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ACOG Admits Pitocin May Be More Harmful to Newborns Than Once Thought

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

A news article released by American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists sums a study that was released yesterday by the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York which researched the adverse effects of Pitocin on newborns.

 

 

Quote:

Researchers found that induction and augmentation of labor with oxytocin was an independent risk factor for unexpected admission to the NICU lasting more than 24 hours for full-term infants. Augmentation also correlated with Apgar scores of fewer than seven at five minutes. (...)

The analysis suggests that oxytocin use may not be as safe as once thought and that proper indications for its use should be documented for further study.

 

What are your thoughts on these recent findings?

post #2 of 19

Doesn't surprise me, but I'm glad they're finally figuring it out! My first was born in the hospital and they unnecessarily induced with Pitocin - what a nightmare!dizzy.gif

 

The Dr listened to me say I wanted a natural birth, mumbled "Uh-huh...Nurse, hand me that amnio hook."  And before I could ask "What's that for?" he broke my water and ordered her to start the Pitocin. This was after they discussed how my son was in "posterior presentation" (of course I knew diddly squat about what that meant). I still wound up with a 14 hour labor, sedatives instead of analgesics that led to me requesting an epidural which they botched after waiting until I was in transition to do it, + 2 1/2 hours of pushing with a nurse who was visibly irritated that I kept wanting to squat or get off my back....I was in so much pain, and I knew the baby must be suffering as well.

 

The real tragedy: the pain caused by the Pitocin wasn't limited to what I felt during and after labor.

 

I later found out, when a baby is in "posterior presentation", they are supposed to make every effort to turn the baby before labor progresses...the exact opposite of what they did to us!  Because of the Pitocin, my son's head was jammed in the birth canal and he suffered multiple subluxations in every region of his spine, which didn't allow the plates in his severely pointed head to return to normal, and a jaw that was pulled short to the point he couldn't latch on to nurse and I had to pump for the first 3 weeks...this resulted in an incorrect latch when he did finally nurse, and we wound up with systemic thrush that we couldn't get rid of for nearly 2 years.  

 

Because of this trauma, he suffered significant delays in speech, gross & fine motor, which are still lingering at age 7, and he also has dyslexia/ADD. He learned to walk incorrectly to compensate for his back pain.  Even after a year of chiropractic treatment, he suffered headaches every day until he was 19 months old, when I finally found a cranial-sacral therapist who would see him. We've spent all these years and I can't even count how much money doing chiropractic and cranial-sacral therapy, acupuncture, homeopathics & supplements, occupational therapy, you name it!  He is lucky now to have a fabulous 1st grade teacher who understands his needs, and we finally got him on an IEP at school so he gets accommodations, speech therapy and OT at school.  And the icing on the cake, I still have nerve pain from the botched epidural that I wouldn't have asked for without the Pitocin.  But, just try to prove in court that the hospital's interventions caused all this. HA! irked.gif

 

Needless to say, my next 2 were born all natural in a free-standing birth center - beautiful births, with not one complication, and much faster recoveries for me.  In my opinion, hospital births should be reserved for the high-risk, or life-saving procedures.  A normal, low-risk birth should never take place there. And Pitocin? Scrap it!!!

soapbox.gif

 

Ok, I'm getting off my soap box now...Sheepish.gif

post #3 of 19

I wish they had a link to the actual study report, but I'm a statistics & numbers girl. My Quality Improvment anal heart at work here! :) Other than that, I say finally! Midwives & homebirth circles have known for years that manufactured oxytocin has none of the calming & mediating effects of natural oxytocin and creates stronger, longer, more intense contractions that can stress the baby and actually even cut off the flow through the umbilical cord, so it's validating that knowledge with proven correlation through a study. I'd love to be able to print out that study and take it to my OB/Gyn, who is my back-up, and have real numbers to show why I don't want any sort of induction or augmentation rather than conjecture.

post #4 of 19
I'm so glad to see this study come out and be acknowledged by the medical community. I wish there was more middle ground in the hospital for a natural birth. We attempted a natural birth with my DS in a birth center and ended up having to transfer to the hospital due to complications. We are fairly certain that our DS wouldn't have made it if we had not had him in the hospital and are very grateful for the neonatal team that got him going. I can't bear to think of the precious time that would have been lost if he would have had to have been transported to the hospital by ambulance. I'm also grateful that I was able to labor without pitocin and other interventions while at the birth center. A combination of the freedom of the birth center and the immediate availability of a medical staff when necessary to me would be the best of both worlds.
post #5 of 19

The article doesn't really say much though? Just that babies had lower APGAR scores... how do they know they wouldn't have been even lower without the oxytocin?

post #6 of 19

What drives me a little crazy in this article are the statements like this:

 

These results suggest that Pitocin use is associated with adverse effects on neonatal outcomes. It underscores the importance of using valid medical indications when Pitocin is used.

 

and this:

 

“However, we don’t want to discourage the use of Pitocin, but simply want a more systematic and conscientious approach to the indications for its use,” Dr. Tsimis said.

 

Could they be any more vague? If they aren't going to provide more information about what a "valid medical indication" is or what a "more systematic and conscientious approach" looks like, I'd say it's going to be pretty much business as usual as far as pitocin is concerned. And that doesn't really help anyone.

post #7 of 19

I understood the article to just be a "Reader's Digest" version aimed at the profession as they may not have time to read through the studies... but really, they could have more info for people who may have been interested...

post #8 of 19
Whoa, my3beasties! Ive never heard a story like that concerning posterior presentation and Pitocin! Im so sorry that happened to your son, thank you for sharing.
post #9 of 19
I fully believe it to be possible, but OTOH I like more hard data before having too much faith in reports about studies.
post #10 of 19

Thanks, Myral - I couldn't believe it happened myself, so am always glad to share our story when it seems appropriate.  My hope is that I can help make sure it never happens to someone else's baby!

post #11 of 19

This appears not to have been published in a peer-reviewed journal yet. The article says it was presented at a conference; in my (non-medical) field, conferences are often used to present preliminary findings and work up a paper before submission to a journal. I searched Obstetrics & Gynecology's TOC and site and couldn't find anything under this guy's name. Could be somewhere else, but no time to do a deeper check.

 

ETA- this wasn't even a conference talk, it was a poster. If they get published it could be a year or more before we actually see the details.

post #12 of 19

Without Pitocin I would have ended up with c-section or the kind of damage my grandma had while in labor for 72 hours during WWII.

Yes, everything has risks but NICU is better than a graveyard.

post #13 of 19
I think the issue is that it is treated as though there is no risk at all, and that the risks need to be recognized so that any risk assessment can be reasonable. So yes, there are cases where the risks of pitocin are worth it, but we need to recognize what risks there are.
post #14 of 19
Since when is pitocin treated like it has no associated risks?? Women with Pitocin induced/augmented labors are required to have 1:1 nursing care and continuous monitoring. There are very specific guidelines on upper limits of doseage and how fast you can go up. I do think labors are augmented unnecessarily all the time, but I don't think the perception that it's viewed as benign is accurate.
post #15 of 19

The risks were discussed with me before IV started.

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie8681 View Post

Since when is pitocin treated like it has no associated risks?? Women with Pitocin induced/augmented labors are required to have 1:1 nursing care and continuous monitoring. There are very specific guidelines on upper limits of doseage and how fast you can go up. I do think labors are augmented unnecessarily all the time, but I don't think the perception that it's viewed as benign is accurate.
I think that the very fact that so many labors are unnecessarily augmented is evidence it being viewd as benign. If it's not viewed that way, then an awful lot of women are having serious labor delays necessitating risky intervention....some care providers practice AROM and start most patients on it routinely shortly after being admitted. Pitocin use has very little downside from the hospitals point of view, since it encourages epidural use, a stationary/monitored patient, allows a more managed labor and quicker turnover, and an OB spending less time waiting at the hospital.
post #17 of 19

It does seem that Pitocin use should be confined to "necessary" cases rather than being used routinely. So I think the question is, what is "necessary", and hopefully these findings will start a healthy discussion in the profession about it. You can always find individual women who feel they did or did not need Pitocin. It's the broader picture that really needs to be looked at. 

post #18 of 19

I agree with many of the comments posted above. I think there has to be a thorough risk-benefit analysis done. Two of my three births were pitocin inductions due to Rh disease (WinRho failure). It was either the pitocin inductions at 37w or c-sections (and given my body's unpredictable response to anaesthesia--part of the reason I declined epidurals with all of the births--the pitocin induction seemed the less risky all around). Not without risk, just the most favourable of my unfavourable options. 

 

I was also aware of the risks of pitocin itself and the whole cascade of interventions aspect and worked to avoid that (which I did, twice). Anecdotally, both of my kids had adequate APGAR scores. Aside from needing to be hospitalised for their pathological jaundice from the Rh disease, they came through it fine. But I'd hope that, as with the whole elective c-section issue, that a critical eye is being cast on pitocin use and that it's only mandated for truly warranted cases.

post #19 of 19
One of my births had to be induced, and everyone acted like it was nothing to use pitocin. And I've heard a lot of stories about women being induced with pitocin because her parents are in town or her husband will be out of town the following week or whatever. I just don't think that kind of thing would happen if the risks were really recognized.
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