You know that oxytocin and prolactin are critical to lactation outcomes.
But how direct is the relationship?
If you knew a parents’ oxytocin and prolactin levels following birth, could you make predictions about how soon their milk would come in, their baby’s milk transfer, or even their baby’s weight gain?
This is the question Elise Erickson, PhD, CNM, and colleagues wanted to answer with their 2020 pilot study published in the Journal of Human Lactation.
And Erickson et al wanted to go one step further.
They wanted to know whether it was possible to connect certain parental variables with hormone profiles postpartum.
Do aspects of labor, age, and BMI predict levels of hormones postpartum?
If they could answer that, they might be able to provide a new way to identify parents at risk for struggling with lactation, for earlier and more effective help.
Their study is the first to attempt to define the relationship between hormone levels postpartum and breastfeeding measures, as well as between hormone profiles and aspects of labor.
Now, you have the opportunity to look closely at the results of the study while earning CERPs in a new Independent Study Module through ILCA (members only)!
Want a sneak preview of some of the key findings?
- Older participants had moderately higher levels of oxytocin postpartum than younger participants.
- Participants with higher body mass index scores when they gave birth had moderately lower oxytocin levels.
- Participants with shortest labors had higher oxytocin postpartum, while those with longer active labors had lower oxytocin.
- Participants who received synthetic oxytocin during labor had a different hormone profile during a feeding than those who did not. They showed an increase in the hormone vasopressin during a 20-minute feeding, while in those who did not receive synthetic oxytocin, vasopressin dropped during the feeding. This is important because vasopressin may bind to oxytocin receptor sites, causing “cross talk” and weakened oxytocin response.
- Babies born to parents with higher oxytocin lost less weight post-birth than those born to parents with lower oxytocin.
- Babies born to parents with higher vasopressin post-birth lost more weight than those born to those with lower vasopressin.
How might these findings affect the way you practice?
If you are a member, you can dive deeper and learn more with ILCA’s Independent Study Module. Register for free today.
Interested in earning CERPs to study a different topic? Check out all of ILCA’s free educational content at our Knowledge Center.