Oxytocin is a pituitary hormone that plays a critical role in the natural physiology of childbirth, lactation, and mother-infant bonding. In a recent study, researchers followed 46 families of mothers with chronic depression and 103 without finding that the families with depressed mothers had lower levels of salivary oxytocin and gene variants that, when expressed, might account for these findings.
- The oxytocin system in the infant is highly impacted by the epigenetic effects of mother’s behavior suggesting that inherited genes can be overcome by beneficial exposures.
- Supporting optimal hormone function by minimizing interference with natural secretion around labor and delivery would be indicated by this data.
- Oxytocin can be stimulated by massage, gaze synchrony, and hormone replacement, which I have been pioneering in my practice, in the postpartum population.
Read the abstract of this study on the modulating role of oxytocin on maternal depression.