Navigation Links
Level of oxytocin in pregnant women predicts mother-child bond

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
Association for Psychological Science

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:
(Date:11/25/2015)... BROOK, Ill. (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 ... ... larger and potentially more aggressive than those found on mammography, according to a ... MRI findings of additional cancers not seen on mammography may necessitate a change ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 2015 , ... As part of a global movement to ... together who want to combine talents and resources to help create sustainable communities ... The non-profit launched its first major fundraiser on November 6, 2015 at Bent ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... The holiday season ... and pleasing the palates of attendees is of the utmost importance. Whether you ... seasonal get-together, give these recipes a try this holiday season. , Turkey Croquettes ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Finnleo, a leader in ... on several models of traditional and far-infrared saunas. , For traditional saunas, ... the most traditional Finnish sauna wood, and Finnleo uses only European Grade A Nordic ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... has been recognized once again for its stellar workplace culture with the company’s ... , Medical Solutions’ Cincinnati office was named a finalist in Cincinnati ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015 Allergan plc (NYSE: ... and Rugen Therapeutics, a start-up  biotechnology company focused ... CNS disorders and funded by the F-Prime Biomedical ... entered into an exclusive collaboration to support the ... Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Obsessive Compulsive disorders (OCD). ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 USP 800 applies to ... (e.g. pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, nurses, physicians, physician assistants, ... chapter also covers all entities which store, prepare, ... other healthcare institutions, patient treatment clinics, physicians, practice ... --> What is the purpose ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Asia -based venture ... and the New Investors will make a direct equity ... private placement. The financing will help IOPtima to continue ... in the treatment of glaucoma, as well as to ... system with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, commencing ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: