Little known facts about Pitocin and induction

July 1, 2010 at 8:26 am

This is an updated version one of the first blogposts I ever wrote, back on my old blog, in April of 2007.  It brought a lot of traffic to that blog, much the way my “Pitocin’s untold impact” post has brought a lot of traffic to this new website.  Apparently, lots of people want to find out more about Pitocin!  This is good.  I hope more and more research will give us further answers about the short and long-term effects of this powerful drug.  In the meantime, here are some of the things I’ve discovered in my own truth-seeking journey…

“Pitocin is the most abused drug in the world today.”
~Roberto Caldreyo-Barcia, MD
(former president of the International Federation of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists)

• Pitocin is not approved by the FDA for elective (patient or provider convenience) inductions or elective stimulation of labor (moving things along).

• Pitocin generally produces contractions that are much longer, more intense, and more painful than normal contractions.

• The intense contractions caused by Pitocin can abnormally restrict oxygen supply to the fetus. This decrease in oxygen can lead to fetal distress and, when prolonged, emergency C-section. Some providers even use this side effect to “Pit to distress” when they want a short-cut to a cesarean.

• Pitocin has the potential of causing tetanic contractions—contractions coming so frequently that they merge into one sustained contraction—which can result in premature separation of the placenta, uterine rupture, cervical tearing, excessive bleeding postpartum, as well as severely restricting oxygen supply to the fetus. Some of these complications are potentially fatal to mother and/or fetus.

• When Pitocin is introduced to the labor process, oxytocin receptors in the body tell the brain to stop producing natural oxytocin.

• Pitocin does not act like the oxytocin produced by a woman’s own body. Oxytocin is a “feel good” hormone which causes the body to be bathed in coping chemicals, reducing anxiety and stress, which helps a woman to handle labor more effectively. Pitocin does not do this, which partly explains why contractions produced by Pitocin are more painful.

• Naturally produced oxytocin produces feelings of calmness and love and facilitates bonding. If a woman has been given Pitocin, her body is likely to have stopped or slowed production of its own oxytocin. This could potentially interfere with the carefully orchestrated oxytocin peak that is designed to occur at the time of birth to prepare a woman to bond with her new baby.

• Pitocin has a long and disturbing list of possible side-effects.