Pitocin in Labor and Delivery

What is Pitocin?

Pitocin is oxytocin, a natural hormone that is sometimes administered during childbirth. It can cause or strengthen labor contractions during childbirth and control bleeding after childbirth.

Why is Pitocin used?

Pitocin is administered to induce labor to help cut some of the many potential risks of childbirth. During childbirth, the mother will experience contractions and they are produced by the hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin acts as a neurotransmitter, it is produced in the pituitary gland of the brain and then moves through the bloodstream, attaching to proteins on receptor cells in the uterus. The uterus picks up the message from the brain to contract. In labor, large amounts of oxytocin are released.

Unfortunately, labor doesn’t always go smoothly and if a mother has not gone into labor between 41 and 42 weeks of pregnancy, there can be serious risks for the mother and the child. The use of Pitocin has shown to significantly decrease complications related to stillbirth, preeclampsia, maternal death, and other conditions. With the assistance of this modern medicine, we have opportunity to save lives during these complications with the induction of labor.

Doctors try not to interfere with natural labor unless it is necessary. The recommendation of inducing labor can be sensitive and frightening. Your doctor is invested in the best outcome for you and your baby. If you face the discussion of inducing labor with your doctor, ask questions and get informed. Your health and baby’s health is top priority.

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