Postpartum maternal oxytocin release by newborns: Effects of infant hand massage and sucking

Stockholm University, Tukholma, Stockholm, Sweden
Birth (Impact Factor: 2.05). 04/2001; 28(1):13-9. DOI: 10.1046/j.1523-536x.2001.00013.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Newborns placed skin-to-skin with their mothers show an inborn sequence of behavior similar to that seen in other mammals. The purpose of this study was to make a detailed exploration of hand movements and sucking behavior in healthy term newborns who were placed skin-to-skin on their mothers' chests, and to study maternal oxytocin release in relation to these behaviors.
Ten vaginally delivered infants whose mothers had not been exposed to maternal analgesia were video-recorded from birth until the first breastfeeding. Video protocols were developed based on observations of the videotapes. Each infant's hand, finger, mouth, and tongue movements, positions of the hand and body, and sucking behavior were assessed every 30 seconds. Maternal blood samples were collected every 15 minutes, and oxytocin levels were analyzed by radioimmunoassay. A statistical test for establishing the relationship between maternal oxytocin levels and infants' hand movements or sucking behavior was developed.
Infants used their hands to explore and stimulate their mother's breast in preparation for the first breastfeeding. A coordinated pattern of infant hand and sucking movements was also identified. When the infants were sucking, the massagelike hand movements stopped and started again when the infants made a sucking pause. Periods of increased massagelike hand movements or sucking of the mother's breast were followed by an increase in maternal oxytocin levels (p < 0.005).
The findings indicate that the newborns use their hands as well as their mouths to stimulate maternal oxytocin release after birth, which may have significance for uterine contraction, milk ejection, and mother-infant interaction.

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    • "The benefits of skin-to-skin contact for the mother include an increase in the level of oxytocin in response to the massage-like movements that the infant makes on the breast during presuckling . These movements may prepare the mother to provide milk, and are also a means for attachment with the newborn infant (Matthiesen et al., 2001). It has been suggested that increased levels of oxytocin may strengthen the mother's instinct to protect and care for her infant (Moore et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective To explore midwives’ experiences and perceptions of skin-to-skin contact between mothers and their healthy full-term infants immediately and during the first day after caesarean section. Design Qualitative interviews with semi-structured questions. Setting and participants Eight midwives at three different hospitals in Stockholm participated in the study. All participants provided care for mothers and their newborn infants after caesarean birth. Analysis Transcribed material was analysed and interpreted using qualitative content analysis. The analysis yielded the theme ‘fighting an uphill battle’. Findings Skin-to-skin contact was considered to be important, and something that midwives strove to implement as a natural element of postnatal care. However, in daily practice, midwives experienced many obstacles to such care, such as lack of knowledge among parents and other professionals about the benefits of skin-to-skin contact, the mother's condition after the caesarean section, and other organisational difficulties (e.g. collaboration with other professionals, lack of time). Introducing more skin-to-skin care was a challenge for the midwives, who sometimes felt both dismissed and disappointed when they tried to communicate the benefits of this type of care. Conclusion Skin-to-skin contact is not prioritised because many health-care practitioners are unaware of its positive effects, and their care reflects this lack of knowledge. There is a need for education among all health-care practitioners involved in caesarean procedures. Another difficulty is that many parents are unaware of the benefits of skin-to-skin contact. Maternity outpatient clinics need to inform parents about the benefits of such care, so mothers will understand the importance of skin-to-skin contact.
    Midwifery 09/2014; 31(1). DOI:10.1016/j.midw.2014.08.014 · 1.71 Impact Factor
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    • "We introduce a measure of prefeeding organization that is driven by findings in the literature and applicable to full term infants soon after birth [7,9,10,21–26]. Prefeeding behavior soon after birth is based on the neurobehavioral, goal-directed task of the infant to seek, find, and begin sucking on the mother's nipple by approximately one hour after birth [24] [25]. In our study, in lieu of having access to their mother's nipple, hand to mouth sucking was considered the most organized behavior an infant could achieve for self-comfort and behavioral regulation. "
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Prefeeding cues are oral-motor neurobehaviors that communicate feeding readiness, and the ability to self-comfort and regulate behavioral state. Intrapartum and newborn procedures have been associated with altered frequency and emergence of prefeeding cues soon after birth. Intrapartum synthetic oxytocin is commonly used for labor induction/augmentation in the US, yet there is little research on potential effects on infant neurobehavioral cues. AIMS: To explore whether fetal exposure to synthetic oxytocin was associated with the infant's level of prefeeding organization shortly after birth. STUDY DESIGN: Cohort. SUBJECTS: A convenience sample of 47 healthy full-term infants (36 exposed and 11 unexposed to intrapartum synthetic oxytocin) was studied. EXCLUSION CRITERIA: Fetal distress, vacuum/forceps, cesarean, and low Apgar. OUTCOME MEASURES: Videotapes of infants (45-50min postbirth) were coded for frequency of eight prefeeding cues, and analyzed by level of prefeeding organization. RESULTS: In general, fewer prefeeding cues were observed in infants exposed versus unexposed to synOT and differences were significant for brief and sustained hand to mouth cues [incidence rate ratio (95% CI)=0.6 (0.4, 0.9) and 0.5 (0.2, 0.9), respectively]. Forty-four percent of exposed infants demonstrated a low level of prefeeding organization, compared to 0% from the unexposed group. In contrast, 25% of exposed versus 64% of unexposed infants demonstrated high prefeeding organization. After adjusting for covariates, exposed infants were at 11.5 times (95% CI=1.8-73.3) the odds of demonstrating low/medium versus high levels of prefeeding organization compared to unexposed infants. CONCLUSIONS: Newborn neurobehavioral cues may be sensitive to intrapartum synthetic oxytocin.
    Early human development 10/2012; 89(3). DOI:10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2012.09.017 · 1.93 Impact Factor
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    • "In addition, mothers who are breastfeeding or having skin-to-skin contact with their infants display increased oxytocin levels (Nissen et al. 1996; Matthiesen et al. 2001; Jonas et al. 2009) and decreased cortisol levels and blood pressure (Liu et al. 1997; Jonas et al. 2008a; Handlin et al. 2009). They also become less anxious, calmer, and more inclined to social interactions (Uvnäs-Moberg 1996; Nissen et al. 1998; Jonas et al. 2008b). "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to explore possible correlations between dog owners' relationships with their dogs, as measured with the Monash Dog Owner Relationship Scale (MDORS), and oxytocin and cortisol levels in both the owners and their dogs. Ten female owners of male Labrador Retrievers completed the MDORS. The scores obtained from the single items, subscales, and total score of the MDORS were calculated. Ten blood sam-ples were collected from each dog owner and her dog during a 60-minute interaction. Blood samples were analyzed for oxytocin and cortisol by Enzyme Immuno Assay (EIA) and mean values of oxytocin and cortisol were calcu-lated in both owners and dogs. The MDORS scores obtained were correlated with basal and mean oxytocin and cortisol levels. The correlation analysis revealed some relationships between the scores of items in the MDORS that reflect the character of the dog–owner-relationship and the owners' hormone levels. For example, higher oxytocin levels in the owners were associated with greater frequency in kissing their dogs (r s = 0.864, p = 0.001). Lower cortisol levels in the owners were associated with their perception that it will be more traumatic when their dog dies (r s = –0.730, p = 0.025). The correlation analy-sis also revealed some relationships between the scores of items in the MDORS and the dogs' hormone levels. For example, greater frequency in owners kissing their dogs was associated with higher oxytocin levels in the dogs (r s = 0.753, p = 0.029). Six items in the subscale Perceived Costs, as well as the subscale itself, correlated significantly with the dogs' oxytocin levels (r s = 0.820, p = 0.007), that is, the lower the perceived cost, the higher the 215 Anthrozoös AZ VOL. 25(2).qxp:Layout 1 3/30/12 10:15 AM Page 215 dogs' oxytocin levels. In addition, significant correlations between the oxytocin levels of the owners and the dogs were demonstrated. Possible mechanisms behind these correlations are discussed. In conclusion, the scores of some items and the subscales of the MDORS correlated with oxytocin, and to a lesser extent cortisol, levels in both the owners and dogs.
    Anthrozoos A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals 06/2012; 25(2):215–228. DOI:10.2752/175303712X13316289505468 · 0.67 Impact Factor
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