Oxytocin childbirth - Definition

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Definition


Oxytocin is a hormone naturally synthesized by the body in a gland in the brain, the hypothalamus, to be released by the pituitary gland where it is stored. We believe this hormone to be involved in many emotional and social behavior functions. Yet oxytocin remains best known for accelerating childbirth by influencing the contractions of the uterus. Even the name oxytocin literally signifies "quick birth". A similar substance to oxytocin can be synthesized in a laboratory, and its principal use is to aid the delivery of the fetus during childbirth by reinforcing the uterus contractions already stimulated by the natural oxytocin.