The Dangers of Drug-Induced Labor

Pregnant woman in hospital bed

Pitocin and other synthetic hormones have been used to induce labor for almost 70 years. The use of these drugs has become more prevalent over time, with 1 in 5 births now induced, rather than spontaneous. However, increased use of these synthetic hormones comes with an increased risk of their adverse effects.

The increased risks of injury from drug-induced labor are clear. Whether women are given prostaglandin or Pitocin, both can have significant impacts on the health of the mother and her baby.


Prostaglandin is used to “ripen” the cervix and to encourage dilation. While prostaglandin is usually safer than Pitocin, there are still significant side effects facing both mothers and their babies. Without close monitoring, mothers and infants are at risk of excessive uterine activity and uterine distress.


Pitocin is the synthetic version of oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.” When used during labor, Pitocin causes uterine contractions that are both more frequent and more powerful. This can have several unintended side effects, especially when the dosage is too high.

Fetal trauma is always a concern when using Pitocin. As the uterus is hyperstimulated, the baby can be injured from the force of the birthing muscles interfering with blood and oxygen flow from the mother’s placenta to the uterus and fetus. This can cause brain injury, cerebral palsy, and even death, from lack of oxygen.

The mother may also be affected. Overstimulation of the uterus can cause postpartum hemorrhaging (excessive bleeding) that could endanger the life of the mother.

Because of the numerous devastating risks that Pitocin carries, labor and delivery nurses and physicians must be highly trained to manage Pitocin during labor in order to avoid catastrophic personal injuries. This is especially important because oxytocin is widely used in many, if not all, hospitals that provide labor and delivery services. Mothers should be fully informed before giving consent for the use of oxytocin, which means they must fully understand the risks.

The devastating consequences of the misuse of oxytocin can have far-reaching and long-term effects on both the mother and the baby. If you or a loved one has experienced bad outcomes due to an induction of labor, the use of oxytocin or Pitocin, or labor and delivery complications, reach out to the attorneys at Daniel Pleasant Holoman.

Babies that experience brain damage during birth may need lifetime care, and our deep and extensive experience in birth injury cases can provide the help you need to hold the responsible parties liable for that lifetime care. There is no cost to speak to someone to assess your case.

If you or your child suffered birth injuries due to drug-induced labor, we are here for you. If you’d like to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced North Carolina birth injury attorneys from Daniel, Holoman & Associates LLP, please send us an email or call (866) 380-2281.