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Pitocin-how bad?

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
Ok, this is a little premature as I am not even pregnant yet but I have some questions as to my first birthing experience and since we are going to be trying for a second soon...

I was induced for dd. My body never dilated, began any sort of labor etc and she was 42 weeks (ok, I am pretty sure on this but not 100% because her due date was a little off IMO so I didn't mind waiting longer into week 42 than I normally would have) with no sign of anything, I tried tons of stuff, sex, castor oil as a last resort, exercise, etc etc. My mother only went into labor with 1 out of the 4 of us, never dilated past 3 and had 4 c-sections. Several of her sisters also have this. I felt like somewhat of a success because I managed a vaginal birth. (my goal was also drug free which did not happen obviously)

I had a combination of things but my question revolves around pitocin. how bad is it? How bad could it be etc? What are the best ways to avoid it? If I am induced again is there a better option that I am just not aware of?

I had no side-effects (that I am aware of) to pitocin. However, it seemed like I had no lead-up to the contractions they were just really steady in intensity the whole time. I also ended up feeling completely paralyzed with shocks shooting up my legs, neck etc. (however I have back issues and it felt like this when dd moved down, ceased when she moved down again etc. no amount of position switching helped and 4 hours later I did have an epidural which wore off for the actual pushing but now that's another story) Could this be related?

This next round I would really like some options and would like to avoid inducing completely.

Sorry if this is the wrong forum and just way too long!

Thanks! lula
post #2 of 57
Hum. Was your body preparing for labor with your first child? I mean, was your cervix moving forward, effacing and dialating? It sounds to me that perhaps you just weren't *quite* ready for labor yet, and perhaps even a couple of days could have made a difference.

What was your body telling you? It's so hard to believe in your body and really listen to it when you're hearing from every angle that it's "faulty," but if you can remember, what was it telling you?
post #3 of 57
Okay- first thing- 42 weeks is TERM, not overdue. Sounds like women in your family just cook babies longer. That's fine.

Find a midwife who's comfortable with 42 week pregnancies and plan a homebirth. Hospitals and Drs. want everything and everyone to be the same, but guess what? We're not.

post #4 of 57
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. I am trying to be better prepared for this birth experience. I am attempting to get up the nerve for a homebirth but I just can't wrap my mind around it...yet.

Honestly my body was telling me nothing about impending birth. No dilation, cervix doing nothing new etc. Now this I actually believe, I had a midwife checking me and I honestly never felt any change. (this is part of the reason I am starting my questions now.) DD was doing ok, moving less but she was a little cramped, so I wasn't concerned. My mind really wanted the baby out but I think that is pretty normal, right? I admit, I was a little nervous my mother went into week 44 with 2 of us and nothing ever happened.

Four of my aunts also have done this, 1 tried to wait for a home birth for each child and all of her kids were induced due to low fetal heartbeats. I think I may have psyched myself out because I kept waiting for something but nothing happened. Argh.

Thanks for the replies, the questions are really helping me focus on this. I don't want to get pregnant until I have some direction to go for the birth. (I was really sick last time)

thanks. lula
post #5 of 57
It's great you're being so proactive in planning the birth of your next child. My suggestion would also be homebirth but another alternative is if you do end up in a situation like your aunts where you need to be induced for low fetal heartrate or other complication is to refuse the pitocin and instead have cervadil (NOT cytotec- that's really dangerous stuff) inserted (or have sex lots to try and induce labor ) they tend to have the same effect. you can use nipple stimulation to get your body's own oxytocin going.

I think pitocin is pretty bad stuff- produces horribly painful contractions (most women end up needing an epidural to cope), they can deprive the baby of oxygen (apoxia I believe?), lead to fetal distress, and interferes with the body's own oxytocin production.
post #6 of 57

Pitocin reply

Hi ....Everyone....

In response to what I have read in this forum...I have had two kids and used pitocin on one and the other natural...I can tell you from my own personal experience. I found that the pitocin made the birthing process easier...because..it made the contractions more regular by doing so I found it easier. With no fetal distress or side affects after. My first son my labor was a 1/2 hour long. My second son it was an hour long both of them were full term. I had with both of my kids a midwife. Found the experience wonderful. The pain was about the same...So as far as how much you feel it is really up to you. I found doing the breathing (lamaze classes) to help alot..and I found the whole birthing experience to be wonderful. This really depends on your pain tolerence. I want to wish you all a happy birthing expereince. Not everyone needs and epidural...when you have pitocin....I delivered both of my children in a hospital...in birthing rooms...and found that experience to be really wonderful as well.......
post #7 of 57
I'm not sure, but I think they use different dosages of pitocin to regulate contractions and to induce labor.

I know with my first, they kept increasing the amount of pitocin--over the course of 7 hours (I would think that would be much more pitocin than they could administer in 60 or 90 minutes.), which would logically lead to more side-effects....
post #8 of 57
Talk to any L&D nurse who spends her days watching the tracings of contractions on the graph paper strip, and she'll describe the steep mountain-like tracing of a Pit contration, decaying slowly, agonizingly, and contrast it with a natural contraction, and its gradual slope up to peak and quick decay looks like a hill.

Talk to me, and I can describe the experience of my firstborn's labor, a Pit-induced labor (an elective induction for convience at 39 weeks) and contrast it with my second's natural homebirth.

When I hear you describe your contractions, lula, I'm reminded of my Pit-labor, and no, it's not fun to have no respite from the intensity of contractoins. That is why a Pit-induced labor must be monitored by a L&D nurse and why fetal distress is the main side-effect of Pitocin--it's A LOT of work for the body to squeeze, squeeze a muscle that tight, for unnatural durations. No duh that babies stress out when they're getting squeezed beyond what is natural.

In contrast, a natural labor has an important, oft-forgotton quality: a laboring woman's body is NOT contracting more than it is contracting. In a given hour of labor, the number of minutes that the womb is contracting is way less than the number of minutes that the body is at rest, relaxing, awaiting the next contraction.

Yes, a natural labor will take longer that way. What did we learn from Aesops the Tortis and the Hare?

Another element you may wish to think about as you contemplate your birth experience is your bag of waters--for sure your caregiver snagged your bag and broke your water, "to speed things along." This eliminates a cushion of amniotic fluid buffering your baby's head during the labor process, and will make any contraction (Pit or regular) more intense (now a SKULL is pressing against your cervix, instead of a fetal head with a bit of fluid cushioning things.) As I read your descriptions about your back discomforts during labor, I'm sure many things could factor into that, incl. an artificially-ruptured bag.

To avoid being induced next time, choose a doc or mw that isn't hell-bent on inducing every woman with a file-folder in their office. Homebirth is of course a great option, and I think it is wise to keep that choice in mind as you think things over--you need to get what you want. This is BIRTH. You MUST do it your way, and I hear you saying your way is to labor naturally, and not be induced.

Your not asking for something amazing, here--you're simply asking to experience one of the most mundane yet magical parts of womanhood: starting labor. But you are asking for something VERY unusual in this obnoxious drive-thru culture....you're not going to get an organic apple at McDonald's, and you'll have a tough time getting an organic labor at McOB's.
post #9 of 57
I had a pitocin induced labor with my son, it was hell. I must mention I have a very high tolerance for pain. I didn't end up getting an epidural but I did say yes to one when the OB said he would get me one. I would have taken being shot as well, I am not trying to be dramatic , all I could do was scream and cry (I am not usually vocal with pain). Luck would have it I had my son too quickly for the epi.
I had my daughter (first birth) natural and it was not very painful. My two labors were night and day. I know for me I'll never have pitocin again and I am still (after 4 yrs.) getting over my sons birthing.
post #10 of 57
My first born was an induced labor with 26 hrs of pit. my next two full term births were drug free, but quick (3.5 and 2.5 hrs). My first was by far more painful. Because my son's birth was so painful and drawn out, and then I had two losses, I tried hard to avoid pit with my next full term birth.

I have not researched to much into studies and all about pit. I do feel though that it is a synthetic hormone and not the same as the real thing, hence the harder longer contractions mentioned by PPs. DES was a synthetic hormone and given for years and years before it was found to cause problems. I also read an article about 5 years ago about autism. A dr who works with autistic kids noticed that more of his patients were induced labors than the general public. I don't think any studies have been done, but it stregrhens my conviction to avoid pit unless it was absolutely needed. Also my son, the induced labor, does have an autistic spectrum disorder. he was induced at 41 weeks because of a failed NST so itr could be something else was going on too. I don't think autism can be blamed on one thing such as pit.

If you are concerned about what OB community calls post date pregnancies, given your family history too mabey you could negotiate for NSTs and another week or something. http://www.birthlove.com/free/ten_month_mama.html has lots of info and stories of mothers with long pregnancies.
post #11 of 57
I do not know much about pitocin but, at 42-weeks my relatively "hands-off" doctor (no really, he was hands-off - I only saw him at the beginning for the cervadil, once in the middle of labor and at the end to give me a couple stiches) suggested cervadil. Since it is topical and it works to soften the cervix, it can lead to labor (sometimes it may require more than one application). For me, it worked wonderfully (labor built up slowly, it seemed natural) and I do not think that my labor was as bad as the pitocin mama's across the hall from me (who was in agony for most of the day and then ended up with a c/s). Cervadil may not be the answer for everyone but, it is an option (and I think a better one than pit )
post #12 of 57
OK - another pit story....When describing my birth where I was induced with pit: I literally felt like I was being ripped apart just above my pelvic bone. Honestly - the best way to describe it, for me, was as though there was a knife being plunged into my lower abdomen with every single contraction. The BEST I could do was hold my breath - because if I breathed I KNEW the most godawful sound was going to come out. Did I have an epidural? YOU BET! By the time I hit 4 cm.

Now....In contrast - with my all natural birth. For each contraction I was able to breathe, moan, concentrate...We met my midwife at the hospital when I was 8cm - never once felt like I needed any sort of pain relief - as my contractions felt intense and consuming but not really "painful" - I ended up pushing that sweet baby out with her face shining up to the stars!

I also met a woman who had given birth to 4 kids - her first 3 were all natural...her 4th (for whatever reason her new DR had) was induced - she said she had NEVER felt pain like that in all of her life and ended up with an epidural - and that baby wasn't even her biggest.....
post #13 of 57
both of my boys were pitc induced. with Epi. My daughter (the middle child) was natural, i knew my body was working, but I was never in pain.
post #14 of 57
I personally think pitocin is a nasty drug. In my L&D they gave it to me at 8cm and it really increased the pain... and my contractions had no breaks - it made them like one big long never-ending contraction.

Also, pitocin places you are risk for a placental abruption and a ruptured uterus. I also read in a few different places that mothers who get pitocin have a higher rate of C-Sections (not sure if this is the cause or if the women were headed down that route anyhow - which would be why they were given pit in the first place.) Also... pit is linked to pp hemorrhaging. Several years ago, even the FDA issued warnings about the overuse of pit, stating to only use when medically neccessary - because according the the FDA - it was used WAY too often to induce labors.
post #15 of 57
contractions should build, like a hill. Imagine the monitor tape. Your contx shuld look like a hil, up and down. When the contx are at their peak, your babe is pretty squished. She gets less oxygen then, because it is simply harder to breathe when you are squished.

Pitocin contractions don't look like hills. They look just like you said they felt. They come on at a high intensity and saty there. They look like a plateau. Big spike that stays high, then drops off. Instead of only a few seconds of baby being squeezed tightly and getting less oxygen, with pit contx, baby gets less oxygen through the whole contraction.

Some folks cook babes longer than 42 weeks. My friend Sandra grows babies for 43 weeks. My pregnancies are 41 weeks. I suggest you ignore the calender and wait until your baby and your body say they are ready!
post #16 of 57
I had a pit induced labor. The contractions were awful at at 4cm dilated the doc said the contractions were so stroong that I should be pushing- but I was only 4cm, so they pushed me into a c-section. Granted, I was not prepared for that or educated about it, so I consented. I tried to fight it, but my baby was also swimming in merconium, so I was told that it was best for the baby. Also I should add that my body was not preparing me for labor at all though before I was induced.

My 2nd child things will be different.
post #17 of 57
I could have written the first part of your post. I was induced at 42 weeks 0 days after having been in labor for already 2+ days and making no progress. They couldn't even REACH my membranes to try to strip them at 41.5 weeks. Even after pit, higher dose of pit, higher yet dose of pit, breaking my water, and many, many hours of one minute on, one minute off intense contractions I was barely a 4. Finally I agreed to nubain and my whole body relaxed. In less than 2 hours I was at a 10.

This time have a homebirth planned with two midwives in January. I am hoping it will be different.

They believe based on what I told them about my 1st pg that the baby was posterior and that caused all of these problems (including pushing for 2 hours 20 minutes). They can tell the position of the baby and have exercises I can do near the end to ensure the baby is in the optimal position which they say can help.

A cousin didn't progress in labor and ended up with 3 C-sections and the belief that her body wouldn't do what it should. The nurse-midwives at the hospital told me my body wouldn't organize into productive labor. I lost faith in my body. My homebirth midwives are restoring that faith.

Best wishes on your next pg!
post #18 of 57
Pitocin can cause an amniotic embolism, which means the amniotic fluid can back into the mother's blood supply and catch in the lungs ad the mother can become very sick from this.

It is rare and mostly associated with pitocin support for labor.
post #19 of 57
having my first with a pitocin augmented labor, i say that my two subsequent homebirths were one million times more manageable and enjoyable than my birth w/pit. i was initially terrified to birth again after my first birth, and i feel angry and sad that any woman has to endure those feelings regarding what can, and should, be the most amazing experience of her life. pitocin is NOT our friend.

keep everyone's hands and drugs out of our bodies, especially during labor!

there is a fantastic mothering article about ecstatic birth that i highly recommend reading. i'll try and find the link here in a minute
post #20 of 57
Originally Posted by Hayes
They look like a plateau. Big spike that stays high, then drops off. Instead of only a few seconds of baby being squeezed tightly and getting less oxygen, with pit contx, baby gets less oxygen through the whole contraction.
These are called tetonic contractions. They can kill the baby and rupture the uterus.

Why women are subjected to this and why women consent to them is beyond me.
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