How Long After Oxytocin Does Labour Start (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Within 24 hours

Oxytocin is a neuropeptide that is produced in the hypothalamus and released by the posterior pituitary gland. And it is best known for the role it plays in female reproduction. It plays a major role in making bonding with a person, reproduction, childbirth, etc.

Sometimes, there is a need to artificially bring on labour either due to safety concerns or some other reasons. This is when oxytocin comes to the rescue. The most common drug that is used to induce labour. But “How long after oxytocin does labour start?”, is a concern for many people.

How Long After Oxytocin Does Labour Start?

To be exact, labour starts within 24 after taking oxytocin. And the doctors have always considered it to be a safe option for almost every woman. Compared to the process of waiting to see whether the labour starts naturally, giving oxytocin lets the women have to give birth to the child within 24 hours.

However, many women do require epidural for pain relief. Talking about oxytocin, it is highly successful and is considered a safe agent for inducing labour.it has therapeutic properties.

But it is also important to note that, to induce labour, only a small dose of this medicine is required to avoid any side effects. A proper amount of its dose will provide efficacious uterine contractions and labour process will happen within 24 hours.

Sometimes a synthetic version of oxytocin is introduced in the body in order to induce labour. This is known as Pitocin induction. For those who don’t know, Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin. However, there are certain risks involved with it. Some of them are overstimulation of the uterus, infections, fetal death, dropped heart rate of the fetus.

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The correct amount of oxytocin is really important. Lower amounts of it may slow down the contraction process which in turn slows down the labour process. It might also lead to excessive bleeding of the placenta site after birth. That is why doctors make use of Pitocin or another synthetic form of oxytocin to prevent such occurrences.

OxytocinTime
Oxytocin (naturally produced by the body)Labour start in 24-25 hours
Pitocin (a synthetic form of Oxytocin)Labour starts within 24 hours

Why Does it Take So Long for Labour to Start After Taking Oxytocin?

Labour usually starts within 24 hours of Oxytocin. And the process of labour takes a bit of time after taking oxytocin.

Talking about the process, this hormone is responsible for uterine contractions. It is required for cervical dilation at the time of labour. Oxytocin causes contractions in the uterus during the last stage of labour, which facilitates vaginal birth.

Not only this, but the hormone also helps in clotting of the placenta’s point of attachment after the delivery/ childbirth. If the birth-giving time has been late, it is also induced with the help of Pitocin (synthetic version of oxytocin) medications for safe delivery.

Now that you know the time and the reason as to when labour starts after Oxytocin, you should also be aware of another role of oxytocin in pregnancy.

Hormones no doubt play an important role during pregnancy and oxytocin tops the list. This love hormone, along with bringing contractions of the uterus during labour, also makes you feel more affectionate and selfless.

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The hormone is also known to reduce stress levels and calms you down and helps in coping up with pain during labour process (the baby also produces oxytocin before and after labour). The hormone remains in action after the birth of the baby too. It makes you feel relaxed and nourished and creates a bond between you and your baby. It also helps to protect the new mother from post-partum hemorrhage.

You may increase the production of oxytocin in your body by performing certain activities. Some of those are- staying calm and comfortable, avoiding any kind of disturbances, staying upright, etc.

Conclusion

Oxytocin, most commonly known as the love hormone plays a major role at the time of labor. It helps in uterine contractions and also in calming the body when in labor.

In a nutshell, the exact time for the labour to start, after having oxytocin (or the synthetic form of oxytocin, i.e., Pitocin) is within 24 hours. If the hormone produced by the body is less, similar medications are introduced in the body to avoid any damage to the fetus whatsoever.

References

  1. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/1/2/e000514.short
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0149763405800028

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