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Oxytocin Uterine Effects

Oxytocin (Pitocin®) is a synthetic version of the oxytocin hormone found naturally in the body that plays a major role in childbirth. It works by attaching to oxytocin receptors on the wall of the uterus. During pregnancy, the number of these receptors increases and is highest in early labor. By binding to these receptors, oxytocin increases the calcium concentration in the cells of the uterine muscle. These effects cause the uterus to contract.
Because the level of receptors will vary from woman to woman, the effects of oxytocin on uterine contractions will be different as well. This is why the dosage of the drug is highly individualized.
(For more information, click What Is Oxytocin Used For?. This Web page describes the effects oxytocin has on uterine contractions and when a healthcare provider might recommend this drug.)
Pregnancy and Pain
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