In the U.S., vaginal births increasingly rely on a drug called Pitocin to induce labor and cause more powerful contractions. When used properly, Pitocin can reduce the likelihood of an unscheduled C-section and move labor along when it’s come to a halt. But what happens if there’s an error in administering this drug? Are labor-inducing drugs, like Pitocin, safe for your baby?
How Does Pitocin Work?
Pitocin is an artificial version of oxytocin, the naturally occurring hormone that causes contractions and cervical dilation. If labor won’t start or has come to a halt, Pitocin can help the pregnancy move forward.
Once Pitocin is administered, your doctor must carefully monitor contractions. If too much was used, contractions can become so powerful that they endanger your health and the health of your baby. If there is any sign of distress, your doctor will likely reduce the Pitocin in your IV or cut it off altogether.
Is Pitocin Safe for My Baby?
Previously, we discussed some of the maternal risks associated with Pitocin. If too much of this drug is used, the baby could be at risk as well. Improper use of Pitocin can cause fetal distress or heart rate changes. If contractions come too quickly or if they are so powerful that the placenta detaches from the uterus, the baby may also experience birth hypoxia and HIE.
If the uterus is overstimulated while the baby is moving through the birth canal, the baby can be seriously injured by the force of the contractions. This can lead to broken bones, neonatal asphyxiation, lower Apgar scores, and potentially lifelong complications.
With so much at stake, it’s crucial that your doctor fully explains the risks of Pitocin before administering this drug. Moreover, if you were administered Pitocin and you or your baby suffered serious or permanent injuries, don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your options.
To schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Atlanta birth injury attorney from The Mabrey Firm, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (404) 814-5098 or send us an email.