Home > Health & Wellness > Health Library > Oxytocin
Oxytocin is a hormone released from the pituitary gland in the brain.
During pregnancy, oxytocin causes labor contractions to begin. Oxytocin also is
released when a woman's breasts are stimulated by suckling or pumping, causing
milk to move from the ducts and out the tiny holes in the nipple (let-down
reflex). In the first few days after delivery, oxytocin also causes uterine
contractions that help shrink the uterus back to its prepregnancy size.
breast-feeding is established, your body may release
oxytocin when you hear a baby cry, think of your baby, or have sexual
intercourse. When this occurs, your breasts may leak milk whether or not you
are actively breast-feeding or pumping.
Your body may not release oxytocin when you are anxious, embarrassed,
or distracted. You may need to breast-feed in a relaxing, quiet, familiar,
private place for let-down to occur.
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Call First Nurse 24 Hours a Day for free health care advice, resources and referrals!
Ames: 515-239-6877In Iowa: 800-524-6877
Search health information online in our Mulimedia Health Library.
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Patient Privacy |
Net Learning for Employees |
MGMC PACS for Physicians
1111 Duff Avenue Ames, IA 50010 - 515-239-2011 - firstname.lastname@example.org
©2014 Mary Greeley Medical Center - All rights reserved.