According to new research presented at the annual clinical meeting of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there are concerns that Pitocin, the brand of oxytocin most commonly used to induce or augment labor, may cause serious health concerns for newborn babies. Which doesn’t surprise me at all considering my own checkered history with the drug.
This study, presented by Dr. Michael S. Tsimis, is the first to take a serious look at the affects of Pitocin on newborns:
“As a community of practitioners, we know the adverse effects of Pitocin from the maternal side,” Dr. Tsimis said, “but much less so from the neonatal side. These results suggest that Pitocin use is associated with adverse effects on neonatal outcomes. It underscores the importance of using valid medical indications when Pitocin is used.”
The potential risks for the mother are already well-known, especially among natural childbirth advocates.
Pitocin is the most commonly used drug for induction and according to the CDC, 23 percent of all births are induced and many more women are given the drug to augment a lagging labor to speed things along.
Using the Adverse Outcome Index, Dr. Tsimis’s study looked at the medical records of over 3,000 women who had full-term babies at Beth Israel hospital between the years of 2009 and 2011. The research suggests that the highest risk factor is for infants who are admitted to the NICU for more than one day. There was also correlation between using Pitocin to augment labor and Apgar scores of seven and below. An Apgar score of eight and above is considered good health, anything lower may signal a health issue.
The researchers are quick to say that they aren’t trying to dissuade people from using Pitocin. They simply want to encourage further investigation into its use, but I certainly won’t be using it again.
Out of three live births, I was only given Pitocin once — and I experienced the worst childbirth out of my three kids.
I was given Pitocin to speed up my already steadily progressing labor. The pain was horrendous, my blood pressure skyrocketed, I had issues breathing and my heart rate became erratic. My contractions came unnaturally fast and when my daughter was born she had a lowered Apgar score at five minutes as well as jaundice.
After giving birth I ballooned up due to swelling, which lasted for days. The worst part was that I wasn’t given a choice in the matter. My doctor ordered it given to me without consulting me and then looked at me like I was crazy when I questioned it.
I can’t say for sure that it was Pitocin that caused these issues, but what I do know is that my other two births went off without a hitch.