Article

Association Between Maternal Mood and Oxytocin Response to Breastfeeding

1 Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine , Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Journal of Women's Health (Impact Factor: 2.05). 04/2013; 22(4):352-61. DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2012.3768
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Background:
Postpartum depression is associated with reduced breastfeeding duration. We previously hypothesized that shared neuroendocrine mechanisms underlie this association. We sought to measure the association between maternal mood and neuroendocrine response to breastfeeding.

Methods:
We conducted a longitudinal cohort study of women recruited during pregnancy who intended to breastfeed. Baseline depression and anxiety history were assessed with a structured clinical interview. We measured mood symptoms using validated psychometric instruments, and we quantified affect and neuroendocrine responses to breastfeeding during laboratory visits at 2 and 8 weeks postpartum.

Results:
We recruited 52 women who intended to breastfeed, among whom 47 completed 8-week follow-up. Duration and intensity of breastfeeding through 8 weeks were similar among mothers with lower versus higher anxiety and depression scores. In the third trimester, oxytocin was inversely correlated with Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) score (p=0.03). We did not find differences in neuroendocrine profile during breastfeeding at 2 weeks postpartum. Among the 39 women who breastfed at 8 weeks postpartum, oxytocin area under the curve during breastfeeding was inversely correlated with maternal EPDS and STAI-State and STAI-Trait anxiety scores (all p≤0.01). Higher anxiety and depression scores was further associated with lower oxytocin (group p<0.05) during feeding. During feeding at both visits, higher anxiety and depression scores were also associated with more negative affect: mothers reported feeling less happy and more depressed, overwhelmed, and stressed during feeding than women with lower scores.

Conclusion:
Symptoms of depression and anxiety were associated with differences in oxytocin response and affect during breastfeeding.

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    • "Youths' OT levels in both CSF and plasma were significantly negatively associated with the parents' ratings. Other investigative groups have also found significant negative correlations between anxiety symptoms and plasmaOT levels in different segments of the adult population including women with fibromyalgia(Anderberg and Uvnas-Moberg, 2000),clinically depressed men and women(Scantamburlo et al., 2007),and nursing mothers(Stuebe et al., 2013). Weisman et al. (2013) examined plasma OT levels in 473 non-clinical adults (41.5% males), and found that males showed a significant negative correlation between plasma OT levels and trait anxiety. "
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    • "In our study, maternal psychological well-being at enrollment was not associated with feeding at the breast during hospitalization or breastfeeding duration. Previous research found that high maternal anxiety, depressive symptoms, and distress after late preterm childbirth were associated with less at-breast feeding at hospital discharge (Zanardo et al., 2011); greater postpartum anxiety was associated with reduced breastfeeding duration (Paul, Downs, Schaefer, Beiler, & Weisman, 2013); and high maternal anxiety and depressive symptoms correlated with low oxytocin during breastfeeding and expressing sessions (Stuebe, Grewen, &Brody, 2013). Findings for mothers in this study may have differed because of the indirect effects of receiving confirmation of the infants' stability from the hospital staff before each occasion of KC or ATVV. "
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    • "In fact, human postmortem studies found increases in the number, size and mRNA expression of oxytocin neurons in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) between patients with a past diagnosis of depression compared to healthy controls (Meynen et al., 2007; Purba et al., 1996). Studies of oxytocin in PPD women found that women at risk for PPD (EDPS scores N 10) had lower plasma oxytocin concentration in their last trimester (Skrundz et al., 2011; Stuebe et al., 2013). However, administering oxytocin to women suffering from PPD resulted in lowered mood, albeit in a small sample study (Mah et al., 2013). "
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    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Hormones and Behavior
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