Induction Medications Can Decrease Successful Breastfeeding

Synthetic oxytocin is commonly given to women to begin labour, enhance uterine contractions and/or to speed up the birth process. In 2017, K Cadwell, et. al, observed several negative effects of its use on breast feeding. Synthetic oxytocin decreases natural oxytocin in both mothers and babies. Natural oxytocin is a euphoric, feel-good hormone of love and is connected to healthy breast feeding. Women who received synthetic oxytocin had lower natural oxytocin levels two days after birth and even two and three months later.

Adding to the complications it was found that women given synthetic oxytocin during labour compared to mothers who had not received the medication had more than 30% increased relative risk of depressive and anxiety disorders in the first year after birth.

The researchers, K Kadwell and K Brimdyr, offer several possible physiological explanations. If you are interested, have a look at the article below:

Cadwell, K, & Brimdyr, K, (2017). Intrapartum Administration of Synthetic Oxytocin and Downstream Effects on Breastfeeding: Elucidating Physiologic Pathways, Annals of Nursing Research and Practice, Vol. 2, Iss. 3.

Back to posts