35 years
  • If she has kidney, heart or liver aliments
  • If the pregnant woman has a history of allergic reactions to it
  • Problems during pregnancy signifying natural birth risks
  • Previous delivery through caesarean section
Some Precautions While Taking Oxytocin During Labor

It is very important for the pregnant woman to take necessary precautions when taking synthetic oxytocin. Following care must be taken when using oxytocin for inducing labor:

  • As they say every pregnancy is different so even the dosage of oxytocin will vary with each pregnant woman. The oxytocin dose for inducing labor and for stopping post labor bleeding will also differ from one pregnant woman to another
  • Oxytocin should not be used other than for induction of labor and stopping post labor bleeding
  • If using oxytocin causes contractions that occur closely or are uncontrollable without pain medicine then the doctor may discontinue the use of oxytocin
  • Stop the usage of oxytocin instantly if there is any distress to the baby or any kind of hyperactivity in the uterus
  • Some over the counter medicines may inhibit with the use of oxytocin. So make sure to tell the doctor about any medications before taking synthetic oxytocin
  • Oxytocin is not only helpful during labor but it also helps to easily detach the placenta from the uterus. It helps to take care of the emotional well-being of new mothers and helps to prepare for motherhood

Were you given synthetic oxytocin during Labor? Do share your experience of using synthetic oxytocin in the comments section below.

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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