Have you ever heard of Pitocin? Do you know why it’s used in the delivery room? What the dangers are?
Birth injury attorney Laura Brown discusses the hormone and why mothers-to-be should be aware of the potential dangers associated with using Pitocin during childbirth.
During labor and inducing labor, a drug called Pitocin is commonly used – used probably in every labor and delivery department in the country at some time or another. Pitocin is a drug that causes the uterus to contract, and increases the frequency or the number of contractions over time. And the reason it’s used is to initiate, to start labor, or to make labor occur at a more regular rate.
However, Pitocin if it’s not used correctly can be very dangerous. There are side effects of Pitocin that can be dangerous to the mother and to the baby. And one of those is a condition called tachysystole. That’s the medical word, but another word for it is uterine hyper stimulation.
And that means the uterus is contracting too frequently, too many times. And because of that the baby doesn’t have enough time between those contractions to rest…to kind of take a breath and reoxygenate and get ready for the next contraction. And if that continues too long, that hyper stimulation of the uterus, then the baby runs of his oxygen reserve, his kind of safety net of oxygen, and is at risk then of suffering a brain injury from lack of oxygen.
There should be signs that the baby is having trouble with his oxygenation on the fetal heart monitor. So if the nurses and medical providers are monitoring the fetal heart monitor, they should see signs of this and should be prepared to act…to help the baby in order to get him to a state that he’s got enough oxygen. There should also be signs of too many contractions on the monitor. The monitor will show that the contractions are too frequent and there should be interventions to stop this.