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Is Pitocin Safe?

Scared pregnant woman in hospital examined by nurse

When labor won’t start spontaneously or it comes to a halt, your doctor has to make a choice. They can either wait for labor to continue again, perform a c-section, or use labor-inducing drugs. These days, about 1-in-5 babies come into the world with the help of a drug called Pitocin. But is Pitocin safe, or does it put you and your baby at risk of a birth injury?

What is Pitocin?

Pitocin is a synthetic version of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for cervical dilation and contractions. When administered during delayed or halted labor, Pitocin triggers more frequent and more powerful contractions. That is where the danger lies.

What Happens Next?

Pitocin is a fickle drug. Use too little, and nothing happens; use too much, and the contractions can become so powerful that they harm the baby. The baby may be injured from the force of contracting muscles or their placenta can become damaged, potentially limiting their oxygen supply.

Too much Pitocin can affect the mother as well. Most women report that drug-induced labor is far more painful than spontaneous labor. Additionally, Pitocin dramatically increases the risk of postpartum hemorrhaging, which must be managed quickly to protect the mother, especially if she has abnormal blood pressure.

What are the Risks?

A baby injured by powerful contractions is more likely to experience brain damage, cognitive impairment, or even develop cerebral palsy. The child may also have broken bones at birth, which could mean an extended hospital stay or other long-term complications. In the most severe cases, improper use of Pitocin can cause an otherwise healthy baby to pass away during labor.

Because Pitocin comes with greater risks than spontaneous labor or some other types of assisted delivery, it’s crucial that doctors educate expecting parents about all the potential risks and get their full consent before administering this drug.

If your child was diagnosed with a birth injury, we are here for you. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Miami birth injury attorney from Rossman, Baumberger, Reboso & Spier, P.A., don’t hesitate to give us a call at (305) 900-5493 or send us an email.

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