Mer intressant om Oxytocin.

“Researchers have uncovered a link between oxytocin and postpartum depression. Why is this significant? It is significant because the way you choose to birth your baby, can – and does affect – your levels of oxytocin.

What is oxytocin?

Oxytocin is a hormone best known for its role in labor and lactation, it is actually found in both male and female mammals.

Oxytocin is released into the bloodstream as a result of increased uterine, cervical, and vaginal stimulation during childbirth. It then serves to promote contractions of the smooth muscle tissue of the uterus during and after labor, promoting a more rapid childbirth.

Artificial oxytocin – pitocin/syntocinon – given to induce and/or augment labor does cause contractions and yet it does not function in the body the way our natural oxytocin does. Artificial oxytocin does not promote feelings of well being nor does it promote bonding or breastfeeding. As a matter of fact, it impedes these processes.

After childbirth, oxytocin continues to promote contractions of the uterus, helping to prevent hemorrhaging as well as helping to return the uterus to its pre-birth state.

In response to the sight, sound, or suckling of her newborn, a mother will release the hormone. At this point, oxytocin causes the contraction of the muscles surrounding the alveoli and milk ducts, which in turns helps expel the milk.

Now a link has been discovered between the levels of oxytocin and postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is said to affect 1 in 5 women and seems to be on the increase.

Low levels of oxytocin seem to be a good predictor of postpartum depression. Natural oxytocin is affected by labor drugs such as pitocin, epidural drugs and others.

This is significant when you understand the way naturally oxytocin occurs in the body and its impacts on the human brain.

Oxytocin is produced in the pituitary gland of the brain. In the brain, oxytocin affects:

Bonding and attachment
Promotes maternal behaviors
Sexual arousal and orgasm
Feelings of connection, love, and empathy
In short, oxytocin’s first effect is in the brain, and thereafter its secondary effects are in organs with oxytocin receptors namely the uterus, the breasts, etc.

Naturally occurring oxytocin once it leaves the brain never re-enters it. Synthetic oxytocin never enters the brain AND affects natural oxytocin’s production negatively.

During labor, oxytocin is released in bursts. It peaks right as the baby’s head descends for birth and it is the highest right after birth and for about one hour thereafter.

As we already mentioned above, artificial oxytocin – Pitocin/syntocinon – completely bypasses the mother’s brain. Its only effect on her body is to increase her uterine contractions while decreasing naturally occurring oxytocin’s production and in turn its beneficial effect on her brain.

A drip of synthetic oxytocin (syntocinon or pitocin) is a substitute for the natural pituitary oxytocin a woman is supposed to release when giving birth. It can be used for labour induction, or to make uterine contractions more effective during a labour that started spontaneously. The need for synthetic oxytocin is a symptom of an inappropriate hormonal balance. It is therefore dependent on environmental factors. It is related to the degree of privacy and the feeling of safety. The need for synthetic oxytocin is usually associated with a need for epidural in the context of modern departments of obstetrics.

The long-term consequences of being born after a labour induced or augmented by synthetic oxytocin cannot be easily evaluated among humans, since randomized controlled studies are not feasible.

There are basic differences between the effects of an intravenous injection of oxytocin and the effects of the same hormone released by the pituitary gland. The first difference is that injected oxytocin does not cross the blood-brain barrier and does not reach the brain receptors: it has no behavioural effects. In other words it is not a hormone of love. The second difference is that the natural hormone must be released by pulsations in order to be effective. Intravenous injection is continuous; this is a way to explain why the doses of synthetic oxytocin must be comparatively high to be effective.

Dr. Michel Odent

So in conclusion:

Oxytocin is a very important hormone for feelings of love and well being.
Women who suffer from postpartum depression have low levels of oxytocin.
Pitocin/Syntocinon and/or epidural medications interfere with the release of natural oxytocin.”

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