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Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1981 Jul;88(7):725-9.

Is oxytocin involved in parturition?


Peripheral plasma levels of oxytocin were determined in women during pregnancy and labour. There was a significant increase in maternal plasma oxytocin with advancing gestation but no significant change in levels at any stage of labour. Oxytocin concentrations in umbilical cord plasma were measured after spontaneous vaginal delivery and at elective caesarean section. A significant arteriovenous difference, with higher arterial levels, was found in both groups and the values after labour were significantly higher tha at elective caesarean section. These findings suggest that the fetus is able to produce oxytocin which may play a role in human parturition.

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