Oxytocin (OXT) exerts multiple effects in the adult central nervous system. However, little is known about the effects of OXT on foetal neurons during delivery, at the time when a surge of OXT occurs. In a recent study, the effects of OXT on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) signalling have been reported in foetal and newborn rats. In the immature rat hippocampal and neocortical neurons at birth, endogenous OXT induced a switch in the action of GABA from excitatory to inhibitory. This excitatory-to-inhibitory switch was caused by a switch in the polarity of the GABAergic responses from depolarizing to hyperpolarizing, reflecting a decrease in the intracellular chloride concentration. The effects of OXT were mimicked and occluded by bumetanide, a selective blocker of the chloride co-transporter NKCC1, suggesting that the effects of OXT involve inhibition of NKCC1. Neuronal death caused by anoxic-aglycaemic episodes was substantially delayed in the foetal hippocampus by endogenous OXT. These findings suggest that OXT plays important role in the preparation of the foetal brain to delivery.