Allergic to Pitocin? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-09-2010, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As I am preparing for my upcoming birth in March, I am thinking a lot about my daughter's birth in 2006. It was a long, slow, Cytotec induction, and I recieved Pitocin after 12 hours at 4cm.

The Pitocin made me feel so ill. Other than increasing the intensity and frequency of the contractions and making me shake and shudder uncontrollably, I felt like I couldn't breathe. I had an oxygen mask on, and I was sucking it against my face so hard, and I still felt like I couldn't get enough air. I actually had to take the O2 mask off and hold it 2 inches or so away from my face during the contractions or I felt like I was suffocating. I tore the hospital gown off, and I wouldn't let anyone touch my face, neck, or chest. The Pit had only been turned up once, so was on the 2nd lowest dose.

Even though they didn't think it was the Pit that was causing the symptoms, the nurses turned it off at my request. I could breathe again!

I went on to deliver without any more Pit or anything.

So, is this a normal side effect of Pitocin? Is it an allergic reaction? Has anyone else experienced this?
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Old 02-09-2010, 04:42 PM
 
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IDK, but when I was given Ambien to help me sleep when I was being induced with my 2nd, it made me feel funny, and have some slight visual hallucinations. When I had my third, I mentioned this to my nurse, and she put in my chart I was allergic to Ambien. She said that anything that gives you an adverse effect, even if it's not severe, should be listed as an allergen.

If you have concerns about being given it again, I would go ahead and say you're allergic...because having had it 3 times, I've never had any issues like you've described, and I think they sound serious enough to not risk having pit again.

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Old 02-09-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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I think I would do everything I could to avoid an induction or Pitocin in my upcoming birth, including laboring at home as long as possible, researching everything I could about birth, getting a doula, writing a birth plan and if medically and logistically possible, switching to the care of a midwife.
Actually, I think every woman should do those things in every low-risk pregnancy.

Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
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Old 02-09-2010, 04:54 PM
 
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I don't know, but if I even suspected it, I'd be avoiding it!

Doctors and nurses are quick to dismiss claims about severe reactions to meds, I think because if they admit that the med caused a problem they could get in trouble for 1) not catching the reaction themselves or 2)continuing to give it even after you had a reaction.

My DD had a severe reaction to albuterol and the doctors swore up and down that "albuterol would never do that". I did my own research and found out it's actually a common reaction in kids with neuro issues. They just didn't want to admit that they were wrong and she was reacting severely for 2 weeks and mom figured out what the problem was before they did.

We now state the DD is allergic to albuterol, even though a doctor never confirmed it. They don't even question it and just put it in her chart.
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Old 02-09-2010, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I am definitely NOT going back to a hospital with this one (although that has more to do with the cytotec!!! than the pitocin). I was seeing midwives for my daughter's birth, too, but I was risked out of their care minutes before the "emergency" induction. So, I need to be prepared for all eventualities for my own peace of mind.

I have seen several people claim that it is not possible to be allergic to Pit... but on drug fact websites, it says that shortness of breath is a symptom of an allergic reaction to Pit...
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Old 02-09-2010, 05:58 PM
 
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I didn't have Pit (and as my next will be a vbac I don't plan on it), I did however have a spinal and discovered that I am allergic to morphine.

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Old 02-09-2010, 06:02 PM
 
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Yeah, I am definitely NOT going back to a hospital with this one (although that has more to do with the cytotec!!! than the pitocin). I was seeing midwives for my daughter's birth, too, but I was risked out of their care minutes before the "emergency" induction. So, I need to be prepared for all eventualities for my own peace of mind.

I have seen several people claim that it is not possible to be allergic to Pit... but on drug fact websites, it says that shortness of breath is a symptom of an allergic reaction to Pit...
I would go with the drug fact website then. Maybe you can search and find manufacturer info online. They are required to list all the reported side effects. http://www.rxlist.com/pitocin-drug.htm This appears to be a page from the drug insert, and lists anaphalaxis as the first reported side effect on the list. Clearly it IS possible.

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Old 02-09-2010, 06:10 PM
 
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I have seen several people claim that it is not possible to be allergic to Pit...
I have a hard time believing that anything is "impossible" to be allergic to. I'm allergic to DUST. Seriously, if someone can be allergic to dust, then I have no problem believing that someone could be allergic to a synthetic version of a hormone.

I guess the argument could be that maybe you're not allergic to the Pit itself, but something in the carrier, preservative, etc. Even if that were the case, I would think you would still be classified as "allergic".

If I were you, I would just tell any healthcare providers you're allergic to pitocin, and if they ask, "What happens when you're given it?" Tell them you have breathing issues-they never mess with anything that can knowingly cause breathing problems. I guarantee they won't attempt to give it to you.

jamie. crinkly (not quite crunchy) mama to 3 amazing little girls, an awesome little boy, and a baby girl making her debut at the end of this summer.

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Old 02-09-2010, 11:52 PM
 
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It's possible. I'm allergic to many medicines (as is my daughter.) Thankfully Pit is not one of them (I've pph after both of my kids) but it also doesn't work fully either (which is a problem!) I have that reaction (them working in wonky ways) with many meds in addition to the ones that bring on the hives and breathing issues.

Next time you're expecting a baby, tell them that you are allergic to pitocin. They'll ask the symptoms and just say "breathing issues." Leave it at that and don't let them question you. They will and just keep on stating it until it's through their heads that pitocin is a no for you.

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Old 02-10-2010, 11:00 AM
 
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If you think you are allergic to Pit you MUST discuss this with your provider beforehand! Avoiding induction isn't the only problem: pitocin is the standard drug given in a managed 3rd stage or if you bleed too much. Your MW needs to know so they can give you another drug (even if you don't plan a managed 3rd stage, you still might bleed and need something).

DD 01/2007, DS 09/2011

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Old 02-10-2010, 12:08 PM
 
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I see a strange outbreak of allergies to pitocin in the near future! Sounds like a good thing to start telling your doctor. What do they do if you need to be induced and are allergic to pitocin? Cytotec? AHH!
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If you think you are allergic to Pit you MUST discuss this with your provider beforehand! Avoiding induction isn't the only problem: pitocin is the standard drug given in a managed 3rd stage or if you bleed too much. Your MW needs to know so they can give you another drug (even if you don't plan a managed 3rd stage, you still might bleed and need something).
Yeah, I am a little bit concerned about this. I do have a toddler that would be willing to nurse if it is a little bit too much blood, but what other options are there for a mose severe problem like PPH?

Are there any proven ways to reduce the risk of PPH?

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I see a strange outbreak of allergies to pitocin in the near future! Sounds like a good thing to start telling your doctor. What do they do if you need to be induced and are allergic to pitocin? Cytotec? AHH!
I actually chose the Pit... they said they wanted to break my water AND give me Pit because I wasn't progressing for hours. My baby was still at a very high station, and I was a bit concerned about prolapse. I was also concerned about the decels she had been having hours earlier and what effect the Pit might have on that. I ended up deciding that the risks of Pit were smaller, because the halflife in the body is 1-6 min, so in the event of a problem it could be turned off, whereas AROM is irreversible.
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:50 PM
 
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I do not know about allergies, but I know I was on Pitocin for about 20 hours with DS. Six days later I ended up in the hospital again for non-cardiac pulmonary edema. My lungs had filled with fluid.

In the research I did after I returned home and while still on maternity leave, I learned that pitocin is an anti-diuretic.

My next birth plan will explicitly forbid pitocin from being used prior to birth.

Unitarian Universalist Pagan
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:54 PM
 
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I think I would do everything I could to avoid an induction or Pitocin in my upcoming birth, including laboring at home as long as possible, researching everything I could about birth, getting a doula, writing a birth plan and if medically and logistically possible, switching to the care of a midwife.
Actually, I think every woman should do those things in every low-risk pregnancy.
this is the best advise.
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:20 PM
 
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So, I need to be prepared for all eventualities for my own peace of mind.
.
I completely know how you feel. I had a hard time accepting and understanding everything that happened with my first delivery. It hindered me from having a second child for a long time.

I was induced (with pitocin) with my first. I needed an episiotomy. My episiotomy did not heal properly or "too well", or possibly that I was allergic to the chromic sutures. I ended up needing to have my episiotomy revised and it took almost 2 years to be free from pain and discomfort. It hindered me for the longest time from having a second child. I had a need to be completely prepared for my second delivery which even led me into therapy.

I agree with the earlier advise and then after all the research, you have to trust. This helped me.

God (higher power) grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and (the) wisdom to know the difference.
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I WAS seeing midwives... I DID research everythng I could about birth. This was not an induction due to postdates or anything. My daughter had IUGR (Intra Uterine Growth Retardation).

She was 4lb 13oz and FULL TERM.
I was in the hospital triage because of a lack of fetal movement when they discovered the problem.

I BEGGED not to have Cytotec. I begged to at least eat breakfast first. A line of doctors, nurses, AND midwives blocked the door YELLING at me. "YOU ARE NOT TAKING THIS SERIOUSLY ENOUGH! YOUR BABY WILL DIE! You MAY NOT leave the hospital!"

There is no reason to believe this will happen again in a subsequent pregnancy, so I am again seeing midwives, this time an out of hospital practice. However, once you have been told "We are the guardians of normal, and your pregnancy is no longer normal, we can not provide care for you, we are bumping you to the high-risk OBs" you learn to have a back up plan.

Not to even mention the fact that my out of hospital midwive carries this particular medicine for PPH... so I could get it even after a 100% natural delivery.
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:58 PM
 
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I WAS seeing midwives... I DID research everythng I could about birth. This was not an induction due to postdates or anything. My daughter had IUGR (Intra Uterine Growth Retardation).

She was 4lb 13oz and FULL TERM.
I was in the hospital triage because of a lack of fetal movement when they discovered the problem.

I BEGGED not to have Cytotec. I begged to at least eat breakfast first. A line of doctors, nurses, AND midwives blocked the door YELLING at me. "YOU ARE NOT TAKING THIS SERIOUSLY ENOUGH! YOUR BABY WILL DIE! You MAY NOT leave the hospital!"

There is no reason to believe this will happen again in a subsequent pregnancy, so I am again seeing midwives, this time an out of hospital practice. However, once you have been told "We are the guardians of normal, and your pregnancy is no longer normal, we can not provide care for you, we are bumping you to the high-risk OBs" you learn to have a back up plan.

Not to even mention the fact that my out of hospital midwive carries this particular medicine for PPH... so I could get it even after a 100% natural delivery.
Oh, that definitely does not sound like your "we think the baby is too big so let's induce you at 39 weeks" kind of deal. So sorry you went through that, it must have been terrifying. There are definitely situation where inductions are medically necessary and lifesavers.
Just doing a quick google, difficulty breathing is listed as one of the rare but serious possible side effects of Pitocin, under "serious allergic reactions".
You would definitely need to talk to your drs/midwives about the experience you had with Pitocin and see what kind of alternatives there are. Your midwife would need to know because she would need a plan B to manage post-partum hemorrhage. Is there anything besides Pitocin used for that?

Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
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Old 02-10-2010, 11:51 PM
 
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you are definitely are doing the right thing by researching and being on the boards about your experience. so much could be learned from the experiences of other mothers.

you should definitely should talk to your midwife about your prior birth experience if you have not already. your past experience is very important and your *reaction* to pitocin. I would absolutely discuss with your midwife what else pitocin is used for.

it sounds like you were trying to cover all the bases with your delivery and have more control over it all, as much as you could (because some things are out of our hands) so you'll cover the bases with the pitocin and then maybe think about a birthing plan, maybe hiring a doula (some insurances cover this) and discuss other scenarios with your midwife.

After all the research and discussions with your midwife, I was just trying to offer you some peace with the quote.
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Old 02-11-2010, 12:02 AM
 
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It could be the pit, but it could also have been preservatives in the IV fluid bag that contained the pit. IIRC there is chloretone as a preservative in pit. You should let your MWs know, and discuss w/ them alternatives in the unlikely even that you have PPH, like cytotec or methergine.

SugarMama to Chatterbox Zoe (almost 4) and Locomotive Miles (2)
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Old 02-11-2010, 05:09 PM
 
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I would definitely let your MWs know.

What you describe sounds like some of the more common adverse effects seen with pit. Not the same as an allergic reaction, but it still isn't something you want to repeat.

Mama, homeschooler, midwife. DD (13yo), DS (11yo), DD (8yo), DD (3yo), somebody new coming in November 2013.

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Old 02-11-2010, 06:42 PM
 
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If pitocin is the standard drug given in a managed 3rd stage or if you bleed too much. .
I was given oral methergine for mild PPH...
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:02 PM
 
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I have no scientific reason to believe this, but I think I may have had negative long term effects from overzealous use of pitocin to manage pp bleeding and a slow placenta by an apprentice midwife. I think I had 3 or 4 shots of pitocin and 1-2 of methergine, for bleeding that was probably within the range of normal and a placenta that was out within an hour. Not that I didn't need anything, but it was clearly too much, especially when we'd agreed we'd use herbal treatments first. Anyway, for several years after birth I struggled with serious muscular problems on my left side that were related to previous chiropractic problems, but were much much worse than I'd ever had before and very hard to kick! I suspect the pitocin because I had a similar very bad muscular reaction on my left side to birth control pills, so I just have a gut suspicion of synthetic hormones.

If somebody doesn't take "allergic reaction" seriously, maybe say you had a "bad reaction"? But definitely don't let it go. Whatever happened to me that started with the birth control pill wasn't any kind of documented reaction and was initially blown off by my health care provider at the time, but it happened, it was bad, and over time it's been thousands of dollars in chiropractic and such getting myself back on track!
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