Pit of Despair

Pitocin – a very useful drug that improved obstetrics and gave us options to help women in ways we weren’t able to before!

Pitocin – a very seductive drug that changed obstetrics, increasing risks to mothers and babies in ways that are often not even taken into consideration.

Both of these statements are true – how can that be?  I will do my best to explain this complex issue in a simple and straight forward way.  Be warned…much of what you are about to read will probably be new to you because these are the things that aren’t being talked about!

I already did a previous blog post on inducing labor and some of the risks/benefits associated with the decision to induce, so I do not want to rehash that once again.  The decision to induce is one thing (and a decision that is not to be taken lightly), but what about once the decision is made?

I’m going to simply focus on Pitocin.

Pitocin is a drug used to induce or augment labors here in the US.  It is most often given via IV infusion, although immediately postpartum if an IV isn’t already in place it may be given as an intramuscular injection.  It was created for the first time in 1953 and became available just 2 years later.  Mothering magazine writes, “A survey by Robbie Davis-Floyd, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Texas, found that 81 percent of women in US hospitals receive Pitocin either to induce or augment their labors.”  It has been said that only 3% medically require it.

Pitocin-  nicknamed “Pit” (and I’ve even heard “Vitamin P”). Whenever I hear it referred to as Pit (which I have been guilty of myself) the following clip from Princess Bride comes to mind…

I have heard many MANY MANY nurses say things such as “Pitocin is just oxytocin…it has the exact same affect  on your body.”  While the oxytocin in Pitocin is chemically identical to the oxytocin your body produces, this statement is so not true and makes me want to bang my head against the nearest wall.

HOW IS PITOCIN DIFFERENT THAN YOUR BODY’S NATURAL OXYTOCIN?

While the oxytocin your body produces is chemically identical to the oxytocin contained in Pitocin – the way your body recognizes them and responds to them is very different.  We have something called the blood-brain barrier.  Simply put, the vast majority of substances that enter our blood stream can not pass into the cerebrospinal fluid.  Out bodies are made in a way that protect our brain from all but a select few substances going from the blood into the brain (those few things include oxygen and glucose)

Oxytocin is produced by the brain and affects the brain in its natural form.  Pitocin is introduced into the blood stream and does NOT affect the brain.

While not always a reliable source of information, this entry from Wikipedia has enough sources sited that I am very confident of its accuracy.  Please see the original website HERE to view sources….

“Oxytocin secreted from the pituitary gland cannot re-enter the brain because of the blood-brain barrier. Instead, the behavioral effects of oxytocin are thought to reflect release from centrally projecting oxytocin neurons, different from those that project to the pituitary gland, or which are collaterals from them. Oxytocin receptors are expressed by neurons in many parts of the brain and spinal cord, including the amygdala, ventromedial hypothalamus, septum, nucleus accumbens and brainstem.

  • Sexual arousal. Oxytocin injected into the cerebrospinal fluid causes spontaneous erections in rats, reflecting actions in the hypothalamus and spinal cord. Centrally administrated oxytocin receptor antagonists can prevent non contact erections, which is a measure of sexual arousal. Studies using oxytocin antagonists in female rats provide data that oxytocin increases lordosis, indicating an increase in sexual receptivity.
  • Bonding. In the Prairie Vole, oxytocin released into the brain of the female during sexual activity is important for forming a monogamous pair bond with her sexual partner. Vasopressin appears to have a similar effect in males. Oxytocin has a role in social behaviors in many species, and so it seems likely that it has similar roles in humans.
  • Maternal behavior. Rat females given oxytocin antagonists after giving birth do not exhibit typical maternal behavior.  By contrast, virgin female sheep show maternal behavior towards foreign lambs upon cerebrospinal fluid infusion of oxytocin, which they would not do otherwise. Oxytocin is involved in the initiation of maternal behavior not its maintenance, for example, it is higher in mothers after they interact with unfamiliar children rather than their own.
  • According to some studies in animals, oxytocin inhibits the development of tolerance to various addictive drugs (opiates, cocaine, alcohol) and reduces withdrawal symptoms.
  • Preparing fetal neurons for delivery. Crossing the placenta, maternal oxytocin reaches the fetal brain and induces a switch in the action of neurotransmitter GABA from excitatory to inhibitory on fetal cortical neurons. This silences the fetal brain for the period of delivery and reduces its vulnerability to hypoxic damage.
  • MDMA (ecstasy) may increase feelings of love, empathy and connection to others by stimulating oxytocin activity via activation of serotonin 5-HT1A receptors, if initial studies in animals apply to humans. The anxiolytic Buspar (buspirone) also appears to produce some or all of its effect via 5-HT1A receptor-induced oxytocin stimulation. “

In other words – natural oxytocin is produced by the brain and affects the brain before becoming systemic – Pitocin is never seen by the brain and therefore the brain doesn’t respond to it the same way, releasing the complex cocktail of labor/birth hormones that it does during a naturally occurring labor.  It has recently been suggested that due to the blood-brain barrier and the hormonal dance that happens during labor – and due to the recent discoveries of the affect of oxytocin in autistic children – that Pitocin may be a contributing factor to the epidemic autistic rates we are seeing lately.

Another notable difference between Pitocin and our natural oxytocin is the rate in which it’s administered.  In the body, during a normal natural labor, oxytocin is released in spurts…ebbing and flowing….up and down….causing contractions, then easing off….released in surges.  Pitocin is administered via a steady infusion with a pump.  Its levels in the blood remain constant – until the Pitocin is turned up (generally every 15-30 minutes).

WHAT ABOUT SIDE EFFECTS OF PITOCIN?

So many people are given Pitocin without ever hearing a single risk or side effect other than, “it can cause too strong of contractions…but if it does that we’ll just turn it down or off.”

Lets see what rxlist.com has to say (you have to go to PAGE 3):

The following adverse reactions have been reported in the mother:

Anaphylactic reaction
Postpartum hemorrhage
Cardiac arrhythmia
Fatal afibrinogenemia
Hypertensive episodes
Nausea
Vomiting
Premature ventricular contractions
Pelvic hematoma
Subarachnoid hemorrhage
Hypertensive episodes
Rupture of the uterus

Excessive dosage or hypersensitivity to the drug may result in uterine hypertonicity, spasm, tetanic contraction, or rupture of the uterus.

The possibility of increased blood loss and afibrinogenemia should be kept in mind when administering the drug.

Severe water intoxication with convulsions and coma has occurred, associated with a slow oxytocin infusion over a 24-hour period. Maternal death due to oxytocin-induced water intoxication has been reported.

The following adverse reactions have been reported in the fetus or neonate:

Due to induced uterine motility:

Bradycardia
Premature ventricular contractions and other arrhythmias
Permanent CNS or brain damage
Fetal death
Neonatal seizures have been reported with the use of Pitocin.

Due to use of oxytocin in the mother:

Low Apgar scores at five minutes
Neonatal jaundice
Neonatal retinal hemorrhage”

Now is when you get angry when you realize that you were given this drug without any discussion whatsoever of these side effects and risks.

 

WHAT ABOUT CHLOROBUTANOL?

Chances are that you have never heard this word.  Pitocin contains not only a synthetic oxytocin, it also contains 0.5% Chlorobutanol, a chloroform derivative that is in Pitocin as a preservative.  While the oxytocin in Pitocin has a VERY short half-life of 1-6 minutes (meaning it’s out of your system within a matter of minutes), Chlorobutanol has a very long half-life (about 10 days!), building up in your system for as long as you are being given this substance and remaining in your body for WEEKS.

According to the article “INACTIVE PHARMACEUTICAL INGREDIENTS: Implications for pregnancy

“Chlorobutanol crosses the placenta in animals and produces human embriotoxicity.  Based on these limited data, systemic preparations containing chlorobutanol should be used with caution during pregnancy. Repeated administration, in particular, should be avoided due to the long terminal half life of chlorobutanol (about 10 days) that may lead to accumulation in the fetus.”

It’s known to affect both maternal blood pressure as well as her heart muscle.

From “Effects of chlorobutanol and bradykinin on myocardial excitation
“However, chlorobutanol does have direct effects on myocardial cells, acting on the cell membrane and decreasing isometric tension produced by the heart.”

From “The effect of oxytocin on the contractile force of human atrial trabeculae.” – “Chlorobutanol decreased the ability of the heart to contract, while as pure oxytocin had no effect. This explains why maternal blood pressure may decrease and provides impetus to produce oxytocin with another, safer preservative.”

And finally, from an article on Methadone and its effects – “Chlorobutanol or chlorobutanol plus methadone, rather than methadone alone, may be the cause of cardiac toxicity in patients treated with IV methadone. Chlorobutanol has a very long half-life, extending beyond 10 days, and one report showed a serum concentration of 85 mg/mL (0.480 mM) of chlorobutanol in a patient receiving IV morphine preserved with 0.5% chlorobutanol. Furthermore, in a controlled clinical trial that led to the discontinuation of chlorobutanol from heparin, chlorobutanol was found to decrease blood pressure in patients. Chlorobutanol also causes significant negative inotropic effects on human atrial tissue, and this was the postulated cause of the hypotension seen in patients receiving oxytocin preserved with chlorobutanol.”

The thing that really upsets me is this:  the study on Chlorobutanol affecting the heart which concludes with a call to find another, safer preservative….was published in 1998.  We have known about this problem for at LEAST 12 years.  Why is this not big news and why have we not explored other safer preservatives for Pitocin?  I told you I’d try and make this issue simple:  Money.  I wonder how many of the 81% of mothers who have received Pitocin in labor have ever heard of chlorobutanol.

 

OTHER INTERVENTIONS AND THEIR RISKS

Hopefully by now you understand that Pitocin is NOT “exactly the same as going into labor on your own”, that it affects the body differently, and that there are definite risks to both Pitocin and it’s preservative chlorobutanol – but can you really talk about Pitocin without talking about the list of interventions that are likely to come with it?

Think about this:

Chlorobutanol is known to be an anti-diuretic (meaning it will make you retain water) – this is why on Pitocin’s list of side effects and risks you will see “severe water intoxication with convulsion and coma”.  We are going to dilute the Pitocin into IV fluid, ensuring that you get a LOT of fluid into your system along with the Pitocin. (it is commonly mixed with 3-1 or 6-1 in the IV bag)  Because the oxytocin in Pitocin doesn’t affect the brain the same way your natural oxytocin does, you are likely to experience much more intense FEELING contractions without the good oxytocin feelings that the brain experiences during a natural labor and therefore it is interpreted much more negatively by your body – in other words, you are much more likely to request an epidural anesthesia.  Epidural anesthesia is notorious for dropping your blood pressure (I refer you back to the study on Methadone and that chlorobutanol causes significant decreases in blood pressure).  Knowing the propensity for the epidural to drop your blood pressure, our answer to this is to make sure to pump enough fluids into your blood to attempt to compensate and keep your blood pressure stable.

Are you beginning to see a problem here?  And we haven’t even touched on the fact that chlorobutanol is easily crossing the placental barrier and can affect the baby for the next two weeks!  Or the risk of a cesarean that is increased when we use Pitocin, often due in large part to continuous monitoring of the fetal heart rate that is done while the mother is on Pitocin and that brings with it a 90% false positive rate for detection of fetal distress.

This is such a complex game of Russian roulette that we are playing, and there are a lot more bullets in the gun than we are being told.  There are definitely times when we should thank our lucky stars that Pitocin has been created and it has saved moms and babies from undergoing cesareans or from having other complications such as postpartum hemorrhage which is a common cause of DEATH in lesser developed countries…but it is NOT the same thing as just encouraging your body to do it!  Rather than fixing the problem of stalled labor by acknowledging the relationship between the mind and body and baby and working within it’s natural balance, we resort to trying to put a bandaid on it and don’t even stop to ask what kinds of problems covering the wound might cause.

My solution?  Start by recognizing that our bodies are much more complex than we are acting like they are.  Recognize that labor and birth is a whole body experience, not just a uterine experience.   Treat the cause of the stalled labor, not just the uterus, and give this mom and baby ample time to both start and complete this process.  Making her feel safe, nurtured, secure, able to be vulnerable and relaxed and free….carries a heck of a lot less risks than Pitocin does.

42 Comments

  1. Angela Padilla wrote:

    Wow, I seriously learned so much from reading this blog. I knew Pitocin was supposed to get labor going, but I didn’t know how or what ingredients it had. Thank you for this post, Steph. You are truly an excellent writer.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Permalink
  2. Rachel Keppner wrote:

    So very true. In fact, after filling out my birth sheet for you the other day, I noted to my husband that it was interesting, and concerning that my two labors where I received the most pitocin (and had bad reactions, BTW) resulted in the births of my two Asperger’s kids. I don’t know that there’s a tie-in there (one of my kids had an obvious and violent reaction to vaccinations at 2 years old), but it definitely gives me lots of pause.

    How much damage is being done to an entire generation in the name of convenience? 🙁

    Great post, Stephanie.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Permalink
  3. Kelli wrote:

    So, the part where you get angry that you were given this drug without hearing ANY of this…how about the part where you get angry that this was put in your IV, not only without discussion of the risks but without ever being told you were getting pitocin in the first place! Thanks Steph, I learned a lot here too.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Permalink
  4. Shari wrote:

    I’m with Kelli…I was aware that I was being induced with Pitocin with my first but didn’t find out until after the fact (when reading my bill after my 3rd was born) that I was given Pitocin AFTER delivery with my other children as well. AND come to find out, it’s actually common practice in hospital births, whether you need it or not! That was just another nail in the coffin of hospital birthing for me.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Permalink
  5. I learned much of this before from Sarah Buckley, MD but I also have to say that there is a time and a place for pitocin to be used… often times, time is all that is needed- being patient…but when we have women in places that they do not feel totally relaxed but somehow still choose- either due to finances or limitations- pitocin can help them complete their labor when dystocia sets in. So could a private place to have the time they need- but often times that is not an option sadly.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink
  6. Erika Obert wrote:

    Cascade if intervention so often starts with Pitocin. Is it any wonder we end up with fetal distress MOST of the time? Have you seen this: http://www.preciouspassage.com/Cascade%20of%20Interventions.htm ?

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink
  7. Doula jo wrote:

    I was at a birth where the OB told my client that PIT was safer than nipple stim because he could turn the PIT off, but not the body’s natural oxytocin. So the meds are safer than the moms body? I don’t think so! Needless to say, he is not on my like list.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink
  8. Jenny David wrote:

    Wow, Steph, thanks for this post! You explained the pitocin-brain connection really well, and the Chlorobutanol info is totally new to me. I learned a bunch! I love it when that happens! 🙂

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Permalink
  9. Nikki Ausdemore wrote:

    Stephanie, have I told you how much I love you lately? What an eye opening post today. I’m printing it out to have on hand for students and clients. Thank you.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Permalink
  10. Tiffany wrote:

    This is a great post with some eye-opening information. I learned a few new things re: the side effects. I looked pitocin up on Tarascon ( a drug program) and it only lists the water intoxication and anaphylaxis as adverse reactions. It also mentions hypertension if used in combination with other sympathmimetics. It seems that many of the listed side effects are secondary side effects?

    My only concern about this post is that women who truly might benefit from the use of pitocin (and I think they are far and few between) will be scared to death to allow its use.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Permalink
  11. Jessica Brovitch wrote:

    Love how such an amazing, informative teacher you are!

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Permalink
  12. Karen McCann wrote:

    Thank you Stephanie! This article really gives me excellent food for thought! Never again will i suggest a”litle whiff of pit” to get past a hurdle in labor!

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Permalink
  13. Crys wrote:

    Awesome info! Thanks Stephanie!

    Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 1:21 am | Permalink
  14. Delia wrote:

    Hmmm. Interesting. I’m an RN who has administered a lot of Pitocin (of course) and I was already aware of the things you mentioned about “pit” – and yes, I’ve gone head to head with nurses who tell mothers “it’s the same as going into labor on your own”. What I never noticed before, nor have ever heard discussed is the Chlorobutanol. Yikes!!

    Friday, April 30, 2010 at 12:38 am | Permalink
  15. Shannon Guse wrote:

    I find it interesting that you had spoken about the correlation between Pitocin & the increase in autism. I have been saying the same thing! Notice how the induction/augmentation numbers have increased, right along with the incidence of Autism!! This was a great blog & I plan on passing it along to EVERYONE I know!!!

    Friday, April 30, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Permalink
  16. catherine wrote:

    I was made aware of hospitals giving mom’s “pit” after delvery 6yrs ago when I had my youngest child in a hospital ALL natural,(no meds, or iv’s). I went to 3 different hospitals and 4 dr’s before I settled on my ob-gyn I have now. She’s homepathic and all natural. I was told by all other dr’s and hospital’s I didn’t have choice and would have to have “pit” post baby. so I looked until I found someone that would do what I WANTED. I didn’t get “pit” my body knows how to contracts post baby on it’s own. Esp sense I had 2 other babies without the use of “pit”. My husband and I are trying to conceve again and I WILL NOT have “pit” or any other med’s with our next babies. Really sick of Dr’s pushing med’s for the convenience.
    Great info on “pit”, thanks!

    Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Permalink
  17. Maegan wrote:

    I was reading recently that 80% of mothers are given pitocin. And that it could actually be affecting the baby’s natural production of oxytocin. Which has been linked to autism. The rise in autism, plus the rise in use of Pitocin…what a shame so much time was spent on the autism/vaccine link. I also read in the same publication that the FDA stopped recommending Pit in 1974 or something!

    Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Permalink
  18. teapot wrote:

    One thing that many people are not aware of is that inactive ingredients do not show up in the allergy alerts on any pharmacy computer system. A person with antibiotic allergies must be very vigilant since many drugs have antibiotics in small quantities as inactive ingredients. (My daughter in one of them.)

    Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Permalink
  19. Kelli wrote:

    I find it interesting that the term “little whiff of ‘pit'” is quite common when it is never inhaled but injected yet it contains this chloroform derivative…is that coincidence, something subconcious, or what?

    Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Permalink
  20. Kelly wrote:

    So what do you suggest when 42 weeks rolls around and there’s no labor? I’m nearly 41 weeks, at least 3 cm dialated and likely to go into labor before 42 weeks, but I’m starting to wonder what to say or do with my doctor if I were to hit 42 weeks. How would you handle this?

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Permalink
  21. Sarah wrote:

    This was a fabulous blog! I have been looking for more info on the Pit/Autism connection. Thank you!

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Permalink
  22. Melissa Smith wrote:

    Uuuuummmm I’m not sure I agree with this. I think Autism is a popular “excuse” for behavioral and parenting issues. And a lot of the effects listed possible for the mother and baby are possible from giving birth any way. It is possible for the mother or child to die in the birthing process. Sometimes there is a need for medical intervention with the use of drugs such as pitocin.

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010 at 11:58 pm | Permalink
  23. Kayte wrote:

    Kelly, If I were you, and I have been there before, I would do my research about the ‘Estimated’ delivery dates.
    Then relax, and trust that my body and baby work best when they are ready, and that my baby will choose the best time.
    If you are well and so is baby there is no need to do anything other than try to relax and enjoy the last days babe is inside.

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 5:13 am | Permalink
  24. Sarah wrote:

    very interesting, I’d love to see more funding go into the whole Pitocin-Autism connection. While I am no where near an expert, I studied neuro-psych in college and a lot of this is accurate. You can find a lot of sources to back this up outside of Wikipedia…

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 7:40 am | Permalink
  25. Mistie wrote:

    wow. just wow. I mean really.. wow.

    O.O -.- O.O -.- O.O O.o

    It’s like I know that certain things are bad for you and have an idea as to why, but when you learn the depth of it (which I still don’t think we’ve even touched on this), it really makes you not only enraged but sad.

    Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Permalink
  26. Jaime wrote:

    Melissa, I think you need to do some more research on Autism. That’s a pretty broad statement.

    Fascinating discussion of the preservative effects, though. Very frightening. After my unmedicated labor and birth, my OB tried to give me Pit “just in case.” When we declined, he said “Fine, but if I see any more bleeding than I’m comfortable with, I’m using it.” Well, hello! Three unplugged births and not a regret–except for the women who the slash and burn OB field has left behind.

    Friday, June 18, 2010 at 12:36 am | Permalink
  27. INOV8TN wrote:

    Before my son was born we elected to sue the Bradley ‘Partner Centered’ childbirth method.

    Everything went pretty smoothly until the MD started cheering line she was at a football game: “Get set.. Puuuussshhhh!!!!” Resulting in some viginal tears requiring stitiches. fortunately my wife and son came through the ordeal pretty much unscathed except the MD (an OB/GYN) recommended Pitosin to reduce bleeding. Ok we said. Stupid is as Stupid does as the breast milk was very slow to come after the birth although it had been plentiful beforehand.

    Future Dads: Keep your wits about you. Be informed via Bradley or other means. And stay on ‘message’.

    Your partner and prodgeny are way more important than the MD’s social schedule.

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 2:29 am | Permalink
  28. Mary wrote:

    My OB and I have always agreed that the body really knows what it is doing – I had a very long labor with my first child and my uterus just gave out – I did not want a c-section and we did use pitocin (very far into the 40 hour labor – I was stable – the baby was stable) … she was born wonderfully healthy (now almost 15) – but I did have hemorrhaging – lost over 4 units of blood as he worked to get my uterus to contract. It was a useful drug in the context, but he never recommends it as a jumpstart – my other 2 children were also natural childbirths (same doc), but much shorter in duration (11 and 5 hours respectively). I think docs who are willing to let the labor run its natural course are fewer and further between. I would still choose it in the case of my first child over a c-section, but am so grateful for you making folks aware of its dangers as just a matter of course to speed things along for someone’s convenience.

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 5:18 am | Permalink
  29. Marisa wrote:

    My first born was induced with pitocin for about 22 hours due to me having pregnancy induced hypertension. I ended up with the classic cascade of interventions that ultimately ended in a c-section. This child now has autism! I can’t help but think that there is some sort of correlation. My second child, I hired a doula for and had a COMPLETELY natural labor and delivery (VBAC)- no pitocin and no epidurals. She will be 2 years old on Saturday. She is typically developing and is not showing signs of autism. I can’t help but to think that the pitocin and c-section contributed to his autism! The mainstream medical community would like to continue to deny this, however!

    Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Permalink
  30. Mandy wrote:

    wow, i already had “no pitocin” on my birth plan, but now it’s going to be in all caps & bold. scary stuff, i knew it was bad news, but i didn’t know about the preservatives in it.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Permalink
  31. Dreamy wrote:

    I know this comment is coming very late in the game, but I did want to say a couple of things.

    1) Great post!

    and

    2) If someone wants to study a link to autism, by all means, but just “as pitocin use has increased, so has autism– COINCIDENCE?!” is not even close to a scientific conclusion or even a hypothesis.

    Other things potentially affecting public health that have increased in the past 30 years:

    -Cell phone use
    -Computer use
    -Seatbelt/carseat requirements
    -Areas/businesses in which smoking is not allowed
    -Use of unleaded gas

    Etc.

    And things in birth that have decreased (good and bad) in the last 30 years– like episiotomy rates, forceps deliveries, vaginal breeches, routine enemas, IV narcotics, etc.– why couldn’t they be “responsible” for autism?

    There’s just something disturbing to me about both people quick to assign a cause/cure for autism– as if it had one cause and should always be “cured.” They often seem to share something with people who claim it doesn’t exist and is just an “excuse for poor parenting”– a dismissal of the idea that perhaps it’s just being (usually correctly) DIAGNOSED earlier and more often “nowadays.”

    Not saying that there’s not also something else going on– there could be. But surely the diagnostic issue is a big factor– perhaps even the biggest factor.

    Part of my perspective comes as someone with ADD, who is always being told that ADD doesn’t exist, is totally overdiagnosed, is “just an excuse”– or is a matter of preservatives in my diet or something. Um, how about yes, it exists, no link to preservatives, etc., has been found, it runs in my family and– here’s a novel idea– it’s not an entirely bad thing, and I wouldn’t choose to be “normal” if I could.

    Come to think of it– that goes for depression, bipolar disorder, and anything else in the mental health spectrum.

    You know what I blame this kind of thinking on? Transfats. 😉

    Okay, that was flip– and I’m totally in favor of studying these things, and not at all in favor of what is clearly a severe overuse of things like pitocin. But I did think some perspective may have been needed here.

    Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink
  32. Great post, Stephanie. 🙂 As a midwife, I feel that a big part of my job is giving my clients this kind of information that is rarely shared or known- even in the world of obstetrics! Thank you for sharing your research with others.

    One thing I noticed: you said that the preservatives in pitocin would cross the placental barrier and affect the baby for the next two weeks. Actually, it would only affect the baby until birth, and then would only continue to affect the baby if it was found in the mothers breastmilk.

    Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Permalink
  33. elfanie wrote:

    It would continue to effect the baby due to the chemicals very long half life….not because it’s still being administered to the baby…

    Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Permalink
  34. Anna wrote:

    I’m a labor nurse and have been questioning pitocin use since I began nursing 1.5 years ago. I’ve wondered for a long time if our overuse of pitocin is causing autism, interesting to know I’m not the only one, this article was so informative!! I’m seriously considering my job!

    Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Permalink
  35. Pregnant Again wrote:

    Wonderful information! Makes me more determined to avoid Pit this time around. My midwife said it was fine if I did not want it used during labor, but depending on bleeding & how long it takes to deliver the placenta she would not rule out it’s use entirely. My question is how does Pit use after delivery interfere with chemical bonding between mother & child or is that even an issue? Thanks.

    Sunday, April 24, 2011 at 3:44 am | Permalink
  36. Please give credit where credit is due. This article is practically written word for word from a Pathways Magazine article by Stephanie Soderblom. The original author would probably like the credit.

    Thank you!

    Monday, April 25, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Permalink
  37. Nevermind! Ha! I just saw that elfanie was indeed Stephanie. I am a chiropractor and was just making sure you got the credit =) Great article!

    Monday, April 25, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Permalink
  38. Realist wrote:

    Great post! I just find it interesting that people get so defensive and feisty over someone sharing information. You have a choice whether or not to believe it, so don’t get angry at the informer!

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink
  39. Nerida wrote:

    I’d be interested to see the scientific research linking autism to Pitocin. There is other research that comes to different conclusions as the cause.

    I had the whole cascade thing going, 10 hours on Pit. My child is perfect, in the top 0.5% of the population intectually without being the smarty-pants with no social skills. She is a “friend magnet”, is outgoing, has a wide and varied group of friends and is now the most in-tune-with-her-baby mother I have ever seen.

    I am certainly not of fan of the automatic use of Pitocin, and would love to see all mothers to be fully informed BEFORE they go into labour, but I find the claim that it causes autism somewhat questionable.

    Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 1:04 am | Permalink
  40. It’s pretty fascinating to me how pitocin is advertised as a miracle drug for women, so they can just have their baby whenever they want; yet doctors fail to educate women on the risks of pitocin and the fact that it doesn’t cross the blood brain barrier like natural oxytocin. Thanks for your insight!

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink
  41. Jane Yang wrote:

    Thank you so much for sharing.
    Can I translate this paper into Chinese and post it on my website? I ‘m a childbirth educator in China.
    Expect your back and thanks again.

    Friday, February 19, 2016 at 1:20 am | Permalink
  42. Jane Yang wrote:

    Hi,
    I’m a childbirth educador in China ,this is so good material about pitocin.
    Can I translate this paper into Chinese and issue it on my web?
    Thank you so much ~

    Friday, March 4, 2016 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

6 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pit(ocin) of Despair « before. during. after. on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    […] This is a fantastic blog post from a licensed homebirth midwife, certified doula, certified childbirth educator, and certified breastfeeding counselor based out of Mesa, AZ.  She goes into great detail and is extremely thorough in explaining Pitocin. […]

  2. A FANTASTIC article on pitocin! on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    […] […]

  3. shilohmidwifery.com » Pitocin-another scientific articl on Sunday, February 13, 2011 at 11:38 am

    […] What’s wrong with a little pitocin? A LOT. Read on here. […]

  4. […] Here is an article written by another midwife on Pitocin (the emphasis is more on Pitocin during labor) risks and the risks of the preservative in it. Take a look. […]

  5. NHBS › Pit of Despair | HypnoBliss Birth on Monday, April 25, 2011 at 7:03 am

    […] NHBS › Pit of Despair […]

  6. Super Mom vs. Epidural? | Life with You on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    […] of induction by oxytocin (commonly called Pitocin.  Pitocin is a discussion for another time, but here and here are blog posts [with sources] regarding risks of […]

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