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Do you believe your OB ignored the dangers of pitocin?

By the time you reached the end of your pregnancy, you were probably ready for the delivery to take place. You may not have been sleeping well, and walking may have been a feat in and of itself. When you went to see your doctor, the suggestion of inducing labor came up, and you probably (at least somewhat) enthusiastically agreed.

When the big day finally arrived, you settled into your hospital bed and someone came in to set you up with an IV full of Pitocin. Your obstetrician told you that this drug, which is a synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin, will help your labor along. Now all you had to do was wait for the drug to do its job. Right?

What happens while you wait?

Using Pitocin is not without its risks. Your doctors and the nurses on the maternity ward should have  closely monitored you and the baby for any of the following:

  • Baby's heart rate
  • Your heart rate
  • Your contractions
  • Your blood pressure
  • Fetal distress
  • Abnormal fetal position
  • Intrauterine pressure, if possible
  • Uterine hyperactivity
  • Fetal prematurity
  • Uterine prolapse
  • Placenta previa

If any of these gets out of control, the administration of Pitocin should have stopped. Of course, if an emergency with either you or your baby arose, your medical team should have stopped the Pitocin as well. Your doctor should also have made sure that you do not suffer from a condition that would prevent your doctor from safely inducing your labor with Pitocin.

What are the risks to you and your baby?

All this monitoring may seem excessive, but considering the fact that inducing labor with Pitocin causes a decrease in oxygen and blood flow to your baby, it's vital. If the medical staff attending your birth fails to keep a close eye on you and your baby, the consequences could be devastating. For instance, a lack of oxygen and blood flow could result in your child suffering from cerebral palsy, death or some other health consequence.

As for you, the following health consequences are possible:

  • Uterine rupture
  • Post-birth hemorrhaging
  • Premature laceration of your cervix
  • Water intoxication

In most cases, inducing labor in this manner turns out as it should. However, if the dosage was incorrect or someone failed to properly monitor you and your baby, you could be facing an uncertain future. If you believe that an error led to such health consequences for you or your baby, you may want to hold the responsible party or parties accountable. A thorough evaluation of your situation could reveal an avenue for the pursuit of compensation.

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