Pitocin is the synthetic form of oxytocin, a natural hormone produced by a woman’s body that causes uterine contractions. It is generally used in two ways: to start or induce labor, and/or to augment labor. It has become a very controversial topic in childbearing today. Critics complain that it is used too frequently, even when its usefulness and safety are still uncertain.
Oxytocin is secreted in bursts. When a woman is given pitocin, it is administered through an intravenous line, which regulates the amount to a steady flow. Pitocin-induced contractions differ from natural contractions in strength and effect. This induced contraction may decrease uterine blood flow, which could reduce oxygen to the baby. Birth injuries such as brain damage and cerebral palsy could occur.
Pitocin can present other hazards to both the mother and the child. For the mother, dangers include tumultuous labor and contractions that may cause premature separation of the placenta, rupture of the uterus, laceration of the cervix or post-birth hemorrhage. Threats to the baby include fetal asphyxia and neonatal hypoxia from too frequent and prolonged uterine contractions, physical injury and prematurity.
A large percentage of women–nearly 80%–who received pitocin say that there is more pain with pitocin than without. There is no slow build-up of contractions with pitocin. And very few women–less than 10%–believe the pitocin helped with the delivery.
When inducing labor with pitocin, it works best when the uterus is ready to receive it, which is at term. When it is used prior to that, it is likely to produce a long, drawn-out or unsuccessful labor.
Because every woman responds differently to pitocin, the dose must be carefully monitored and adjusted. Too mild or infrequent contractions won’t bring the baby. Too strong or prolonged contractions can stress the baby.
Women have different views on pitocin. Some find it wasn’t a problem at all, while others intensely dislike it because of the potential harm it can cause. The most recent research shows how dangerous pitocin can be. The artificially produced contractions can cause too much stimulation, which can result in a decrease of oxygen to the baby and potentially causing a serious birth injury.
If your child has brain damage or cerebral palsy, it could be the result of induced labor using pitocin and the improper monitoring of fetal monitor records. That could be medical malpractice or negligence. The Law Offices of Dr. Bruce G. Fagel and Associates have a track record of success in pursuing birth injury cases. Call us at (800) 541-9376 for a free case evaluation.