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Pitocin/Oxytocin & Labor Augmentation

Posted on April 30, 2013

Pitocin is used to help speed up the process of childbirth. It forces the uterus to contract and the cervix to dilate. Pitocin is the drug form of the hormone, oxytocin. Pitocin is an artificial hormone. Women normally produce oxytocin naturally during labor but the artificial form is sometimes necessary when labor is either slowing down or not happening, or in the case of labor augmentation, the water has broke but contractions have not begun. In some circumstances, speeding up labor is necessary for the health of either the mother or baby, or both.

Pitocin is delivered to the mother through an IV and changes the contractions she experiences; they may become longer and more intense. In some instances, these longer and more intense contractions can lead to fetal distress in the baby so a woman receiving Pitocin requires more careful monitoring. It can also lead to postpartum hemorrhage in the mother. Some doctors may only use the drug to get the labor started, and then wean the mother off of it, so as to avoid the complications that are associated with Pitocin.

If you have questions regarding the use of Pitocin or its effect on the mother and/or child, especially in instances resulting in a birth injury, please do not hesitate to contact our office.