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  • 1.
    Beetz, Andrea
    et al.
    Univ Rostock, Dept Special Educ, D-18055 Rostock, Germany .
    Kotrschalt, Kurt
    Univ Vienna, Dept Behav Biol, A-1010 Vienna, Austria .
    Turner, Dennis C.
    Univ Zurich Irchel, IEMT Switzerland & Anim Behav, Zurich, Switzerland .
    Hediger, Karin
    Univ Rostock, Dept Special Educ, D-18055 Rostock, Germany .
    Uvnäs-Moberg, Kerstin
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences.
    Julius, Henri
    Univ Rostock, Dept Special Educ, D-18055 Rostock, Germany .
    The Effect of a Real Dog, Toy Dog and Friendly Person on Insecurely Attached Children During a Stressful Task: An Exploratory Study2011In: Anthrozoos, ISSN 0892-7936, E-ISSN 1753-0377, Vol. 24, no 4, p. 349-368Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The regulation of stress by an attachment figure is a key feature of attachment relationships. Previous research suggests that in some cases animal companionship may be regarded as an attachment relationship. This may be particularly important for persons with an insecure or disorganized attachment pattern who may find it more difficult than securely attached individuals to accept social support from humans. In our study, we investigated whether 31 boys (aged 7-12 years) with insecure/disorganized attachment would profit more from the presence of a dog (n = 11) than of a friendly human (n = 11) or a toy dog (n = 9) as support during a socially stressful situation (Trier Social Stress Test for Children, TSST-C). Stress levels were assessed via salivary cortisol recorded five times before, during, and after the TSST-C. The behavior of the children was coded from video recordings. Self-reported stress levels did not significantly differ between the groups before and after the TSST-C. Salivary cortisol, however, was significantly lower in the real dog condition than in the other two conditions (Kruskal-Wallis H test on area under the curve increase (AUCi): chi(2) = 15.17, df = 2, p = 0.001). Also, the more the children stroked the dog, the less pronounced was their stress reaction (r(s) = -0.818, p = 0.002). Our data suggest an important role of physical contact in the stress reducing effect. We conclude that the children investigated profited more from interacting with a friendly dog than with either a human or a toy dog in a stressful situation. We discuss the relevance of our findings for animal-assisted interventions.

  • 2.
    Handlin, Linda
    et al.
    University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre. University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences.
    Hydbring-Sandberg, Eva
    Swedish Univ Agr Sci, Dept Anat Physiol & Biochem, Uppsala, Sweden .
    Nilsson, Anne
    Swedish Univ Agr Sci, Dept Anim Environm & Hlth, Skara, Sweden .
    Ejdebäck, Mikael
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre. Göteborgs universitet.
    Jansson, Anna
    Swedish Univ Agr Sci, Dept Anim Nutr & Management, S-75007 Uppsala, Sweden.
    Uvnäs-Moberg, Kerstin
    University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre. University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences.
    Short-Term Interaction between Dogs and Their Owners: Effects on Oxytocin, Cortisol, Insulin and Heart Rate-An Exploratory Study2011In: Anthrozoos, ISSN 0892-7936, E-ISSN 1753-0377, Vol. 24, no 3, p. 301-315Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this exploratory study was to determine heart rate and the levels of oxytocin, cortisol, and insulin in dogs and their owners in response to a short-term interaction. In addition, the dogs' behavior was studied. The owners' responses were compared with those obtained from a control group. Ten female volunteers and their own male Labrador dogs participated in an experiment during which the owner stroked, petted, and talked with her dog during the first 3 minutes. Blood samples were collected from both dog and owner before (0) and at 1, 3, 5, 15, 30, and 60 minutes after the start of the interaction. Blood samples were analyzed by EIA. Heart rate was monitored telemetrically. The data were analyzed using linear mixed models and paired t-tests. The dogs' oxytocin levels were significantly increased 3 minutes after the start of the interaction (p = 0.027). Cortisol levels were significantly increased after 15 and 30 minutes (p = 0.004 and p = 0.022, respectively), and heart rate was significantly decreased after 55 minutes (p = 0.008). The dogs displayed normal behaviors during the experiment. The owners' oxylocin levels peaked between 1 and 5 minutes after interaction (p = 0.026). No such effect was seen in the controls. Cortisol levels displayed a significant decrease at 15 or 30 minutes in both owners and controls, and insulin levels did so at 60 minutes (p = 0.030, p = 0.002 and p = 0.002, p < 0.0001, respectively). Heart rate decreased significantly in the owners at 55 and 60 minutes (p = 0.0008) but not in the controls. In conclusion, short-term sensory interaction between dogs and their owners influences hormonal levels and heart rate. However, further studies need to be performed in order to better understand the effects of interaction between dogs and their owners.

  • 3.
    Handlin, Linda
    et al.
    University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre. University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences. Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agriculture, Skara, Sweden.
    Jonas, Wibke
    Department of Women and Child Health, Division of Reproductive and Perinatal Health Care, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Petersson, Maria
    Department of Molecular Medicine, Endocrine and Diabetes Unit, Karolinska University Hospital/Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Ejdebäck, Mikael
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre.
    Ransjö-Arvidsson, Anna-Berit
    Department of Women and Child Health, Division of Reproductive and Perinatal Health Care, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Nissen, Eva
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences. Department of Women and Child Health, Division of Reproductive and Perinatal Health Care, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Uvnäs-Moberg, Kerstin
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences. Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agriculture, Skara, Sweden.
    Effects of Sucking and Skin-to-Skin Contact on Maternal ACTH and Cortisol Levels During the Second Day Postpartum - Influence of Epidural Analgesia and Oxytocin in the Perinatal Period2009In: Breastfeeding Medicine, ISSN 1556-8253, E-ISSN 1556-8342, Vol. 4, no 4, p. 207-220Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background and Aims: In this study we made a detailed analysis of the mothers' release pattern of adreno-corticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol during a breastfeeding session during the second day postpartum and related these patterns to maternal oxytocin levels as well to the duration of sucking and the duration of skin-to-skin contact before sucking the breast. Furthermore, we investigated if epidural analgesia and oxytocin administration during and after labor influenced the release pattern of ACTH and cortisol.

    Methods: Sixty-three primiparae were included in the study. Fourteen received oxytocin intramuscularly postpartum, nine received oxytocin infusion, 14 received epidural analgesia combined with oxytocin infusion, and six received epidural analgesia alone. Twenty mothers did not receive any of these medical interventions. Blood samples were analyzed for ACTH and cortisol by enzyme-linked immunoassay.

    Results: Both ACTH and cortisol levels fell significantly during the breastfeeding session. A significant negative relationship was found between oxytocin and ACTH levels, but not between oxytocin and cortisol levels. A contact before onset of sucking was significantly and negatively associated with lower cortisol levels, but not with ACTH levels. Cortisol levels differed significantly between mothers having received epidural analgesia with and without oxytocin.

    Conclusions: Breastfeeding is associated with a decrease of ACTH and cortisol levels. Skin-to-skin contact contributes to this effect. ACTH correlated negatively with the duration of sucking and median oxytocin levels, whereas cortisol levels correlated inversely with the duration of skin-to-skin contact preceding sucking, suggesting a partial dissociation between the mechanisms regulating ACTH and cortisol release. In addition, medical interventions in connection with birth influence the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis 2 days after birth.

  • 4.
    Handlin, Linda
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre.
    Jonas, Wibke
    Karolinska Institute.
    Ransjö-Arvidson, Anna-Berit
    Karolinska Institute.
    Petersson, Maria
    Karolinska University Hospital.
    Uvnäs-Moberg, Kerstin
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre.
    Nissen, Eva
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre.
    Influence of Common Birth Interventions on Maternal Blood Pressure Patterns During Breastfeeding 2 Days After Birth2012In: Breastfeeding Medicine, ISSN 1556-8253, Vol. 7, no 2, p. 93-99Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Objective: This study investigated possible influences of medical interventions during labor on maternal blood pressure during a breastfeed 2 days postpartum.

    Subjects and Methods: Sixty-six primiparae with normal deliveries were consecutively recruited. Blood pressure was measured at –5, 10, 30, and 60 minutes during a morning breastfeed 2 days postpartum. Five treatment groups were formed based on the medical interventions received during labor: Non-medicated mothers (Control group, n=21); mothers receiving epidural analgesia (EDA) with oxytocin (OT) stimulation (EDAOT group, n=14); mothers receiving EDA without OT stimulation (EDAnon-OT group, n=7); mothers receiving OT stimulation only (OT intravenously [iv] group, n=9); and mothers receiving 10 IU of OT intramuscularly (im) only (OT im group, n=15).

    Results: Baseline diastolic, but not systolic, blood pressure differed between the groups as displayed by significantly lower diastolic blood pressure in the EDAnon-OT group compared with the Control group, the OT iv group, and the EDAOT group (p=0.045, p=0.041, and p=0.024, respectively). Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure fell significantly during the breastfeeding session in the Control group (p=0.001 and p=0.004, respectively), the OT im group (p=0.006 and p=0.001, respectively), and the EDAOT group (p=0.028 and p=0.002, respectively), and the fall in diastolic blood pressure tended to be significant in the OT iv group (p=0.050). The duration of skin-to-skin contact before breastfeeding correlated positively with the decrease in systolic blood pressure in the OT im group (Rs=0.540, p=0.046).

    Conclusion: Administration of EDA during labor lowers baseline diastolic blood pressure and abolishes the fall in blood pressure in response to a breastfeed 2 days after birth.

  • 5.
    Handlin, Linda
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre.
    Nilsson, Anne
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre.
    Ejdebäck, Mikael
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre.
    Hydbring-Sandberg, Eva
    University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala.
    Uvnäs-Moberg, Kerstin
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre.
    Associations between the Psychological Characteristics of the Human-Dog Relationship and Oxytocin and Cortisol Levels2012In: Anthrozoos, ISSN 0892-7936, E-ISSN 1753-0377, Vol. 25, no 2, p. 215-228Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of the present study was to explore possible correlations between dog owners' relationships with their dogs, as measured with the Monash Dog Owner Relationship Scale (MDORS), and oxytocin and cortisol levels in both the owners and their dogs. Ten female owners of male Labrador Retrievers completed the MDORS. The scores obtained from the single items, subscales, and total score of the MDORS were calculated. Ten blood samples were collected from each dog owner and her dog during a 60-minute interaction. Blood samples were analyzed for oxytocin and cortisol by Enzyme Immuno Assay (EIA) and mean values of oxytocin and cortisol were calculated in both owners and dogs. The MDORS scores obtained were correlated with basal and mean oxytocin and cortisol levels. The correlation analysis revealed some relationships between the scores of items in the MDORS that reflect the character of the dog-owner-relationship and the owners' hormone levels. For example, higher oxytocin levels in the owners were associated with greater frequency in kissing their dogs (rs = 0.864, p = 0.001). Lower cortisol levels in the owners were associated with their perception that it will be more traumatic when their dog dies (rs = -0.730, p = 0.025). The correlation analysis also revealed some relationships between the scores of items in the MDORS and the dogs' hormone levels. For example, greater frequency in owners kissing their dogs was associated with higher oxytocin levels in the dogs (rs = 0.753, p = 0.029). Six items in the subscale Perceived Costs, as well as the subscale itself, correlated significantly with the dogs' oxytocin levels (rs = 0.820, p = 0.007), that is, the lower the perceived cost, the higher the dogs' oxytocin levels. In addition, significant correlations between the oxytocin levels of the owners and the dogs were demonstrated. Possible mechanisms behind these correlations are discussed. In conclusion, the scores of some items and the subscales of the MDORS correlated with oxytocin, and to a lesser extent cortisol, levels in both the owners and dogs.

  • 6.
    Handlin, Linda
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education.
    Nilsson, Anne
    Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Skara, Sweden.
    Lidfors, Lena
    Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Skara, Sweden.
    Petersson, Maria
    Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Endocrine and Diabetes Unit, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
    Uvnäs-Moberg, Kerstin
    Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Skara, Sweden.
    The Effects of a Therapy Dog on the Blood Pressure and Heart Rate of Older Residents in a Nursing Home2018In: Anthrozoos, ISSN 0892-7936, E-ISSN 1753-0377, Vol. 31, no 5, p. 567-576Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of the present project was to investigate whether repeated visits by a therapy dog to nursing homes might affect the older residents’ systolic blood pressure and heart rate. A secondary aim was to investigate and compare effects (differences in responses) in older people with high and normal systolic blood pressure. The project consisted of two consecutive studies; the dog study (two researchers and a therapy dog with a handler visited the residents at three nursing homes, n = 13), and the controlstudy (the two researchers alone visited the residents at three different nursinghomes, n = 13). The studies were divided into three periods; period 1(weeks 1–2), period 2 (weeks 3–4), and period 3 (weeks 5–6) and included two visits per week. The dog and her handler visited during periods 2 and 3 in the dog study. Participants’ heart rate and blood pressure were measured at 0 and 20 minutes at each visit. The data were analyzed using Friedman’s twowayanalysis of Variance by Rank with post-hoc analysis using Wilcoxonsigned-rank tests with a Bonferroni correction, and also with the mann-Whitney U test for independent samples. In the dog study, participants’ heartrate decreased significantly (p = 0.006) from period 1 to period 3. Participants with an initial systolic blood pressure ≥ 130 mmhg had a significant decreasein both systolic blood pressure (p = 0.009) and heart rate (p = 0.009). In the control study, participants’ heart rate and systolic blood pressure did not change significantly. the participants in the dog study had a significantly lower systolic blood pressure during period 3 (p = 0.016) compared with those in the control study. In conclusion, repeated visits by a therapy dog–handler team decreased the older adults’ heart rate, and for those with high initial systolic blood pressure, blood pressure also decreased. In addition, systolic blood pressure decreased significantly in the dog group when compared with the control group.

  • 7.
    Petersson, Maria
    et al.
    Endocrine and Diabetes Unit, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Uvnäs-Moberg, Kerstin
    Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Skara, Sweden.
    Nilsson, Anne
    Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Skara, Sweden.
    Gustafsson, Lise-Lotte
    Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Skara, Sweden.
    Hydbring-Sandberg, Eva
    Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.
    Handlin, Linda
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education.
    Oxytocin and Cortisol Levels in Dog Owners and Their Dogs Are Associated with Behavioral Patterns: An Exploratory Study2017In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 8, article id 1796Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We have previously shown that dog–owner interaction results in increasing oxytocin levels in owners and dogs, decreasing cortisol levels in owners but increasing cortisol levels in dogs. The present study aimed to further investigate whether oxytocin and cortisol levels in the previously tested owners and dogs were associated with their behaviors during the interaction experiment. Ten female volunteer dog–owners and their male Labrador dogs participated in a 60 min interaction experiment with interaction taking place during 0–3 min and blood samples for analysis of oxytocin and cortisol were collected at 0, 1, 3, 5, 15, 30, and 60 min. The entire experiment was videotaped and the following variables were noted; the different types (stroking, scratching, patting and activating touch, i.e., scratching and patting combined) as well as the frequency of touch applied by the owner, the number of times the owner touched her dog, the dog’s positions and time spent in each position. Correlations were analyzed between the behavioral variables and basal oxytocin levels, maximum oxytocin levels, delta oxytocin levels, basal cortisol levels and cortisol levels at 15 min. Owners with low oxytocin levels before and during the interaction touched their dogs more frequently (0 min: Rs = −0.683, p = 0.042; oxytocin maximum: Rs = −0.783, p = 0.013). The lower the dogs’ oxytocin levels during the interaction, the more stroking they received (Rs = −0.717, p = 0.041). The more frequently activating touch was applied by the owner, the higher the dogs’ cortisol levels became (15 min: Rs = 0.661, p = 0.038). The higher the owners’ maximum oxytocin level the fewer position changes the dogs made (Rs = −0.817, p = 0.007) and the shorter time they spent sitting (Rs = −0.786, p = 0.036), whereas the higher the owners’ basal cortisol levels, the longer time the dogs spent standing (0 min: Rs = 0.683, p = 0.041). In conclusion, oxytocin and cortisol levels, both in dogs and in their owners, are associated with the way the owners interact with their dogs and also with behaviors caused by the interaction.

  • 8.
    Rehn, Therese
    et al.
    Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Environment and Health, Uppsala, Sweden.
    Handlin, Linda
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre.
    Uvnäs-Moberg, Kerstin
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Environment and Health, Uppsala, Sweden.
    Keeling, Linda J.
    Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Environment and Health, Uppsala, Sweden.
    Dogs' endocrine and behavioural responses at reunion are affected by how the human initiates contact2014In: Physiology and Behavior, ISSN 0031-9384, E-ISSN 1873-507X, Vol. 124, p. 45-53Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 9.
    Takahashi, Yuki
    et al.
    Karolinska Inst, Stockholm, Sweden / Japanese Red Cross Toyota Coll Nursing, Aichi, Japan.
    Jonas, Wibke
    Karolinska Inst, Stockholm, Sweden / Univ Toronto, Canada.
    Ransjo-Arvidson, Anna-Berit
    Karolinska Inst, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Lidfors, Lena
    Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Skara, Sweden.
    Uvnäs Moberg, Kerstin
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Skara, Sweden.
    Nissen, Eva
    Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Weight loss and low age are associated with intensity of rooting behaviours in newborn infants2015In: Acta Paediatrica, ISSN 0803-5253, E-ISSN 1651-2227, Vol. 104, no 10, p. 1018-1023Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Aim: Little is known about the developing breastfeeding behaviour of newborn infants. This study describes infants' prebreastfeeding behaviour during the second day of life and explores possible associations with infant characteristics. Methods: We studied 13 mothers and healthy full-term infants after normal births. At 2448 hours of life, the newborns were placed in skin-to-skin contact with their mothers for breastfeeding and were video-filmed. The order, frequency and duration of predefined infant prefeeding behaviours and suckling were coded and analysed using computer-based video software. Results: Prefeeding behaviours occurred in the following order: rooting, hand to mouth movements, licking of the nipple and hand to breast to mouth movements. The infants started to suckle at a median of one to two minutes. Rooting was the most common behaviour, observed in 12 infants. The duration of rooting movements during the last minute before breastfeeding was inversely related to neonatal age (p = 0.001) and positively related to neonatal weight loss (p = 0.02) after birth. Conclusion: Infants exhibited a distinct sequence of prefeeding behaviours during the second day of life, and our findings suggest that rooting movements were governed by mechanisms involved in the regulation of food intake and weight gain.

  • 10.
    Uvnäs Moberg, Kerstin
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences.
    Närhetens hormon: oxytocinets roll i relationer2009 (ed. 1)Book (Other academic)
  • 11.
    Uvnäs-Moberg, Kerstin
    et al.
    University of Agriculture (SLU), Uppsala, Sweden.
    Ekström-Bergström, Anette
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education. Department of Health Sciences, University West, Trollhättan, Sweden.
    Berg, Marie
    Institute of Health and Care Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Sweden / Centre for Person-Centred Care, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Buckley, Sarah
    School of Public Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
    Pajalic, Zada
    Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo and Akershus University, College of Applied Sciences, Oslo, Norway.
    Hadjigeorgiou, Eleni
    Faculty of Health Sciences, Cyprus, University of Technology, Limassol, Cyprus.
    Kotłowska, Alicja
    Faculty of Health Sciences with Subfaculty of Nursing, Institute of Maritime and Tropical Medicine, Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland.
    Lengler, Luise
    Midwifery Research and Education Unit, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.
    Kielbratowska, Bogumila
    Faculty of Medical Sciences, Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland.
    Leon-Larios, Fatima
    Faculty of Nursing, Physiotherapy and Podiatry, University of Seville, Seville, Spain.
    Magistretti, Claudia Meier
    Department of Social Work Center for Health Promotion and Social Participation, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Luzern, Switzerland.
    Downe, Soo
    Research in Childbirth and Health (ReaCH) Group, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, United Kingdom.
    Lindström, Bengt
    Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.
    Dencker, Anna
    Institute of Health and Care Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Sweden / Centre for Person-Centred Care, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Maternal plasma levels of oxytocin during physiological childbirth: A systematic review with implications for uterine contractions and central actions of oxytocin2019In: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, ISSN 1471-2393, E-ISSN 1471-2393, Vol. 19, no 1, article id 285Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Oxytocin is a key hormone in childbirth, and synthetic oxytocin is widely administered to induce or speed labour. Due to lack of synthetized knowledge, we conducted a systematic review of maternal plasma levels of oxytocin during physiological childbirth, and in response to infusions of synthetic oxytocin, if reported in the included studies. Methods: An a priori protocol was designed and a systematic search was conducted in PubMed, CINAHL, and PsycINFO in October 2015. Search hits were screened on title and abstract after duplicates were removed (n = 4039), 69 articles were examined in full-text and 20 papers met inclusion criteria. As the articles differed in design and methodology used for analysis of oxytocin levels, a narrative synthesis was created and the material was categorised according to effects. Results: Basal levels of oxytocin increased 3-4-fold during pregnancy. Pulses of oxytocin occurred with increasing frequency, duration, and amplitude, from late pregnancy through labour, reaching a maximum of 3 pulses/10 min towards the end of labour. There was a maximal 3- to 4-fold rise in oxytocin at birth. Oxytocin pulses also occurred in the third stage of labour associated with placental expulsion. Oxytocin peaks during labour did not correlate in time with individual uterine contractions, suggesting additional mechanisms in the control of contractions. Oxytocin levels were also raised in the cerebrospinal fluid during labour, indicating that oxytocin is released into the brain, as well as into the circulation. Oxytocin released into the brain induces beneficial adaptive effects during birth and postpartum. Oxytocin levels following infusion of synthetic oxytocin up to 10 mU/min were similar to oxytocin levels in physiological labour. Oxytocin levels doubled in response to doubling of the rate of infusion of synthetic oxytocin. Conclusions: Plasma oxytocin levels increase gradually during pregnancy, and during the first and second stages of labour, with increasing size and frequency of pulses of oxytocin. A large pulse of oxytocin occurs with birth. Oxytocin in the circulation stimulates uterine contractions and oxytocin released within the brain influences maternal physiology and behaviour during birth. Oxytocin given as an infusion does not cross into the mother's brain because of the blood brain barrier and does not influence brain function in the same way as oxytocin during normal labour does. 

  • 12.
    Uvnäs-Moberg, Kerstin
    et al.
    The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Skara.
    Handlin, Linda
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre.
    Petersson, Maria
    Karolinska Institutet.
    Promises and pitfalls of hormone research in human-animal interaction2011In: How Animals Affect Us: Examining the Influence of Human-Animal Interaction on Child Development and Human Health / [ed] Peggy McCardle, Sandra McCune, James A. Griffin, Valerie Maholmes, American Psychological Association (APA), 2011, 1Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 13.
    Uvnäs-Moberg, Kerstin
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education. Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Skara, Sweden.
    Handlin, Linda
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education.
    Petersson, Maria
    Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Endocrine and Diabetes Unit, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Self-soothing behaviors with particular reference to oxytocin release induced by non-noxious sensory stimulation2015In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 5, article id 1529Article, review/survey (Refereed)
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