Feasibility Study to Compare Oxytocin Function Between Body Mass Index Groups at Term Labor Induction

Angela B. Maeder, Aleeca F. Bell, Barbara L. McFarlin, Chang G. Park, Michelle A. Kominiarek, Paloma Toledo, C. Sue Carter, Hans Nazarloo, Susan C. Vonderheid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To determine the feasibility of a protocol to examine the association between oxytocin system function and birth outcomes in women with and without obesity before induction of labor. Design: Prospective descriptive. Setting: Academic medical center in the U.S. Midwest. Participants: Pregnant women scheduled for induction of labor at 40 weeks of gestation or greater (n = 15 normal weight; n = 15 obese). Methods: We collected blood samples and abstracted data by chart review. We used percentages to examine adherence to protocol. We used t tests and chi-square tests to describe differences in sample characteristics, oxytocin system function variables, and birth outcomes between the body mass index groups. Results: The recruitment rate was 85.7%, protocol adherence was 97.1%, and questionnaire completion was 80.0%. Mean plasma oxytocin concentration was higher in the obese group (M = 2774.4 pg/ml, SD = 797.4) than in the normal weight group (M = 2193.5 pg/ml, SD = 469.8). Oxytocin receptor DNA percentage methylation (CpG −934) was higher in the obese group than in the normal weight group. Conclusion: Our protocol was feasible and can serve as a foundation for estimating sample sizes in forthcoming studies investigating the diversity in oxytocin system measurements and childbirth outcomes among pregnant women in different body mass index categories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-150
Number of pages11
JournalJOGNN - Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • epigenetic
  • induction of labor
  • labor outcomes
  • methylation
  • obesity
  • oxytocin
  • oxytocin receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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