Maternal serum samples obtained from 123 normal pregnant women between 28 and 40 weeks gestation were analysed for oxytocinase (EC 220.127.116.11) activity using s-benzyl-1-cysteine-4-nitroanilide as substrate. Oxytocinase activity was found to be stable at varying temperatures, with a mean co-efficient of variation of 5.0%. The short-term flucutuation of oxytocinase activity had a mean coefficient of variation of 3.6%. There is no suggestion of a "pulsatile" release of oxytocinae from its placental origin. © 1989.