[Oxytocin and postpartum depression]

J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod (Paris). 2016 Oct;45(8):786-795. doi: 10.1016/j.jgyn.2016.05.002. Epub 2016 Jun 14.
[Article in French]


Introduction: Postpartum depression (PPD) is prevalent (about 10%) with a major impact on the mother and child health. At the hormonal level, poor regulation of oxytocin rate has a key role in depression. Recently, oxytocin has been used on psychiatric therapy, intranasal or intravenously, particularly in mood disorders. But, in obstetrics, this molecule is administered during childbirth. The objective of this study was to determine if intravenous administration of oxytocin could influence thymic state of the mother in the postpartum period.

Methods: Literature review, after consultation of Pubmed and Sciencedirect databases, with the following keywords: oxytocin, postpartum depression, pregnancy, social behavior.

Results: The effects of oxytocin in the PPD are part of a multifactorial mechanism (hormonal and social) that influences the hormonal effects of oxytocin. Oxytocin use in therapeutic was able to give conclusive results in psychiatry, the way and the optimal method of administration are not known. PPD is associated with administrated oxytocin during labour. Physiopathology remains unknown.

Conclusion: It is possible that oxytocin administered during childbirth is related with the onset or worsening of the PPD without defining if it's a cause or a consequence.

Keywords: Dépression du post-partum; Hormone; Ocytocine; Oxytocin; Oxytocine; Postpartum depression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression, Postpartum / etiology
  • Depression, Postpartum / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Oxytocin / adverse effects
  • Oxytocin / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy


  • Oxytocin