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Is Pitocin Overused?

Many professionals believe that Pitocin is used far more frequently than is necessary and may cause more harm than good. Pitocin, which is the brand name for a compound containing synthetic oxytocin and other derivatives, is used to induce or accelerate labor. However, the risks to mothers and their children are prompting the medical community to take a closer look at the consequences.

Taking a more cautious approach to using Pitocin during birth

While Pitocin can be medically necessary if your labor is lagging, many times it is used too early or too late into labor, or as part of a scheduled birth, when a physician or hospital wants your labor to fit into a busy schedule. While the dangers Pitocin poses to mothers have been known for some time (increased pain, longer contractions and greater likelihood of C-section delivery), a recent study found adverse effects to newborns. These may include:

  • Greater likelihood of neonatal intensive care (NICU) admission for emergency intervention
  • Lower Apgar scores, due to:
    • Respiratory distress
    • Low heart rate
    • Reduced reflex and muscular responses
    • Poor skin coloration

When Pitocin leads to birth injuries

The dangers presented by Pitocin increase significantly when it is administered improperly. If given too fast or without proper monitoring of mother and child, the risks of long-term, permanent or even fatal outcomes may result. If you were given Pitocin during birth and you suffered a uterine rupture, or your child suffers from brain damage, cerebral palsy, or hypoxia or has passed away, contact a medical malpractice attorney for guidance.

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