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Could Pitocin During Labor Program Oxytocin Receptors?

Many natural birth activists believe that the heavy dose of Pitocin, a brand of synthetic oxytocin, can program the oxytocin receptors in the baby's brain to be less sensitive to oxytocin.

There have not been any journal articles or studies to back this up. But a new report showing that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can program the fetus for life provides a link.

According to Newswise, prenatal exposure to bisphenol-A (BPA) and diethylstilbestrol (DES) altered production of a protein that helps to regulate genes. This alteration remained into adulthood.

“BPA is a weak estrogen and DES is a strong estrogen, yet our study shows both have a profound effect on gene expression in the mammary gland (breast) throughout life,” said Hugh Taylor, MD, of the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn. and lead author of the study. “All estrogens, even ‘weak’ ones can alter the development of the breast and ultimately place adult women who were exposed to them prenatally at risk of breast cancer.”

The study found a new way that external chemicals can regulate tissue development. Perhaps a similar mechanism could change the expression and sensitivity of oxytocin receptors?

Other posts covering this question:

Studying the relationship between Pitocin, labor and behavior

The Case for Harm from Pitocin in Labor