Navigation Links
Level of oxytocin in pregnant women predicts mother-child bond
Date:10/15/2007

Humans are hard-wired to form enduring bonds with others. One of the primary bonds across the mammalian species is the mother-infant bond. Evolutionarily speaking, it is in a mothers best interest to foster the well-being of her child; however, some mothers just seem a bit more maternal than others do. Now, new research points to a hormone that predicts the level of bonding between mother and child.

In animals, oxytocin, dubbed the hormone of love and bonding, is critically important for the development of parenting, is elicited during sexual intercourse, and is involved in maintaining close relationships. Animals with no oxytocin exhibit slower pup retrieval and less licking and self-grooming. These findings implicate oxytocin in the bonding process, but little research has been done on this relationship in humans.

Ruth Feldman, psychology professor at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, conducted the first study to demonstrate the links between oxytocin and bonding in human mothers. Feldman and colleagues measured plasma oxytocin from sixty-two pregnant women during their first trimester, third trimester, and the first postpartum month.

They also observed the mother and child interact, defining the level of attachment along four aspects: gaze, affect, touch, and vocalization. Stronger attachment would mean that the mother focused her gaze mostly on the child, exhibited a positive energy towards the child, maintained constant affectionate and stimulating touch with the child, used a motherese speech with the child, and these species-typical maternal behaviors were adapted to the infant's alert state.

After the mothers completed an extensive survey and an interview on their bond-related thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, the researchers computed the link between levels of oxytocin and bonding.

The results are fascinating. Initial levels of oxytocin at the first trimester predicted bonding behavior. Therefore, mothers with a high level of the hormone at the beginning of the pregnancy engaged in more of the aforementioned bonding behaviors after birth.

Additionally, mothers who had higher levels of oxytocin across the pregnancy and the postpartum month also reported more behaviors that support the formation of an exclusive relationship (i.e. singing a special song to the infant, or bathing and feeding them in a special way). These mothers were also more preoccupied by thoughts of checking on the infant, the infants safety when they are not around, and the infants future.

This study, which appears in the November issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that women with higher levels of oxytocin during their first trimester are primed to the formation of an exclusive bond with their infants. Oxytocin seems to be preparing mothers to engage in bonding behaviors. The findings also show that oxytocin is related to the mental, as well as the behavioral, aspect of bonding. More generally, this study confirms that there is a cross-species continuity in mechanisms that underlie species-specific expressions of bonding.


'/>"/>

Contact: Catherine West
cwest@psychologicalscience.org
202-783-2077
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Virus Level could Predict Cervical Cancer Risk
2. Lead levels in disturbed soil post-Katrina unsafe
3. Pump up the Thiamine levels after gastric surgery
4. FDA recommends new Lead level in candies
5. Low testosterone levels lead to eating disorders
6. Genetics and cholesterol levels
7. Decrease in testosterone levels lead to Alzheimers
8. Levels Of Blood Proteins May Help Heart Disease Care
9. Breast cancer risk doubles by high sex hormone levels
10. Elevated Ozone Levels Hurt Sperm Count
11. Elevating Manganese Levels hold back HIV
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Clinical Decision Making in Emergency Medicine conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The ... published in Emergency Medicine Practice and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Venture Construction ... Classic Tournament held on June 20th at the Woodmont Country Club at 1201 ... Wings, an organization dedicated to helping service members that have been wounded in battle ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Southern Illinois University School of Dental ... Illinois State Dental Society (ISDS) Foundation’s Mission of Mercy (MOM). They will host ... Collinsville. , They expect to treat approximately 2,000 patients from Illinois, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... An article published June ... link between head and neck cancer in individuals with unhealthy oral hygiene habits. The ... based on whether they had gum disease, brushed their teeth on a daily basis, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... ... Representatives of CHA Fertility Centers (CFC), one of the largest fertility treatment ... Berger. As of May 2016, Dr. Berger will serve as the Medical Director ... recognition for his research, his teaching and his patient care. After 15 years in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Research ... Pharma News Issue 52" report to their offering. ... in influenza treatment creates a favourable commercial environment for MedImmune ... growing patient base that will serve to drive considerable growth ... vaccine would serve to cap sales considerably, but development is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Ill. and INDIANAPOLIS , ... students receiving a Lilly Diabetes Tomorrow,s Leaders Scholarship is ... 2016 scholarship winners, announced today online at www.diabetesscholars.org ... let type 1 diabetes stand in the way of ... has supported the Foundation,s scholarship program since 2012, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  Guerbet announced today that it has ... Horizon Award . One of 12 suppliers ... for its support of Premier members through exceptional local ... and commitment to lower costs. ... of our outstanding customer service from Premier," says ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: