(Closed) whats up with pitocin?

posted 8 years ago in Babies
Post # 3
1556 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

The reason Pitocin has gotten a bad reuptation is because it is said that contractions that are induced by Pitocin are more painful than those that occur naturally. 

My daughter was induced with Pitocin.  I was at 37 weeks, but had pre-eclampsia, so my doctor wanted to deliver her as soon as possible.  I do remember the labor being more painful than with my son who was born two years earlier…but it wasn’t  unbearable.  I didn’t have an epidural with her and it was intense at times…but not horrific or anything.

And if it is, there is always the epidural.  Once that is in place, neither kind of contractions hurt.  The fun of the epidural is watching the contractions on the monitor and thinking “Wow, that was a big one…I bet it would have hurt!” while feeling no pain….

Post # 4
1213 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

There is a bit of controversy about pitocin because some doctors will give it to a woman to speed up and strengthen her contractions during labor. Then if the labor doesn’t progress fast enough the mother ends up getting a caesarean. The arguement is that the caesarean could be avoided if the labor isn’t rushed and is given time to progress naturally. But some hospitals just want to get people in and out as fast as they can.

It is a very useful drug if used appropriately, I think Mrs. DG and/or MightySapphire had good experiences with it. Its when its given willy-nilly that it gets a bad rap.

Post # 5
2695 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2008

I think, but don’t know, that pitocin used to help progress a labor in progress is not as bad as pitocin used to induce labor.  But those I know who had pitocin to speed labor also had epidurals!  my friends who had it to help move labor in progress along seemed to not have any problems….

Post # 6
264 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

ejs, from what I understand pitocin is used to induce contractions. Because they are medicated they can be bigger/stronger contractions than unmedicated ones. And your body may not be ready for those whopping contractions since unmedicated labor is more of a slow build over time. And there can be some side effects as with any medication.

Maybe someone can point us to some more official literature about it? Because I’m curious about it too.

Post # 8
2030 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

There are multiple problems that are like a domino effect, and it all starts with pitocin. When a women is given pitcoin, it drastically increases the odds that she will be subjected to additional interventions of increasing severity. These interventions include C-section and carry significant medical risk on their own. Further, the pitocin overrides the mother’s ability to produce the endorphins that allow her to cope with pain, leading to a painful and exhausting labor. In addition, these subsequent interventions may have negative effects on the baby, such as an epidural causing the baby to be lethargic and have a poor initial latch, leading to long-term difficulty with breast-feeding.

If anyone tries to give me pitocin, I plan to fight like hell.

Post # 9
7082 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2009

Sn is accurately describing the perception many people have about pitocin (oxytocin).  Also, many women have a perception that OBs just use it to speed labor along so that they don’t have to wait as long for the baby to come (late night/change of shift).

There is a difference between induction with pitocin and augmentation (what I had).  Here is a meta-analysis (looks at multiple different studies) which shows that augmentation with oxytocin actually protects against C section.  Link: http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Abstract/2009/09000/The_Effect_of_Early_Oxytocin_Augmentation_in.23.aspx

Keep in mind that you would expect a higher C section rate with individuals that were already having trouble progressing  (thus necessitating medication intervention). Therefore, any increases in C/S rate would be confounded by the complication that preceded the oxytocin.

The lay literature has a lot of scare tactic type information which makes for compelling movies (Business of Being Born) but relatively little support from science.

Yes, pit contractions may hurt more (hooray epidural) and have risks (uterine hyperstimulation), but the meta-analysis sowed no increase in neonatal complications.

Post # 10
5823 posts
Bee Keeper

DG, have I ever told you that I love you?  LOL.  Great scientific response!

For a little background, it’s important to note that pitocin is a synthetic form of a hormone that your body naturally produces, oxytocin.  And when you’re in labor, your body secretes oxytocin as you progress through labor.  When doctors augment a labor with pitocin, they are only guessing at how much will be “enough” for you since ever labor is different.  Generally pitocin increases the pain you perceive because while your body will secrete oxytocin in gradually increasing levels, doctors are giving you pitocin at a higher level, so your contractions become stronger, closer, and more regular.  In my case that was very important because even though I had strong contractions, they were irregular in frequency.  So without the pitocin it may have taken too long to deliver, which may have had negative effects on MB.

I think that the negative associations of pitocin mostly come from the “no intervention” literature.  I was annoyed by several books I read which made even an IV sound terrible for my baby.  But like DG has cited, the science doesn’t support the idea that pitocin will increase your chance of having a C section.  And in the end, I was very happy that I got it!

Post # 11
762 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I had pitocin because my water broke and I was not progressing. If your water breaks the baby needs to be out within a certain amount of time because of the risk of infection. I actually liked the contractions better after petocin because though they were more intense they also did not last as long.

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