Pitocin is a drug routinely used by doctors to induce labor. It works by introducing a synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin slowly into your system signaling your uterus to start contracting forcing labor to progress. This could seem like a godsend if you have been in labor for a long time with no sign of moving forward or if you are past your due date and every day is becoming more painful. Below we will go over some of the adverse effects of Pitocin to better inform you before you decided to induce.
Side Effects of Pitocin
The common negative side effects of Pitocin are listed as being quite mild; nausea, vomiting, irritation, stomach pain, etc. These issues are associated with many drugs and may seem well worth the risk to a mother who feels like she has been pregnant forever and eagerly wants to meet her baby. However, there are many dangers involved with prematurely inducing labor. For example, if your cervix is not dilated, there is a greater risk that an emergency cesarean section will need to be performed. This is due to your uterus trying to force the baby out when there is nowhere for the fetus to go.
It is said that augmenting the natural labor process with Pitocin can interrupt a woman’s normal hormones and is even concluded in some studies to have negative side effects on the baby’s brain and hormones as well. Furthermore, it could lead to some serious complications in mothers such as post-partum hemorrhaging or loss of beta endorphins and may even delay the start of breastfeeding.
Contractions brought on by synthetic oxytocin are said by many mothers to be much more intense and painful. Pitocin injected through an IV quickly throws your body into longer and more vigorous labor pains which could potentially put stress on mother and child. This is because a woman’s body would normally release natural doses of the hormone at a slower pace through the pulse. This allows her labor to progress in a more bearable rhythm and gives the cervix time to dilate fully for delivery. This also gives the baby and mom more time to adjust before reaching the home stretch. The time given in-between a natural contraction makes sure that your baby receives the proper flow of blood and oxygen needed to recover from the placenta being compressed through each wave. Without these little breaks, it could lead to an abnormal heart rate, damage to the nervous system, retinal hemorrhaging, and many more awful side effects in the infant.
There are times when induction with Pitocin could be necessary and save lives. If you are well past your due date, most doctors would recommend inducing labor to prevent the chances of stillbirth or other complications. However, if it is not medically needed, make sure to research all possible adverse side effects Pitocin may have to ensure that your birth is as safe as possible.