Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Publication type: Article in scientific journal
Type of review: Peer review (publication)
Title: Maternal plasma levels of oxytocin during breastfeeding : a systematic review
Authors: Uvnäs Moberg, Kerstin
Ekström-Bergström, Anette
Buckley, Sarah
Massarotti, Claudia
Pajalic, Zada
Luegmair, Karolina
Kotlowska, Alicia
Lengler, Luise
Olza, Ibone
Grylka, Susanne
Leahy-Warren, Patricia
Hadjigeorgiu, Eleni
Villarmea, Stella
Dencker, Anna
et. al: No
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0235806
Published in: PLOS ONE
Volume(Issue): 15
Issue: 8
Page(s): e0235806
Issue Date: 5-Aug-2020
Publisher / Ed. Institution: Public Library of Science
ISSN: 1932-6203
Language: English
Subjects: Breastfeeding; Oxytocin
Subject (DDC): 618: Gynecology, obstetrics and midwifery
Abstract: Introduction: Oxytocin is a key hormone in breastfeeding. No recent review on plasma levels of oxytocin in response to breastfeeding is available. Materials and methods: Systematic literature searches on breastfeeding induced oxytocin levels were conducted 2017 and 2019 in PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL, and PsycINFO. Data on oxytocin linked effects and effects of medical interventions were included if available. Results: We found 29 articles that met the inclusion criteria. All studies had an exploratory design and included 601 women. Data were extracted from the articles and summarised in tables. Breastfeeding induced an immediate and short lasting (20 minutes) release of oxytocin. The release was pulsatile early postpartum (5 pulses/10 minutes) and coalesced into a more protracted rise as lactation proceeded. Oxytocin levels were higher in multiparous versus primiparous women. The number of oxytocin pulses during early breastfeeding was associated with greater milk yield and longer duration of lactation and was reduced by stress. Breastfeeding-induced oxytocin release was associated with elevated prolactin levels; lowered ACTH and cortisol (stress hormones) and somatostatin (a gastrointestinal hormone) levels; enhanced sociability; and reduced anxiety, suggesting that oxytocin induces physiological and psychological adaptations in the mother. Mechanical breast pumping, but not bottle-feeding was associated with oxytocin and prolactin release and decreased stress levels. Emergency caesarean section reduced oxytocin and prolactin release in response to breastfeeding and also maternal mental adaptations. Epidural analgesia reduced prolactin and mental adaptation, whereas infusions of synthetic oxytocin increased prolactin and mental adaptation. Oxytocin infusion also restored negative effects induced by caesarean section and epidural analgesia. Conclusions: Oxytocin is released in response to breastfeeding to cause milk ejection, and to induce physiological changes to promote milk production and psychological adaptations to facilitate motherhood. Stress and medical interventions during birth may influence these effects and thereby adversely affect the initiation of breastfeeding.
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): CC BY 4.0: Attribution 4.0 International
Departement: School of Health Sciences
Organisational Unit: Institute of Midwifery and Reproductive Health (IHG)
Appears in collections:Publikationen Gesundheit

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
2020_Grylka_etal_Oxytocin-during-brestfeeding_PLOS-ONE.pdf1.28 MBAdobe PDFThumbnail
Show full item record
Uvnäs Moberg, K., Ekström-Bergström, A., Buckley, S., Massarotti, C., Pajalic, Z., Luegmair, K., Kotlowska, A., Lengler, L., Olza, I., Grylka, S., Leahy-Warren, P., Hadjigeorgiu, E., Villarmea, S., & Dencker, A. (2020). Maternal plasma levels of oxytocin during breastfeeding : a systematic review. Plos One, 15(8), e0235806.
Uvnäs Moberg, K. et al. (2020) ‘Maternal plasma levels of oxytocin during breastfeeding : a systematic review’, PLOS ONE, 15(8), p. e0235806. Available at:
K. Uvnäs Moberg et al., “Maternal plasma levels of oxytocin during breastfeeding : a systematic review,” PLOS ONE, vol. 15, no. 8, p. e0235806, Aug. 2020, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0235806.
UVNÄS MOBERG, Kerstin, Anette EKSTRÖM-BERGSTRÖM, Sarah BUCKLEY, Claudia MASSAROTTI, Zada PAJALIC, Karolina LUEGMAIR, Alicia KOTLOWSKA, Luise LENGLER, Ibone OLZA, Susanne GRYLKA, Patricia LEAHY-WARREN, Eleni HADJIGEORGIU, Stella VILLARMEA und Anna DENCKER, 2020. Maternal plasma levels of oxytocin during breastfeeding : a systematic review. PLOS ONE. 5 August 2020. Bd. 15, Nr. 8, S. e0235806. DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0235806
Uvnäs Moberg, Kerstin, Anette Ekström-Bergström, Sarah Buckley, Claudia Massarotti, Zada Pajalic, Karolina Luegmair, Alicia Kotlowska, et al. 2020. “Maternal Plasma Levels of Oxytocin during Breastfeeding : A Systematic Review.” Plos One 15 (8): e0235806.
Uvnäs Moberg, Kerstin, et al. “Maternal Plasma Levels of Oxytocin during Breastfeeding : A Systematic Review.” Plos One, vol. 15, no. 8, Aug. 2020, p. e0235806,

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.