Pitocin makes it hurt worse? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 51 Old 02-10-2009, 11:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Really? Why?

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#2 of 51 Old 02-10-2009, 11:40 PM
 
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I believe it makes the contractions more intense and it does so when the body isn't really ready to.
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#3 of 51 Old 02-10-2009, 11:40 PM
 
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I've heard it's insanely more painful. The contraction are harder, faster, more intense, and interfere with your body's natural pain coping techniques. It can also cause fetal distress and I've seen data suggesting it leads to higher C-section rates (the slippery slope of intervention).
Pitocin is horribly overused in the hospital setting. It has some valid uses but it's become standard with little medical indication.

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#4 of 51 Old 02-10-2009, 11:50 PM
 
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I have heard it is like 'transition' the entire time (depending on dose). I unfortunately was scared into being induced and found it very intense from about 20 minutes after they began the pitocin. I was already 4 cm when I checked into the hospital (had not felt any contractions up to that point). I would like to think the next time will not be quite so intense.

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#5 of 51 Old 02-10-2009, 11:52 PM
 
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If you have to ask, you've never been on it. Think strapping yourself to the front of a freight train.
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#6 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 12:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Have there been studies about it? Does it increase the risk of certain complications? Why -- physiologically -- does it hurt worse?

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#7 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 12:30 AM
 
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Part of the reason is that you are getting a continuous dose of the hormone that causes you to contract. When you don't have pitocin, the hormone comes in waves, and you get a break between contractions.

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#8 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 12:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by *MamaJen* View Post
I've heard it's insanely more painful. The contraction are harder, faster, more intense, and interfere with your body's natural pain coping techniques. It can also cause fetal distress and I've seen data suggesting it leads to higher C-section rates (the slippery slope of intervention).
Pitocin is horribly overused in the hospital setting. It has some valid uses but it's become standard with little medical indication.
yes to all this. I found pitocin induced contractions much much more painful than 'natural' contractions and they had me begging for pain relief even after I had gone over 24 hrs in active labor without even considering drugs.

Pretty sure pitocin is the main reason for my DD's "distress" and thus the resulting c-section. The c-section that I wish more than anything could have been avoided because I've had a total of 4 now, at least 3 of which were likely not truly necessary.

eta: and yeah, it's artificial oxytocin and contractions can be unbearable because they are literally on top of each other, with no time to relax a single muscle in your body.

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#9 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 12:38 AM
 
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I only had a little pit to augment one of my labors and I had an epidural, so I can't speak to the pain of pit. But I did have more intense contractions in my most recent labor, without the epi, and it was like one giant contraction (5 cm to delivery in under 90 minutes). It is well known that pit makes the contractions faster, more intense, etc., which is the whole purpose of giving it. More intense contractions hurt more. It really is that simple.

Think of a charlie horse or other cramp. Now imagine a more intense one. More intense = more painful. Just like active labor contractions usually hurt a whole lot more than contractions earlier in the pregnancy.
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#10 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 12:55 AM
 
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Have there been studies about it? Does it increase the risk of certain complications? Why -- physiologically -- does it hurt worse?
It increases the risk of uterine rupture, over stimulated uterus, fetal distress, hemorrhage, etc. No drug is without side effects. Yes, there have been studies done and the package insert lists those complications.

It hurts worse because it creates stronger contractions. Mine were off the chart on the TOCO. Which just before they were registering in the 40s. It increased it 3xs what they were.

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#11 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 01:09 AM
 
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And when oxytocin is naturally created, it crosses your blood brain barrier, releasing the good endorphins in your brain (again naturally). Pitocin is artificial and doesn't release the endorphins. And as mentioned, your body is no longer in control of the contraction, breaks, or effects on baby. I'm having a homebirth in late August, so I'll be able to give my own anecdote - but my experience with and subsequent research into pitocin is one of my main reasons for a homebirth.

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#12 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 01:13 AM
 
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Yes yes yes times 10.

I was induced with DD -- I wasn't dilated at all. It was hellish.
I had DS at home and it was a breeze in comparison. Transition at home was totally like the whole time on pit. I won't even go into what transition on pit was like. shudder.
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#13 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 01:20 AM
 
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Pit made me feel out of my mind. I couldn't bear...it came too hard, too fast without the benefit of any natural hormones to help me bear it.
Natural birth is intense too...but it's different.
I described it this way to a friend right after my 2nd birth (natural, at home)....
Being on Pit felt like being in the teeth of a dragon....natural birth was like being on the back of a dragon : ) It was intense but I was still in control.
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#14 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 01:22 AM
 
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One of the most riduculous things I have ever heard was "We just broke her water, and hooked up the Pitocin now we just wait for nature to takes it's course" (guess which TLC show that was). There is a huge difference in Pit. contraction and the natural ones. Part of the problem I see as a doula is that mom's induced with pit have alot less mobility since they are hooked up to monitor continously. In the end there is nothing that mimics the body perfectly.
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#15 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 02:06 AM
 
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ITA with what PP have said. My contractions felt like they were overlaping when I was induced. There was no "rest period" between them. I went from almost nothing to transition in just under three hours. Way too fast for my body and very intense.

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#16 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 03:05 AM
 
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I've had a Pitocin-augmented labor and an all-natural one. I will take ten more all-natural labors before I would ever have Pitocin again! It was horrible! Like one big contraction that I couldn't escape from.

Another bad side effect of Pitocin is that it can cement a poorly aligned baby into the wrong position so it can't shift out of it for birth. It makes the uterus clamp down so tightly that there is no room for the baby to maneuver. I bet there have been a lot of C-sections done because baby was in a bad position and couldn't get out of it due to Pit.
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#17 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 04:17 AM
 
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Another bad side effect of Pitocin is that it can cement a poorly aligned baby into the wrong position so it can't shift out of it for birth. It makes the uterus clamp down so tightly that there is no room for the baby to maneuver. I bet there have been a lot of C-sections done because baby was in a bad position and couldn't get out of it due to Pit.

yes to this, too. I also think this contributed to my "failure to progress", definitely. To me, Pitocin = awful, awful, awful.

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#18 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 11:58 AM
 
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And when oxytocin is naturally created, it crosses your blood brain barrier, releasing the good endorphins in your brain (again naturally). Pitocin is artificial and doesn't release the endorphins.
:
Exactly! Endorphins are a natural opiate - they both help relieve pain and elevate your mood. (Exercise releases them too - think "runner's high") But since pit doesn't cross the blood-brain barrier, it doesn't help release endorphins.

So it makes ctrx more powerful & painful simultaneously depriving you of your natural pain relief.

I don't think anyone yet mentioned that it makes the uterus contract in a different way. Pretty sure I read this in "Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth." It normally contracts in a wave from the top down, whereas pit makes it just squeeze in all at once - so the ctrx are more powerful & squeeze the fetus more - contributing to the fetal distress. That, in addition to the fact that the ctrx are often longer & closer together.

One analogy I read is that the squeezing can deprive the fetus of oxygen. So the pit contractions - being longer, stronger & closer together, contributes to fetal distress because it is like holding a baby underwater and just bringing him up out of the water briefly for a gasp of air before dunking him under again. : I know, a horrible thought!
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#19 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 12:01 PM
 
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I was given pitocin to induce my labor, even though I was already 5cm upon arrival (hadn't felt anything though). About 20 minutes after they started the pitocin, the contractions came out of nowhere and were INTENSE. I didn't have any drugs, but like others described above - it was like transition the whole time. Luckily my whole labor was 2 hours - 45 min. of that was pushing, but the whole time was one horrible contraction on top of another. I'd never have pitocin again, it was not fun at all! I wish I had just waited & let my body continue what it was doing.

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#20 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 12:07 PM
 
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I had one pit birth, one drug-free. The pain was the SAME surprisingly. However, with my homebirth, I had more breaks, and my body actually stopped contractions for a while and they were 4 min apart allowing me to rest, whereas the pit ones just come one on top of the other. Thats what made it unbearable.

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#21 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 01:03 PM
 
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I get the sense that you are looking for evidence vs. anecdotes so here's some quickly (should be working):

Here is the best description I've read in lay terms of the downsides and physiological workings of pitocin:
http://www.pushedbirth.com/

click on "why not schedule it" at the top to see the section that describes how pitocin works. An excerpt:
"Pitocin replicates oxytocin’s muscle, producing strong uterine contractions, but it does not pass to the brain. You don’t get the warm and fuzzies with the pharmaceutical version. Furthermore, it shuts down your body’s own oxytocin production. That means that when you get Pitocin in your IV — whether you’re being induced or just “augmented” — you’re missing out on the natural oxy-rush."

There's also some scientific-research-based discussion of pitocin induction here in the Millbank Report on Evidence Based maternity care:
http://www.milbank.org/reports/0809M...rnityCare.html

An excerpt, with citations of studies:
"Synthetic oxytocin, which is widely used to induce labor, interferes with the functioning of a woman’s own oxytocin receptors (Phaneuf et al. 2000). This may adversely affect other important functions of a mother’s natural oxytocin release, such as reducing postpartum hemorrhage and contributing to attachment and the establishment of breastfeeding (Buckley 2004)"

And there is Childbirth Connection's "Guide to Effective Maternity Care" - you can download the pdf here, but you will have to register (well worth it, if you have an interest in facts and research on childbirth)
http://www.childbirthconnection.org/...oad=gecpc3ch40

Here is an excerpt:
"Any agent that causes uterine contractions, whether it be a drug such as oxytocin or a prostaglandin...may also cause excessive uterine contractility. Excessively frequent or prolonged uterine contractions may affect blood flow from and to the placenta, which will in turn reduce fetal oxygenation. Uterine rupture is a further, though much rarer, consequence of excessive stimulation of uterine activity. The balance of evidence suggests that induction of labor with oxytocin increases the incidence of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia."
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#22 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Megan, YES! I am looking for evidence, too.

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#23 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 02:00 PM
 
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I had 2 births, one with pit, one without. Pitocin is beyond evil when it comes to the pain. Pitocin contractions are way worse than the transition contractions I had laboring without pit.
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#24 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 02:51 PM
 
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If you have to ask, you've never been on it.
...or never not been on it. I knew a woman who had three kids. Her third was the only one where she went into labour naturally. She told me afterwards that she had no idea labour didn't have to hurt that much, because she had no idea the pain she'd felt with her first two was augmented.

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#25 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 03:12 PM
 
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i was induced with DS and i never want that agian. I am going as far as i can with this one. I was not anywere near ready i dont think. I was only dialated 1 cm and had been that way for only a week so i think i wasnt ready even though i was 9 days "overdue". As soon as they broke my water the pitocin gave me horrible contractions and i went ahead with the epidural which i felt bad about and i was in labor for 15 hours with pitocin. I just wished i could have been more informed. I was young and now i know i want to try natural for the next. Most of my friends did theres all natural and they all have 4 to 5 kids so i know it cannot be bad. I think if i had been better informed i would have decided agiants it but i felt as though it was a have to thing.I hated the fact of spending my whole labor experience in a bed at a hospital not able to enjoy any of it.

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#26 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 05:21 PM
 
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I noticed a HUGE difference in natural labor vs. pit-induced labor. I'm echoing many of the PP's thoughts on the differences. I hate to think that anyone having an induction would have to feel the ctx I had with my first labor which was the induction. Such a difference between the 2...having breaks between contractions and the normal crossing of the bloodbrain barrier, oxyrush,etc. made a huge difference! I was just so excited that my body went into labor on its own: It works!!! On a sad note I don't really know anyone who went into labor on their own, just lots of inductions just too bad....

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#27 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 05:44 PM
 
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...or never not been on it. I knew a woman who had three kids. Her third was the only one where she went into labour naturally. She told me afterwards that she had no idea labour didn't have to hurt that much, because she had no idea the pain she'd felt with her first two was augmented.
All 3 of my babes have been pit induced labors.
w/ my first I had about an hour and 1/2 with an epi (about 17 hours in), then whamo! epi gone~ transition and pushing, i was thankful for the 1.5 hours at the time but even more thankful it was gone and I felt my birth. that labor was 21 hours, incredibly hard, I had no experience w/ labor before, didn't know, just went with the contractions.

w/ my second, full throttle pit, 14 hours of HARD INTENSE labor, no breaks in contracts., it was bad, I was out of my mind with the pain. took no pain meds at all. It made me fear my next birth it was so unbearable but my son was perfect. It was by far my hardest labor. Absolute torture. I truly thought I was dying. It was a 14 hour contraction w/back labor. My saving grace was moving and singing him down. My dh had an unbel. hard time with this labor.

my 3rd was again an induction w/pitocin~ again no pain meds~ the only necessary 1 of the 3 in my hindsight. My m/w was gentle with the pit (she wasn't there w/ ds), it was a whole other exper. than that w/ my ds. It was not the torture it was with him. It was my healing birth by far. For many reasons I won't go into here. It was intense, but bearable. In fact breathing her down, the highest part of my mind was asking me~ could I be this far? where is the pain I had w/Sam? It was excruciating for sure but I had breaks, I could breathe, I was focused, I was on top of the wave not under it like my second birth.

I'm sorry I don't have a pitocin free birth to compare. Maybe someday.

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#28 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 09:59 PM
 
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ITA with what PP have said. My contractions felt like they were overlaping when I was induced. There was no "rest period" between them. I went from almost nothing to transition in just under three hours. Way too fast for my body and very intense.
Wait, were you there for DD's birth? I don't remember seeing you ...

Yes, this was exactly it. I had heard contractions described as curves, like a bell curve, gently sloping up and down. For me, I described it as plateaus: straight up from the beginning of the contraction to the peak, but then it stayed there for a REALLY LONG time--I had time to take two deep breaths and "sound" them out during each peak--then it slowly started down. Just as it was getting back to flat, another straight up leap began. YOWCH!

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#29 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 10:09 PM
 
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ITA with what PP have said. My contractions felt like they were overlaping when I was induced. There was no "rest period" between them. I went from almost nothing to transition in just under three hours. Way too fast for my body and very intense.
oh yeah, same here. horrible. I'm so mad at myself for being bullied into by my midwives. I will never do it again. horrible labor

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#30 of 51 Old 02-11-2009, 10:23 PM
 
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It increases the risk of uterine rupture, over stimulated uterus, fetal distress, hemorrhage, etc. No drug is without side effects. Yes, there have been studies done and the package insert lists those complications.

It hurts worse because it creates stronger contractions. Mine were off the chart on the TOCO. Which just before they were registering in the 40s. It increased it 3xs what they were.
TOCO (as in external monitoring) doesn't gauge strength of contractions, only that you're having them. To see the strength of contractions an IUPC is needed.

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