Oxytocin during pregnancy and early postpartum: Individual patterns and maternal-fetal attachment

Ari Levine, Orna Zagoory-Sharon, Ruth Feldman, Aron Weller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

237 Scopus citations

Abstract

Oxytocin (OT), a nanopeptide hormone, plays a role in the emergence of maternal behavior, yet few studies examined OT in humans across pregnancy and the postpartum. We followed healthy women at three points: first trimester of pregnancy, third trimester, and first postpartum month. Plasma OT levels showed high individual stability. A third of the sample showed consistent OT levels, whereas others showed increasing or decreasing trends or peak in late pregnancy. The increase in OT from early to late pregnancy correlated with higher maternal-fetal bonding. These data may help set standards for OT levels and underscore links with maternal-infant attachment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1162-1169
Number of pages8
JournalPeptides
Volume28
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was performed as part of a PhD dissertation (AL) in the Brain Sciences program, Bar-Ilan University. Orna Zagoory-Sharon was supported by the Gonda Brain Research Center. Research in Aron Weller's laboratory was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (02/771) and the US-Israel Bi-National Science Foundation (2001-198). Research in Ruth Feldman's laboratory was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (01/945), the US-Israel Bi-National Science Foundation, and the March of Dimes Foundation (#12-FY04-50).

Keywords

  • Enzyme immuno-assay (EIA)
  • Longitudinal
  • Maternal-fetal attachment scale
  • Oxytocin
  • Perinatal
  • Pregnancy

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