Long term effects of Pitocin? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-28-2007, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a question re any long term effects of pitocin.
I am a labor nurse and had only heard of this outside of the workplace...

A neighbor told me she "couldn't breastfeed her baby because she had had pitocin during labor". Huh?
I had never heard of this, but it made me wonder about my own pitocin-laden birth w my dd (induced for Low low fluid). She seemed to nurse all the time, and got really skinny in the weeks after birth. I went to LLL and cried about "is my baby getting enough milk, all the other babies are fat" and went to the doc weekly for wt. checks which proved she was gaining enough for no one to worry there either.
Another woman in a coffee shop approached the pg friend I was with and started "ranting" (talking passionately) about the long-term effects of pitocin and how her thyroid was messed up from it. My friend was really freaked out so I had to leave w her and didn't get to hear what she had to say.

But, these questions still linger in my brain......

And I'm peeved that I did not get any sort of info on this in my l & d training.

Any thoughts?

N
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Old 03-28-2007, 01:52 PM
 
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Well, it is a synthetic hormone, so I would imagine it would effect the endocrine system. My mom was induced with pit with her 6th (seriously postdates 44 or 45wks.) After that, she never had a normal labor. With the last four she would start labor, and then stall out about 5-6 cms and never progress. The midwife would end up manually dilating her and she would push the baby out without ctx. Ouch! She's sure it was the pit that messed her up. I don't know though.

ETA- she also had 6 m/c after the pit between her last 4 babies. And lots of hemorrhaging . I wonder if her body became dependent on the pit and that's why her uterus wouldn't clamp down by itself?
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Old 03-28-2007, 02:31 PM
 
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On-line, I've heard it implicated in autism (with no evidence to support the claim.
Other than that, I've not heard of long-term effects of pit. I had it twice. My mom was augmented with it for my birth, all with no ill effects.
I'll be interested what others say.
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Old 03-28-2007, 03:02 PM
 
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I had an elective pitocin induction with my first and the only differences I really noticed were:

1) Pitocin makes for a much more uncomfortable birth.
2) My pit-induced baby had jaundice.

I did get a dose of post-partum pit due to hemorrhage after #2, but haven't had it since (and have had two more babies). I've never had any breastfeeding problems, either.

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Old 03-28-2007, 08:31 PM
 
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I have heard that Michel Odent said that pit can cause ADD. Of course it could be all the tv watching and soda, who knows. But my daughter has a lot of things that set her off food wise and I thought it was from vaxing, but then my MW told me about this...who knows??
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Old 03-28-2007, 11:50 PM
 
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I had pitocin to restart my labor. I was already at 9.5 cm and stalled, so apparently it was just a little pitocin. My contractions started up and I don't think they were much worse than before the pitocin.

My baby was fine, a bit jaundiced but BF took care of it all. She BF like a champ and got all fat and happy! She's a normal healthy 4 yo. I hemmorhaged a bit after the birth and I feel I have post-partum rage. I seem to be more sensitive before my period than I ever was. My weight is fine, just about pre-preg, but I'm a skinny mini to begin with.

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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Old 03-29-2007, 04:07 PM
 
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I've also heard that pitocin-induced births (along with planned cesareans) can cause milk to be delayed because your body isn't naturally going into labour (therefore all your hormones are still at near-pregnancy levels and take time to drop before milk comes in). In my case it was certainly accurate - didn't come in until day 6... I've heard it's pretty common anyway. Certainly didn't stop us from breastfeeding though! Sounds a bit like a copout to me... meh!
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Old 03-29-2007, 04:29 PM
 
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Mmmmm, I've had two pit induced births: one was a c/s for fetal distress and she was jaundiced but not enough for any further action than breastfeeding more. My second (a vbac) was very jaundiced and I made the pediatrician quite mad by not giving her formula but just kept nursing more. I was given pit after both births post partum, which was normal protocol for all births in this particular hospital. My milk came in about three and four days after birth respectively. I'm very interested on what others say.
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Old 03-30-2007, 01:40 AM
 
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correct me if I'm wrong but I thought your milk coming in had to do with the hormones that are released when the placenta separates??
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Old 03-30-2007, 01:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by heartandhandsdoula View Post
correct me if I'm wrong but I thought your milk coming in had to do with the hormones that are released when the placenta separates??
I've heard that, too. I had pit. when I had to be induced when my kidneys started failing. My milk didn't come in till day 5, and my baby was underweight at first due to that, but since he's my only birth, I can't compare.
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Old 03-31-2007, 04:51 AM
 
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I've heard that, too. I had pic. when I had to be induced when my kidneys started failing. My milk didn't come in till day 5, and my baby was underweight at first due to that, but since he's my only birth, I can't compare.

My understanding is that even if your having an elective c/s it's important to wait until labor starts on its own. From my reading, milk supply IS affected if you don't.
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Old 03-31-2007, 12:26 PM
 
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From my reading, milk supply IS affected if you don't.
I've read that it's due to the levels of oxytocin in the body. A spontaneous labor produces more oxytocin than an induced birth or cesarean birth. Oxytocin is needed for milk production.

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Old 03-31-2007, 08:56 PM
 
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I was induced with pit for dd1 at 38wks and naturally for ds at 37wks. w/dd my millk came in on day 4 maybe due to separation at hospital. and w/ds it came in at the start of day 3, homebirth so no separation.
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Old 03-31-2007, 09:09 PM
 
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Of 4 babies 2 have been augmented with pitocin to move an oblique lie with no3 and then a brow presentation with no4.

There has been no difference in their weight gain after birth or the time it took for my milk to come in and I didn't see any negative effects compared to my normal births.

Horrible labours though.
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Old 04-02-2007, 12:34 AM
 
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Pitocin (or any other version of synthetic oxytocin) is an antidiuretic, meaning that one of its effects is that you retain fluid. Women who have had a long labour, with lots of pit and IV fluids, tend to get "puffy" from the extra fluid. The areolae tend to swell up a bit too (sometimes quite dramatically) and it makes it harder for the baby to latch on initially, which can definitely contribute to early breastfeeding difficulties.

I would not be at all surprised if there were hormonal effects on breastfeeding as well.
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:00 AM
 
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Hm. I had a pitocin-induced birth, and my milk didn't come in until late on day 6.

I'm apparently rather sensitive to pit as I went in 100% and 4 cms and had the baby 2 hours later after getting what my doc called a "test dose" of pitocin. She said it was just to make sure the baby and I handled it OK before they turned up the dose. She checked on me an hour later and I was good to push. Never felt the urge to push, though - I blame that on the pitocin.
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:16 PM
 
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Anecdata, of course, but with my second I was given pitocin to make contractions come at a steadier pace. Milk came in on day two...she nursed like a champ and gained weight well.

I can't imagine a link between pitocin and ADHD. The condition has been demonstrated to have a genetic component.
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Old 04-03-2007, 04:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Mama2Xander View Post
Pitocin (or any other version of synthetic oxytocin) is an antidiuretic, meaning that one of its effects is that you retain fluid. Women who have had a long labour, with lots of pit and IV fluids, tend to get "puffy" from the extra fluid. The areolae tend to swell up a bit too (sometimes quite dramatically) and it makes it harder for the baby to latch on initially, which can definitely contribute to early breastfeeding difficulties.
: Another OB nurse here

Truthfully though, I don't see swollen areola from pit very often, but I do see more pain meds used in labors with pit, which for sure can (but don't always) affect how a baby initially latches on.

Another thing I'm thinking regarding when milk comes in, pit is usually only used (at least where I work) when problems arise, which often means there is extra stress on the woman's system going on already, so it's understandable milk would take a little longer to come in given that added stress on her system. I had major complications with my twins birth, needed two blood transfusions (my H&H was down to 6 & 18 and I couldn't even raise my head a few inches off the bed), and got lots of pit immediately pp and on pp day 3 my milk completely dried up for the next 2.5 days. I know this because I was exclusively pumping for my 31 weekers in the NICU. I was pumping every 2 hours starting right after their birth and I know it was the stress my body was going through that caused my milk to dry up. Fortunately I got it back!, but my babies did have to get donor breastmilk in their NG tubes during those dry days.

I've never heard of pitocin messing up one's thyroid? I'll have to go look that one up.

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Old 04-03-2007, 01:53 PM
 
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My first was a pit induced labor. I had 38 hours of pitocin, 15 hours of epidural, and then a c-section.
I did have horrible amounts of fluid retention, but that may have also had something to do with the fact I was on IV fluids for over 50 hours (they forgot to take it out for almost 2 days after the surgery). My milk did not come in unti lthe 7th day and I had terrible problems with chronic low supply. My son dropped from 99th percentile for 3rd percentile over the course of a few weeks. It was really a nightmare.

My second birth was a drug-free VBAC with spontaneous labor. My milk came in about 12 hours later and I've never had an issue with supply (9 months now).

I don't know which intervention caused it the first time around... but I do know *something* given or done during my first birth seriously hindered breaastfeeding. Thankfully I was able to EBF my first child, even with the low supply, until 21 months old. It was a serious challenge though.
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:13 PM
 
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I had pitocin to restart my labor. I was already at 9.5 cm and stalled, so apparently it was just a little pitocin. My contractions started up and I don't think they were much worse than before the pitocin.
Your body had the benefits of starting labor naturally and getting endorphins to help deal with the contractions as they increased. So it was different then getting pit to start labor and having it from the beginning. I'm glad it worked to get you through that last little bit.
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:21 PM
 
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Hm, this is very interesting. I was induced with cytotec (would love to know the long term effects of that one, too) and pitocen. My milk took many days to come in -- I want to say seven days. It was a very very scary time, I think I talked to every lactation consultant in the city. We also got thrush almost immediately, too so that didn't help.

My mother was induced with pitocen with all three of us -- her water broke and after two days, in one case, she didn't go into labor. She has had all kinds of hormonal problems, and ended up with a hysterectomy, so I wonder if that is somehow related. Who knows.

I was induced for pre-e, but I am afraid that I won't go into labor on my own as in my mother's case, this time, but I'm willing to give it a lot longer than two days.
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Old 04-03-2007, 03:39 PM
 
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mostly the info is in animal studies-- I do believe that M Odent had mentioned that artificial pit does not interact with our brain in the same way and can result in post partum depression--

I am still looking for the references-- lots of different animal studies that show differences in say using oxytocin when artificially insemenating sheep results in lower fertility rates - not what they were hoping for because the natural release of oxytocin actually relaxes the uterus and results in better fertility rates/more successful insemenation.
----------------what we have to think about is that oxytocin is a hormone secreted in the brain- probably not alone. here is a recent study and now what we don't know and what has not been studied is the complexity of effects and long term effects in people-- so does the use of a PIT drip help with the GABA signaling the same as natural release or different?
-----------------------------------------

Science. 2006 Dec 15;314(5806):1788-92.

Maternal oxytocin triggers a transient inhibitory switch in GABA signaling in
the fetal brain during delivery.

Tyzio R, Cossart R, Khalilov I, Minlebaev M, Hubner CA, Represa A, Ben-Ari Y, Khazipov R.

Institut de Neurobiologie de la Mediterranee, INSERM U29, Universite de la
Mediterranee, Campus Scientifique de Luminy, Boite Postale 13, 13273 Marseille
Cedex 09, France.

We report a signaling mechanism in rats between mother and fetus aimed at
preparing fetal neurons for delivery. In immature neurons, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter. We found that, shortly before delivery, there is a transient reduction in the intracellular chloride concentration and an excitatory-to-inhibitory switch of GABA actions. These events were triggered by oxytocin, an essential maternal hormone for labor. In vivo administration of an oxytocin receptor antagonist before delivery prevented the switch of GABA actions in fetal neurons and aggravated the severity of anoxic episodes. Thus, maternal oxytocin inhibits fetal neurons and increases their resistance to insults during delivery.

PMID: 17170309 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
----------------
I will keep looking and post later if I find something clearer
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Old 04-03-2007, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to all of you who've responded. As a mom it makes me feel less alone, as a nurse, more educated.
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Old 04-03-2007, 04:18 PM
 
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so I kept looking and before I go out the door -- here we go with why it could be important--

J Neurosci. 2005 Jul 20;25(29):6807-15.

Brain oxytocin correlates with maternal aggression: link to anxiety.

Bosch OJ, Meddle SL, Beiderbeck DI, Douglas AJ, Neumann ID.

Institute of Zoology, University of Regensburg, 93040 Regensburg, Germany.

The oxytocinergic system is critically involved in the regulation of maternal
behavior, which includes maternal aggression. Because aggression has been linked to anxiety, we investigated the maternal aggression and the role of brain oxytocin in lactating Wistar rats selectively bred for high anxiety-related behavior (HAB) or low anxiety-related behavior (LAB) during the 10 min maternal defense test. HAB dams displayed more maternal aggression against a virgin intruder compared with LAB dams, resulting in more defensive behavior and higher anxiety of HAB-defeated virgins. The different levels of aggression were accompanied by opposite oxytocin release patterns within the paraventricular nucleus (PVN; HAB, increase; LAB, decrease). Furthermore, oxytocin release was higher within the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) of HAB dams compared with LABs. A direct correlation between the offensive behavior displayed during the maternal defense test and local oxytocin release was found in both the PVN
and CeA. Using retrodialysis, blockade of endogenous oxytocin action by infusion of an oxytocin receptor antagonist (des-Gly-NH2,d(CH2)5[Tyr(Me)2,Thr4]OVT) into the PVN or CeA reduced maternal aggression of HAB dams, whereas infusion of synthetic oxytocin into the PVN tended to increase aggression toward the
intruder in LAB dams. There were no significant differences in oxytocin receptor mRNA expression or oxytocin receptor binding between lactating HAB and LAB dams.
Therefore, differences in intracerebral release patterns of oxytocin, rather
than differences at the level of oxytocin receptors, are critical for the
regulation of maternal aggressive behavior.

PMID: 16033890 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Old 04-03-2007, 05:33 PM
 
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I had 20+hour induction with pitocin for pre-e at 38 weeks. I knew nothing about a bishops score then- I wish I would have. I was dialtaed 1/2cm, 15% effaced, and baby was not engaged. The labor was horrendous- I wanted a natural birth so I bit on a wash cloth and refused pain meds. (like pitocin is natural : )
I had terrible trouble BFing after the induction. DD had hyperbilirubin and was lethargic- it was a nightmare trying to get her to latch on. She wouldnt eat, then wouldnt poop, and consequently the bili level wouldnt come down. I had major fluid retention for 2 weeks. My milk was delayed coming in- I tried to pump because dd was so lethargic, but I couldnt pump more than a few drops. I was very dedicated to establishing a good milk supply and very determined to BF. I never did establish a good supply though and it was very depressing- not a "copout" as a PP stated.
This is a very interesting thread.
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Old 04-05-2007, 06:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mama2Xander View Post
Pitocin (or any other version of synthetic oxytocin) is an antidiuretic, meaning that one of its effects is that you retain fluid. Women who have had a long labour, with lots of pit and IV fluids, tend to get "puffy" from the extra fluid. The areolae tend to swell up a bit too (sometimes quite dramatically) and it makes it harder for the baby to latch on initially, which can definitely contribute to early breastfeeding difficulties.

I would not be at all surprised if there were hormonal effects on breastfeeding as well.
This is what happened to me. After I delivered, I was too big to fit in my maternity clothes. I could barely fit my sandals. I had to wear the hospital socks at my discharge, 2 days after birth.

I also had a horrendous labor because of it which caused me to beg and plead for an epidural which had its own side effects. I do think that had I not been given pitocin at increasing intervals, even though it was only making stronger contractions, not effective contractions, that I would have avoided the epidural and narcotics, which caused a sleepy baby, painful headaches, puffiness, etc.
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Old 04-05-2007, 10:37 PM
 
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Oh yeah... I weighed as much when I got home from the hospital (AFTER I had the baby/placenta/blahblahblah taken out uh me) as I did when I went in! I was super swollen... breastmilk didn't come in until day 6 either.
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