Skip to content

What is Oxytocin?

Oxytocin is a peptide hormone, released during childbirth and lactation. In females, it is mainly involved in stimulating the growth of prostaglandins, increasing the contractions of the muscles of the uterus, reducing the excess blood flow post-childbirth, promotes milk movement into the mammary glands. In males, It helps in the production of testosterone and aids in the movement of sperm. It also plays a role in social behavior and various aspects around it.

Effects Of Oxytocin

It can have adverse side effects. Such as:

  • Higher levels of oxytocin have been related to Benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • Lack of oxytocin can prevent breastfeeding by milk-ejection reflex
  • Having low levels is also been linked to autistic disorders. It also leads to depressive symptoms
  • Fetal heart rate deceleration, pulmonary edema, and uterine hyperstimulation are other conditions caused due to oxytocin
  • Vomiting, nausea, jaundice, neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, and sinus bradycardia are also caused due to abnormal oxytocin levels
  • It imbalance in the body causes seizures in the neurons

Functions Of Oxytocin

  • Affects gland growth.
  • Acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain.
  • Stimulates contractility of the epididymis, prostate gland, and seminiferous tubules.
  • It plays a role in maternal and sexual behavior, memory-related, yawning, feeding, thermoregulation, and cardiovascular regulation.
  • Stimulates uterine muscle contractions. During childbirth, the fetal-ejection reflex produces oxytocin, which causes contractions of muscles of the uterus.

What is Lactation?

Lactation is the process of milk secretion from the mammary glands of a mother soon after childbirth. The milk, thus produced provides nutrition and immunity to the young one. Galactopoiesis is the stage that maintains milk production and requires prolactin and oxytocin.

Lactation Process

  1. Due to the impact of ovarian hormones and placental hormones, breast growth begins during the period of pregnancy and continues to get larger after childbirth.
  2. During this period, a certain amount of milk is produced in the breast.
  3. The milk secretion increases only after the baby’s birth.
  4. During the process of lactation, the milk is secreted from the mammary glands.