Skip to Content
Rush-Copley Medical Group
Home > Health & Fitness > Healthwise > 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.
Retrieving newsletters from the Web service...
Sorry, the newsletter Web service is unavailable at this time.
You have signed up for the selected newsletters.
© Copyright 2015 Rush-Copley Medical Center • 2000 Ogden Avenue; Aurora, IL 60504
Main: 630-978-6200 • Physician Referral & Information: 630-978-6700 or 866-4COPLEY (866-426-7539)