What is Pitocin?

a mother hold baby feet

Pitocin is drug that is used to induce or augment labor and delivery. While this drug may have benefits for mother and child if used appropriately, there are also serious risks associated with its usage. This blog post will discuss what Pitocin is, how it is used in the medical setting and the potential consequences that may come from its use.

What Is Pitocin?

Pitocin (generic name oxytocin) is a synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin that is produced naturally in pregnant women by their bodies. Both oxytocin and the man-made version Pitocin stimulate contractions of the uterus during childbirth, which can help bring about delivery more quickly. However, it can also have serious side effects if not monitored closely or used excessively.

In fact, Pitocin has been issued a “black box” warning by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has been designated as a “High Alert Medication” By the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP).

How Is Pitocin Used?

Pitocin is generally used either to induce labor or to augment labor if progress has stalled or become too slow. In addition, it can be used to reduce postpartum bleeding. In order to ensure patient safety, doctors must monitor both mother and child closely while administering Pitocin during labor and delivery.

Risks of Using Pitocin

If not administered correctly or monitored closely enough, Pitocin can have serious and potentially fatal risks for both mother and child. For mothers, these include:

  • Uterine rupture (tearing of the uterus)
  • Postpartum hemorrhage
  • Pelvic hematoma (collection of blood outside of blood vessels)
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain)
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Loss of consciousness

The risk for babies, if not properly monitored, includes:

  • Brain damage such as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
  • Excessive uterine activity
  • Retinal hemorrhages
  • Fetal distress and heart abnormalities
  • Seizures
  • Death

These conditions may not appear by themselves, as other severe injuries or disabilities may follow them. For example, HIE, or lack of blood flow or oxygen to the brain, can lead to further problems like cerebral palsy, behavioral disorders and seizure disorders.

When used properly under close monitoring by a qualified healthcare provider, Pitocin can be an effective tool for speeding up labor and delivering a healthy baby safely into this world. However, because it carries so many risks when not used properly or monitored closely enough, it’s important for expectant mothers to know all they can about potential complications associated with using this drug before making any decisions regarding their pregnancy care plan.

Experienced Birth Injury Attorneys in Wilmington, NC

If you or your child were injured due to improper use or administration of Pitocin while giving birth – you might be eligible for compensation through filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against your doctor or hospital who provided care during your childbirth experience. Speak with an experienced birth injury attorney at Daniel, Holoman & Associates LLP today if you believe you may have been harmed due to improper use of this drug at any point throughout your pregnancy journey!

Contact us today at (866) 380-2281 for a free initial consultation.

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