Naturally Mama.

From one natural mama to another…

Inductions and Pitocin: What you need to know November 15, 2010

I am thankful for some of modern medicine’s advances. These inventions and discoveries can help to sustain life in case of emergencies and things are being done today that were once thought of like how you might feel about someday being able to fly by flapping your pinkie fingers. However, with these extraordinary advances come abuse of what has been made available to us. In the birthing world, inductions and cesareans are being abused. For now, lets look at Pitocin inductions.

According to this article, “Labor induction rates in the United States rose from 9.0 percent in 1989 to 20.5 percent in 2001, but reasons for the increase are poorly defined.” As reported by to ACOG, “In 2006, more than 22% (roughly 1 out of every 5) of all pregnant women had their labor induced.” One out of every five. Are we supposed to believe that 1 in 5 women have a body that cannot spontaneously go into labor? Does that mean that 1 in 5 women have some kind of ‘condition’ that require their babies to be forced out? I don’t believe that for a second.

Only your body and your baby know when they are ready. No matter what anybody, including your Doctor tells you, not every baby takes the same amount of time to fully develop in your womb. I once heard pregnancy gestation compared to apples: You wouldn’t pick them all at the same time, right?

Nowadays, a woman can complain about being uncomfortable a few times and their OB will induce them or cut them open.  Let me fill you in just a bit… Um hello, you’re pregnant and close to giving birth! You’re big, bloated, unbalanced, you pee yourself,  and you cry at commercials… Of course you’re uncomfortable sometimes! (…or all of the time…) Embracing the growing life inside your body can help you look past the discomfort and sometimes unpleasant changes during pregnancy. Induction and scheduled C-sections are not the answer and in fact can cause more discomfort as well as complications.

Unfortunately, many Doctors fail to inform their patients of the potential side effects and risk associated with induction with Pitocin. Side effects/risks of Pitocin & induction include:

  • Increased need for pain medications or an epidural, since contractions can be more intense than normal (I can attest to this!)
  • Prolonged labor- up to 2 or 3 days depending on how your body responds to the Pitocin
  • Uterine rupture
  • Cervical lacerations
  • Retained placenta
  • Postpartum hemorrhaging
  • Increased perineal and pelvic floor pain
  • Anaphylactic reactions
  • Hypertensive episodes (high blood pressure episodes accompanied by headache, chest pain, dizziness, nausea, flushing)
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pelvic hematoma (accumulation of blood in the pelvis)
  • Seizures
  • Need for cesarean section
  • Preterm delivery- your baby may be underdeveloped and/or you may not be as far along in your pregnancy as you thought

Side effects/risks in baby can include:

  • Breathing problems
  • Fetal asphyxia and neonatal hypoxia
  • Umbilical cord problems
  • Fetal injury
  • Jaundice
  • Pitocin may also be a factor in other complications such as Autism & Cerebral Palsy

Is it worth it? You have a choice. If you’re told you need an induction, don’t only ask questions, do your own research. See what your options are and if you feel the benefit outweighs the risk.  Pitocin and inductions should be avoided if at all possible. Labor is a complex bodily function and unnecessarily interrupting the natural process can offset the balance and harmony of our body and how it progresses through labor.


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