Is pitocin worth it?

Amy - posted on 03/09/2011 ( 82 moms have responded )

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This is just one article I found. Would be greatly interested in what everyone else knows about it.


"It is certainly very true that pitocin plays a very big part in the shortening of labor. But - as with anything else - it comes with a price.

The major risk of pitocin induction and/or augmentation is not to you but to your baby. Indeed, it is well known that the increased pressure of the contractions can - and usually do -compress your baby's umbilical cord and as a result cuts down his oxygen supply.

We are certain that you know this to not be a good thing.

Dr. Roberto Caldeyro-Barcia has demonstrated that uterine contractions stimulated with pitocin reach over 40 mm Hg pressure on the fetal head - normally a contraction registers around 24 mm Hg. What does this mean?

This means that the quality - strength - and quantity of your uterine contractions are greatly affected when pitocin is used during labor. It is a fact that contractions tend to be longer, stronger, and with shorter relaxation periods between each of them.





Pitocin Complications

When you know and understand that during a contraction, the blood supply to your uterus - and therefore to your baby - is temporarily shut off, you realize very quickly how dangerous the use of pitocin can be.

If deprived of blood supply, your baby can experience what is called fetal bradycardia (or decreased fetal heart-rate deceleration) - heart-beat drops. This can - and often does - result in neurological damage and eventually death.

If your baby's heart rate is indeed affected, an emergency c-section will usually be performed.

The diagnosis will be "fetal distress" and your doctor will be hailed as a hero for "saving" your baby's life...that he put in danger in the first place!

In the 18th edition of Williams Obstetrics, it is stated:

"Oxytocin - pitocin - is a powerful drug, and it has killed or maimed mothers through rupture of the uterus and even more babies through hypoxia - asphyxia aka lack of oxygen - from markedly hypertonic uterine contractions." Hypertonic means the contractions were too strong - which does not happen with a natural labor.

This medical textbook goes on to urge careful administration of the lowest possible amount of pitocin in order to avoid the tetanic - huge - contractions that can cause uterine rupture, and to insist that once the drip is started, the mother should never be left alone. "

http://www.natural-pregnancy-mentor.com/...

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Karen - posted on 03/09/2011

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SaraB - My OB administered pitocin to me both during and after my labor and NEVER TOLD ME!! I was livid when I found out! I was in active labor, things were going great, nurse put something in my IV and suddenly I was slammed with contractions unlike anything I'd felt before (this was my 3rd baby). Then after baby was born more pit was given without my knowledge or consent. I now know to watch and question everything (and to not have an IV - heplock, maybe, but not IV). Oh, and my OB's reasoning behind giving the first pit? It was 5:00 and he wanted to get home for dinner. No, I'm not kidding. Doctors/nurses are not always to be trusted especially during L&D.

I'm fine with pitocin when used in a responsible way to help a stalled labor but only after other methods have been tried. If a mom is strapped to monitors, unable to get up and walk around then she should be encouraged to get up and get moving! Stop the inductions which more often than not use pitocin as a first-resort rather than a last. Stop the practice of automatically administering pit after birth to help with uterine contractions. I have outright refused pit with my last 6 babies and have sed nursing and massage to get my uterus back down to size very quickly.

I'm very thankful for modern medicine yet not impressed when it is used casually and when not truly necessary.

Jenn - posted on 03/09/2011

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Sharon - I had a horrible labour and birth experience with my son due to pitocin use. I can assure you that I'm not a lardass who shoved ho-ho's in my mouth while lounging on the couch all day long. I worked 6 days a week, on my feet, until I was 6 months along, and only stopped working at that point because that's when I moved from Florida back to Canada. Nothing like being rude, judgmental, and ignorant.

Erin - posted on 03/10/2011

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Christina your story is a prime example of why these interventions were introduced in the first place. They save lives when used appropriately. But they should NOT be routine.

Tia Melissa - posted on 03/10/2011

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Got through the first of 10 replies and HAD to stop. For those who might claim pit only causes pain if you're a lard-a**, I say, "You're completely wrong". Abdominal tone has nothing to do with uterine ctx. Anecdotal remark; I workout until the day I give birth and that includes resistance training. Also had pit for 3 of 4 labors and it was COMPLETELY different from non-induced labor. Yeah, it's like calling a charlie horse a tic. I won't voluntarily do pit again. I can believe it leads to c-sections.

It's symptomatic of the medical mentality that L&D should be done on their timetable instead of your body's. If you really need it, it's blessing that it's there. But like anything else it can and IS overused for the convenience of the hospital staff - IMHO.

Went back and read the rest... LOL Glad I did. Blood pressure is back where it should be. :)

Erin - posted on 03/09/2011

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The only intervention I had to sign for was the forceps. With everything else, my compliance was assumed and they barely waited to get my verbal consent. I was told they were going to break my water when I stalled out at 5cm, not asked. I had an IV placed for fluids right before pushing started (I vomited a lot and was struggling with dehydration). After pushing for about an hour (baby was asynclitic and it was hard going) I was told they would give me 'something to make the contractions stronger'. That was as much information as I received. Nobody mentioned the risk of rupture or the chance it may compromise the fetal heart rate. They didn't even name the drug (although I knew what it was).

The point is, I probably did need the pitocin. I was close to the end and have no issue with having used it. But the process of informed consent was definitely not followed. 'I'm going to give you this because ______' is not informed consent :-/

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Kathy - posted on 09/07/2012

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"PFT - ask an L&D nurse. They hate to see disgustingly out of shape women waddle/stagger through the doors. THEY CAN'T LABOR." Sharon



"Disgustingly" overweight…wow, the judgement. I would not want you as my LD nurse. I bet such negative vibes would slow down labour.



I am 50 pounds overweight. I waddle but I never stagger. Here are my delivery times:



1st - 12 hours

2nd - 2 hour

3rd - 4 hours.



My weight played no part in my deliveries (and the second 2 deliveries were easy, the 3rd one very easy). You know what played a part:

-genetics

-luck

-belief in my ability to birth the babies

-strong labour support systems (in the case of the second and 3rd deliveries).



As per pitocin, use it if you need to. I think it should be avoided if possible, but there is a time and place for medical interventions.

Sara - posted on 09/06/2012

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I would think that any induction method, breaking water (which from my understanding doesn't really help anyhow), pitocin etc are better to avoid. I don't know the research, but I would think that very closely monitored amounts of pitocin may be preferable to a c-section, but as I said, I have not seen the research.



We women have been giving birth for a looooong time now, it is not a medical condition, it is a natural condition. We are lucky that we have medical technology to assist in exceptional cases, but for the most part good prenatal care, risk assessment and management are enough. Babies usually know how to get out when they are ready.



That being said, each woman (or family) should choose on their own what type of birth to have: hospital, home, medicated, c-section, induction etc....BUT they should be keenly aware of the risks associated with all options. Unfortunately, American medical culture really lacks the body of research needed to address these easily (not to mention the raging battle between doctors and midwives). Ahhhh culture and politics.



There is a great cross cultural study (in book form) called "A Birth in Four Cultures" which really highlights the often ethnocentric ideas of "correct birthing." It is an anthropological text and can be a bit jargony at times, but is on the whole rather readable.

Christina - posted on 03/11/2011

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Erin, I agree with you, which is why I said it depending on the situation. That happened with my third child. When I was 36wks with my fourth child, I also had PROM with no contractions, but no fever. The hospital waited 12hrs for me to start contracting before they started pitocin. I had exactly 24hrs to get my son out before they did an emergency c-section, but that was because of my history with my daughter. I wasn't willing to risk something happening to my son and him being as sick as my daughter was at birth, and neither was my doctor.

Jenn - posted on 03/11/2011

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I didn't realize that you could read ALL L&D nurses minds Sharon. And you're right, it didn't specifically say in the article anything about overuse of the drug, but I wasn't referring to the article, I was referring to Maria's thoughts/feelings on the matter. The article also didn't say that pitocin is "a worthless drug that no one needed."

Amy - posted on 03/11/2011

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Not every skinny woman has great, toned muscles. I specifically did yoga and certain exercises to help at labor time. So when they were telling me they wanted to pit me and I was progressing just fine..not okay.

Main point being that it shouldn't just be routine due to dangers. But should be reserved for the times where it's truly needed - not for "convenience".

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/11/2011

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Sharon, are you a fucking labor and delivery nurse? How would you know the capablilities of every overweight women?

Sharon - posted on 03/11/2011

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PFT - ask an L&D nurse. They hate to see disgustingly out of shape women waddle/stagger through the doors. THEY CAN'T LABOR.

And the post here didn't state that pitocin was overused. It suggested it was a worthless drug that no one needed.

Jenn - posted on 03/11/2011

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I'm actually quite calm Maria - thanks for your concern though. Good to know that if you think a particular, possibly dangerous drug is overused it makes you a hippy who should birth in a barn like an animal.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/11/2011

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I just started a thread on tolerance of obesity...curious of your input Maria.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/11/2011

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I love the tolerance in todays society...Maria, you are a shining example of why people can get very defensive in these threads....well you and Sharon sure said it all. Thank you oh so much.

[deleted account]

Yea that exact part thats what im talking about!. . . . uh no so you can calm down. Altho that might have something to do with it they should take a poll on women who are lazy and just ate their way thru their pregnancy compared to the ones who were very active. Id like to see those results. For real people are always knocking down medicine. Im sure there it does a lot more good than bad or else it would not be used regularly. Like i said i have no problem with it. If you ladies do then just think about all the other medicine and equipment that are used during labor and delivery. im sure there are a lot of sites out there probably made from hippies or what saying how bad those things are too. If it bothers you that much then just have your baby in barn with no medical assisstance at all. Then we will see if me getting pitocin and having a fast delivery had much more damage to my child then you having a baby in a barn. Im all for medical advances bring them on.

Jenn - posted on 03/11/2011

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Maria - what part do you agree with? The part where she said that it only has ill-effects on lardass ho-ho eating couch sitters? I sure as hell hope not.

Christina - posted on 03/10/2011

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It depends on the case. Pitocin was worth it in my case! I had PROM at 35wks with no contractions. I had grossly ruptured. I got to the Hospital, my midwife admitted me. I had a fever. A few hours later, still no contractions, and my fever had gone up to almost 104. My midwife sensed something was terribly wrong, and since I was already a 2.5, hit me hard with pitocin and antibiotics. My daughter was born 3hrs and 7mins after she started my pitocin. Five minutes after my daughter was born, my umbilical cord detached from my placenta. My uterus had gotten infected. I had sever Chorioamnioitis, and it nearly killed my daughter and myself. Had pitocin not been used, one or both of us would be dead right now.

[deleted account]

Infection only becomes a problem after repeated internal examinations. The whole 24 hour hing is shit.

[deleted account]

Well my water had broke and it had already been a couple hours until i had finnaly gotten my own room and bed ( dont get me started on that cuz that i felt was messed up) I believe they did it to rush it so there would be no chance of infection im not sure really im not. And you know what im not really sure why they gave me another dose i guess because i wasnt feeling any contractions and if yuo cant feel them then you cant push ( ??? idk) so since i was so far along and still not feeling anything i suppose thats why they gave me another hit of pitocin.

[deleted account]

Marie, do you feel that it was necessary in your case? You said, "Im not saying im gonna ask for it or anything but if they feel its nessecary then ill get it." Why did they give you pitocin right away, and then again when you were already 8cm?

[deleted account]

I gotta agree with sharon!! ( which is a first yay!! haha) but for real ive only had one baby my water broke went to the hospital and i think they gavr me pitocin right away. Everything was fine then a little later they gave me another dose of it. At 8 cm i started to actually feel contractions got an epi then wam bam baby was here in four pushes no tearing no complications nothing ( well i did have her a month early and did have pre eclampsyia but that wasnt becuase of the pitocin)

I felt it made it go extremely fast and super easy! Im not saying im gonna ask for it or anything but if they feel its nessecary then ill get it. And also i kno there are always gonna be side effects to every little thing ALWAYS but with my experience pitocin is fine people are always gonna find things to freak out over.

Nikkole - posted on 03/09/2011

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Yea i WISH someone would have told me the effects it could have but i think if you NEED it then its a good thing but if i decided to have more (before my hubby had a vasectomy) Then i would have tried to have a vbac or not been induced i would have let things just happen!

Mel - posted on 03/09/2011

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I dont know what was used to induce me they broke my waters then started the drugs but my baby was taken straight to be given oxygen

[deleted account]

Although my doctor ran it by me and told me that's what she suggested doing and I ultimately gave my verbal consent, I find it interesting that some of you had to sign forms to consent. Perhaps they should do that everywhere....

Rosie - posted on 03/09/2011

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i do feel it's a drug and every drug has it's risks, but in my experience my labors induced with pitocin were better than my non pitocin one.

i do wish hospitals would advise women of the risks instead of just pumping them full of the drug, i've heard of that happening to many times. and for the person who said they didn't even tell her they gave it to her (sorry i COM isn't showing your name right now), that's crazy!! i had to sign consent forms for mine.that has to be illegal.

[deleted account]

The thing i found with my last birth that had to be induced is they pushed it. Because my 2nd labour was all of 45 minutes they expected this one to be as fast. It wasn't my son wasn't ready to come. It was horrible and i would never recommend anyone to be induced with dugs. Breaking of my water was fine it started the ontractions but the nurses we not happy with that so they forced me to labour and birth in5 hours instead of letting my body build up.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/09/2011

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I can do all the remarks myself, and I can see them all on the comp under everyones comments...

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/09/2011

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I don't know....mark this comment and I will tell you what it says.

Nikkole - posted on 03/09/2011

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i know its driving me insane and every time i want to read the latest post i have to click the last page and scroll to see it , it used to take you right to the newest post.

Nikkole - posted on 03/09/2011

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@Marina are they all marked helpful now? All i see is a thumb with like next to it

[deleted account]

Thanks! How can some of you see them, and some of us can't? Seriously, this is getting irritating -- is there a button for that?

Nikkole - posted on 03/09/2011

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wow thats horrible Dana, luckily my son was ok, But right after i had him a nurse dropped a baby in the nursery soi was terrified to send my son there needles to say he stayed with me unless the dr had to look at him then my hubby watched.

[deleted account]

Haha!

Nikkole, I just now read through the other responses, and I read about your birthing story. Our stories sound very similar. I was put completely under as well, after a failed epidural. Roxanne was in the NICU for 7 days.

Nikkole - posted on 03/09/2011

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@Dana i HATE the new thumbs up only, i dont think we can mark it different things anymore well at least i know i can't.

Erin - posted on 03/09/2011

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Regardless of where these specific quotes are sourced from, it is widely acknowledged that pit often has a negative effect on the fetal heart rate. The force of a pit ctx is unnaturally high, therefore the baby is under more stress.

Like any medical intervention, pitocin has it's place. No doubt. But it should not be routine, and it certainly should only be administered with the patient's consent. I have heard a ridiculous number of stories where it was slipped into the IV without the labouring woman knowing. This is probably why so many try to avoid the IV like the plague (not that they are routine here as they are in the US).

[deleted account]

Ugh, why do I only get a thumbs up, "LIKE"......why can't I see what you actually marked it, Nikkole? Stupid COMS...

[deleted account]

Pitocin SUCKS ASS! I'm convinced that my shitty labour and emergency c-section, as well as a week long stay in the NICU, was a direct result of them giving me pitocin.

I will do everything in my power to never go through that again. Thank you. That's all I have to say right now...

Nikkole - posted on 03/09/2011

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yea i cant remember anything of my sons except feeling them cut me open then i was out :(

[deleted account]

It was horrible. They kept giving me pain drugs even after the surgery and finally my ex had to tell them to quit drugging me. I was very glad that I had him at the birth of our son for that reason. He made sure that I wasn't overdosed and was able to tell them.... NOTHING stronger than Motrin after the delivery. I actually can remember PART of my son's birth as opposed to only having a couple of extremely blurry thoughts of his sisters' birth....

Bonnie - posted on 03/09/2011

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I had bad back labour and my son's heart rate kept on dropping as well. The nurses kept having switch sides on the bed to see what would help.

Nikkole - posted on 03/09/2011

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@Teresa that must have been awful, i HATE being doped up or feeling like it after i came out of the c section i was sooo loopy i couldn't see straight for about 2hours and i was saying crazy things lol my husband thought i was comical :P

[deleted account]

I had the opposite problem. They od'ed my epi. I was 88 pounds before getting pregnant w/ the girls and the 'drug man' gave me the epi dose for a woman 120 pounds before pregnancy.... I was SO out of it. :(

Nikkole - posted on 03/09/2011

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It really makes you think how seriously some doctors and anesthesiologist take there jobs or how carefully they do things. im glad they up me to sleep i couldn't go through that much pain and to have to sit through it like you did is awful.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/09/2011

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WOW Nikkole...how traumatizing. It amazes me how many people actually suffer the same thing...or close to it. I started being able to feel my c section when they were about to start cleaning out my uterus...I was crying, and the anesthesiologist asked the nurse that was doing it (remember..the Dr left for another section) and she told him it wouldn't be much longer....it got worse...it was like another 45 mins before they wer done. He pushed a little more drug...but that was near the end of it...I wasn't feeling it full force like you...but to actually feel your uterus being cleaned out is insanely painful.

Nikkole - posted on 03/09/2011

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@Amy thank you it was bad but my son came out safe and healthy :) but now i know how people in horror films feel when getting cut open there is NO pain comparable.

Amy - posted on 03/09/2011

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oh nikkole, i don't even know what to say. how awful. no one should have to have gone through that!

Nikkole - posted on 03/09/2011

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I was in great shape before i got pregnant with my son i walked every day and worked 5 days a week (i was 19) i was 41 weeks and no signs of going into labor so my Dr. induced me New years eve morning at 6am they hooked me up to the pitocin (which made my contractions HORRIBLE they broke my water when i was 2cm dilated after that my contractions continued to get worse then at about 6pm i had only dilated to 3cm ever time i would move to my side to lay my sons heart rate would drop drastically to the point it was scary, FINALLY after an hour of me telling the nurses something was wrong they decided to roll me into the OR, i had also received an epidural (but it didn't work and i had told the nurse but she didn't listen) so the doctor thought i was numb and he cut me open i could feel everything so he had to put me out!

With my daughter i had a scheduled c section way less stress but i hated having two c sections the recovery was rough!

Amy - posted on 03/09/2011

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Yeah...I bellydance and had for years actively before induction with daughter. Drugs can have their place, but so many women are "routinely" put on pitocin. No medical reasoning besides it MAY help move things along faster. MAY is not good enough to risk infant life. But...maybe some mothers think it's worth the risk because they "aren't comfortable and want it done".

I think like everything out there, no matter what, do research before putting something into your body - especially when carrying a baby that it will effect. I mean, we're all into the baby's body and what to do and not do with it after it's born....what about before?

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