Oxytocin is a peptide hormone which is made of amino acids. It is produced by the hypothalamus and secreted by the pituitary gland. Naturally oxytocin plays an important role in the human body, especially in women during pregnancy and lactation.
During pregnancy, speciﬁcally during labor, oxytocin is responsible for the contractions of the womb. Hence why oxytocin is often used in the hospital to aid woman with labor. Following childbirth, when the mother starts breastfeeding, oxytocin is released to stimulate lactation allowing milk to be released. Once the mother stops breast-feeding, oxytocin production also stops, this is known as the positive feedback mechanism, meaning that oxytocin is released only when there is a trigger. The release of oxytocin also deepens the bond between mother and child which is crucial.
Oxytocin is often known as the “love” hormone because it is released when one engages in any sort of physical or sexual contact. The release of oxytocin during sexual intercourse allows the couple to relax, and have a stronger bond.