The Relationship of the Administration of Intrapartum Synthetic Oxytocin and Breastfeeding Initiation and Duration Rates

Breastfeed Med. 2017 Mar:12:98-102. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2016.0185. Epub 2017 Feb 6.


Aim: The consequences that intrapartum administration of hormones can have on breastfeeding are unclear. The aim of the study is to determine if synthetic intrapartum oxytocin, used routinely for induction/stimulation, has a relationship to initiation/duration of breastfeeding.

Patients and methods: We conducted a cohort study that was carried out in a tertiary university hospital distinguished by WHO-UNICEF as a BFHI (Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative). A group of 53 mother and newborn dyads who had been exposed to intrapartum synthetic oxytocin were compared with 45 nonexposed dyads. A breastfeeding questionnaire was administered by a midwife blind to patient group through phone calls 3 and 6 months after delivery.

Results: No statistically significant differences were observed between the two groups in the rates of mothers exclusively breastfeeding (EBF) or nonexclusively breastfeeding. The percentage of those who were EBF when discharged was 97.3% in the oxytocin-nonexposed group and 87.1% in the oxytocin-exposed group (p = 0.14). At 3 months, the group rates of exclusive breastfeeding were 72.5% in the nonoxytocin-exposed group versus 65.9% in the oxytocin-exposed group (p = 0.71). At 6 months, rates of breastfeeding were 31.4% versus 27.9% (p = 0.53) in the oxytocin-nonexposed and oxytocin-exposed groups, respectively.

Conclusions: In this study, no statistically significant effect of intrapartum synthetic oxytocin administration was observed pertaining to the initiation or duration of breastfeeding.

Keywords: breastfeeding; intrapartum; newborn; synthetic oxytocin.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding* / statistics & numerical data
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Behavior / drug effects*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mothers
  • Oxytocics / adverse effects
  • Oxytocics / pharmacokinetics
  • Oxytocics / pharmacology*
  • Oxytocin / adverse effects
  • Oxytocin / pharmacokinetics
  • Oxytocin / pharmacology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Spain
  • Sucking Behavior / drug effects*
  • Sucking Behavior / physiology
  • Time Factors


  • Oxytocics
  • Oxytocin