Evaluation of Salivary Oxytocin Level in Pregnant Women during Pregnancy in Fatemiyeh Hospital of Hamadan, Iran

Document Type : Original Article


1 Faculty of Dentistry, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran

2 Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Fatemiyeh Hospital, Ob-Gyn Department, Iran

3 Modeling of Noncommunicable Disease Research Center, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran


We undertook this study to propose a noninvasive method for measuring oxytocin (OT) level in pregnant women. Most of previous studies have focused on the measurement of OT levels in blood plasma through invasive method. Due to the important role of OT hormone level during pregnancy, in this study, the level of salivary OT during pregnancy was measured to investigate its applicability as an alternative to invasive conventional methods. In this case-control study, 126 individuals (63 pregnant women as case group and 63 non-pregnant women as control group) referred to in Fatemiyeh Hospital of Hamadan, Iran, were selected and evaluated. After obtaining written consent, saliva sampling was performed by stripping, and the samples were transferred to a laboratory at -4°C and then stored at -22°C. ELISA technique was applied for measuring the level of salivary OT. Data were analyzed using SPSS software. The results indicated that the mean level of salivary OT in the control group was 98.40±362.92 pg mL-1. The mean level of salivary OT in the case group was 1.016±403.75 pg mL-1 with the maximum and minimum concentrations ​​of 628.60 and 169.60 pg mL-1, respectively. The results of this study implied that the mean level of salivary OT in pregnant women was significantly higher than that in non-pregnant women (P = 0.024). Also, OT levels were not significantly different in trimesters of pregnancy (P1 = 0.941, P2 = 0.844, P3 = 0.552). Our findings depicted that measuring salivary OT in pregnant women can be used as a noninvasive and accurate method instead of blood test.


  1. White Traut R., Watanabe K., Pournajafi Nazarloo H., Schwertz D., Bell A., Carter C.S., 2009. Detection of salivary oxytocin levels in lactating women. Dev Psychobiol. 51(4), 367-73. doi: 10.1002/dev.20376.
  2. Kiss A., Mikkelsen J.D., 2005. Oxytocin--anatomy and functional assignments: a minireview. Endocr Regul. 39(3), 97-105.
  3. Lipschitz D.L., Kuhn R., Kinney A.Y., Grewen K., Donaldson G.W., Nakamura Y., 2015. An Exploratory Study of the Effects of Mind–Body Interventions Targeting Sleep on Salivary Oxytocin Levels in Cancer Survivors. Integr Cancer Ther. 14(4), 366-80. doi: 10.1177/1534735415580675.
  4. Blagrove M., Fouquet N.C., Baird A.L., Pace-Schott E.F., Davies A.C., Neuschaffer J.L., Henley-Einion J. A., Weidemann C. T., Thome J., McNamara P., Turnbull O.H., 2012. Association of salivary-assessed oxytocin and cortisol levels with time of night and sleep stage. J Neural Transm.119(10), 1223-32. doi: 10.1007/s00702-012-0880-1.
  5. Javor A., Riedl R., Kindermann H., Brandstätter W., Ransmayr G., Gabriel M., 2014. Correlation of plasma and salivary oxytocin in healthy young men — experimental evidence. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 35(6), 470-473.
  6. De Jong T.R., Menon R., Bludau A., Grund T., Biermeier V., Klampfl S.M., Jurek B., Bosch O.J., Hellhammer J., Neumanna I.D., 2015. Salivary oxytocin concentrations in response to running, sexual self-stimulation, breastfeeding and the TSST: The Regensburg Oxytocin Challenge (ROC) study. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 62, 381-8. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen. 2015.08.027.



  1. Prevost M., Zelkowitz P., Tulandi T., Hayton B., Feeley N., Carter C.S., Joseph L., Pournajafi-Nazarloo H., Yong Ping E., Abenhaim H., Gold I., 2014. Oxytocin in pregnancy and the postpartum: relations to labor and its management. Front Public Health. 2,1. doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2014.00001.
  2. Feldman R., Weller A., Zagoory-Sharon O., Levine A., 2007. Evidence for a neuroendocrinological foundation of human affiliation: plasma oxytocin levels across pregnancy and the postpartum period predict mother-infant bonding. Psychol Sci. 18(11), 965-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.02010.x.
  3. Uvnäs-Moberg K., Johansson B., Lupoli B., Svennersten-Sjaunja K., 2001. Oxytocin facilitates behavioural, metabolic and physiological adaptations during lactation. Appl Anim Behav Sci. 72(3), 225-34. doi: 10.1016/s0168-1591(01)00112-5.
  4. Horvat-Gordon M., Granger D.A., Schwartz E.B., Nelson V.J, Kivlighan K.T., 2005. Oxytocin is not a valid biomarker when measured in saliva by immunoassay. Physiol Behav. 84(3), 445-8. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2005.01.007
  5. Animireddy D., Reddy Bekkem V.T., Vallala P., Kotha S.B., Ankireddy S., Mohammad N., 2014. Evaluation of pH, buffering capacity, viscosity and flow rate levels of saliva in caries-free, minimal caries and nursing caries children: An in vivo study. Contemp Clin Dent. 5(3), 324-8. doi: 10.4103/0976-237X.137931.
  6. Prevost M., Zelkowitz P., Tulandi T., Hayton B., Feeley N., Carter C. S. 2014. Oxytocin in pregnancy and the postpartum: relations to labor and its management. Front Public Health. 2, 1. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2014.00001
  7. De Geest K., Thiery M., Piron-Possuyt G., 1985. Vanden Driessche R. Plasma oxytocin in human pregnancy and parturition. J Perinat Med. 13, 3–1310. doi: 1515/jpme.1985.13.1.3.
  8. Stock S., Bremme K., Uvnäs-Moberg K., 1991. Plasma levels of oxytocin during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and following treatment with HMG. Hum Reprod. 6, 1056–62.
  9. Levine A., Zagoory-Sharon O., Feldman R., Weller A., 2007. Oxytocin during pregnancy and early postpartum: individual patterns and maternal–fetal attachment. Peptides. 8(6), 1162-9. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2007.04.016.
  10. Kumaresan P., Anandarangam P., Dianzon W., Vasicka A., 1974. Plasma oxytocin levels during human pregnancy and labor as determined by radioimmunoassay. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 119(2), 215-23. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(74)90037-4.
  11. Coates M.M., Riordan J., 2016. Tides in breastfeeding practice. Breastfeeding and human lactation. 4th ed. Sudbury: Jones & Bartlett. 3-29.
  1. Chatterton R.T., Jr Hill P.D., Aldag J.C., Hodges K.R., Belknap S.M., Zinaman M.J., 2000. Relation of plasma oxytocin and prolactin concentrations to milk production in mothers of preterm infants: Influence of stress. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 85, 3661–3668.‏ doi: 10.1002/dev.20376
Volume 12, Issue 1
January 2022
Pages 1-6
  • Receive Date: 11 January 2021
  • Revise Date: 04 March 2021
  • Accept Date: 22 August 2021
  • First Publish Date: 19 October 2021