Pitocin – Be aware!

In recent days there has been much chatter in the birth and consumer worlds about the use or rather misuse of the synthetic oxytocin drug Pitocin (ICAN, unnecesarean, nursingbirth, daytondailynews).

Pitocin is used very commonly in the United States before labor to induce, during labor to augment the process and post birth for the purpose of eliminating or preventing  hemorrhage. Women are told that it is just like the oxytocin she produces, it is a way to mimic natural labor, it is no big deal, etc.  Clearly that is not the case.  Unfortunately women are rarely if at all informed of the manufacturer’s protocol’s for use or the documented risks and  consequences to her and her baby as seen here – pitocinKingPharmPamphlet.

For a drug this powerful to be used routinely for  non-medically indicated induction and unnecessary labor augmentation is frankly terrifying and unethical.  How many complications go unreported or under reported that are directly attributed to such liberal Pitocin use? The thought is staggering.  My heart aches and sobs as there are thousands of women and babies suffering needlessly every minute, every hour, every day and every year.  The advocate in me raises a fist and grabs a bullhorn. Please spread the truth.

The many women who come out of birth terrified and traumatized.  They say how painful, how out of control, how trapped in bed, how unable to cope without pain medication, how they fear for another labor, how they don’t ever want to go through that again and so on.  Next time you hear that ask her if she was induced or augmented with Pitocin.  I think you will be astounded by how many will say yes and how many will give an account of the cascade of interventions that came with it.

Women I believe overall say yes to induction and augmentation because they have no idea of the true risk involved, and of the deep held ideal that no care provider or staff would recommend or allow any procedure (yes it is a procedure) that could harm a woman and a baby unless the benefit greatly outweighed the risk.  I do not believe that a care provider or staff member is trying to do harm, but more the realistic function that there is another medication to fix it, a protocol to manage it or the go to cesarean option to handle the pit-to-distress syndrome.

Every pregnant woman must find out how her care provider uses Pitocin with his or her patients.  She needs to inquire with the birth facility as to normal protocols surrounding this medication.

Be aware.  Be informed.  A decision only can be made well when the playing field is leveled.