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