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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

The correlation between synthetic oxytocin given during labor and women's personality traits according to the SSP (Swedish University Scales of Personality) Survey: A pilot study

Uvnäs-Moberg, Kerstin; Wiberg-Itzel, Eva


Background: In modern obstetric care, oxytocin is one of the most frequently used drugs, and the possible mental impact this drug has on women is very little studied. The objective of this study is to investigate whether women augmented with oxytocin during labor will rate their personality profile differently after childbirth than non-stimulated women. Methods: Prospective cohort study was performed at Women’s Clinic, Soder hospital, Stockholm.76 women received the SSP (Swedish University Scales of Personality) questionnaire to fill in during their stay in the post-maternity ward after labor. Information about the use of oxytocin was retrieved from the women’s medical records. Primary outcome: Differences in the SSP scores in the group augmented with synthetic oxytocin during labor compared with the non-augmented group. Results: Women with and without oxytocin estimates on the SSP subscale form differed regarding personality traits described as “lack of assertiveness” (p = 0.04), which means “lack of ability to speak up and to be self-assertive in social situations”. The result also showed that women that had a long time of augmentation with oxytocin (>5 h) scored higher for “social desirability” (p = 0.004), which was defined as being “socially adapted,” “friendly,” and “helpful”. A difference in “psychological anxiety” (p = 0.04) and “social desirability” (p = 0.004) was found among women who had oxytocin in a dose of at least 200 ImU/h for ≥1 hour. This group also had a lower rate of “mental anxiety” than those who received lower oxytocin doses. Conclusion: Synthetic oxytocin given during labor may affect the woman mentally. The total time and volume of given oxytocin seem to be essential factors when discussing augmentation’s maternal psychological response. We conclude that prolonged and extended use of synthetic oxytocin during labor should be avoided if possible.


Anxiety; Augmentation; Oxytocin; Personality Traits

Published in

Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
2021, volume: 11, number: 6, pages: 701-712

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Environment and Health
Wiberg-Itzel, Eva
Karolinska Institute

UKÄ Subject classification

Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine

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