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Severe Reaction to Oxytocin or Vasopressin?

nishir at ohsu.edu nishir at ohsu.edu
Thu May 19 18:44:58 EST 1994

Is this group playing doctor now?

>>Her complaints were:
>>-severe uterine pain upon feeding her baby
>>-severe nipple and breast pain at the same time
>>-uncontrollably intense thirst.....all of these AT THE TIME of each nursing.

Sounds to me like these are normal "symptoms" of breast feeding.  As a recent
mother of my second child I can attest to these pains when nursing.  They are
caused by a release of oxytocin which facilitates the "let down" reflex that
releases milk.  This pain can be quite severe in the breasts and nipples
(contraction of the ducts) and in the uterus, especially shortly after birth. 
The uterine contractions are essential for shutting down extra vasculature that
developed during the pregnancy and for shrinking the uterus back to its
pre-pregnancy state.  The intense thirst is also normal- you are producing a
large volume of fluid that your baby is consuming so your thirst will be
greater, and it feels stronger when you are nursing (it helps to sip water
while you're nursing).  I don't think there is anything pathological going on.


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