Inducing Labor With Pitocin May Increase Risks of Birth Injury
MIAMI, FL, February 07, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Modern medicine has come a long way in protecting the life and health of an expecting mother and her unborn baby during pregnancy and childbirth. One reason is the drug Pitocin. When used properly, it can effectively induce labor in a mother who has progressed past term (41 weeks or beyond) or to augment labor, when a mother is not progressing on her own.
What Is Pitocin?
Pitocin is a synthetic drug based on the oxytocin hormone that is naturally produced by a woman's body during delivery. Oxytocin stimulates contractions of the uterus and Pitocin attempts to mimic this behavior. Pitocin however is not an exact replica of the natural oxytocin hormone. When used to augment labor, Pitocin can result in contractions that are too close together or an abnormal labor.
Pitocin-induced contractions may be more forceful and last longer than natural contractions, leading to stress on both the mother and the fetus. Each contraction applies pressure to the placenta and can reduce bloodflow and oxygen to an unborn child that may result in signs of fetal distress, abnormal heartbeat or birth injury.
Serious Risks Related To The Use Of Pitocin
The Physician's Desk Reference (PDR) recommends that Pitocin be used only when medically necessary and that doses are started at a very low level. Not every expecting mother will react to the drug the same way and low doses will ensure that the birthing team has time to react to any negative side effects.
Use of Pitocin is not recommended if:
- The baby's head is large in proportion to the size of the mother's pelvis, called cephalopelvic disproportion
- The weight of risks-to-benefits of vaginal delivery favor a Cesarean-section (C-section)
- The baby has not progressed despite a series of contractions
- The baby is presenting as a breech birth
- The mother is allergic
According to the package insert for Pitocin, once the labor-inducing drug is administered, the mother should be closely monitored for signs of distress and a doctor trained to deal with any negative side effects of the drug must be readily available. If there are signs of fetal distress, Pitocin should be stopped.
Reported side effects of the drug include:
To the mother:
- Allergic reaction
- Postpartum bleeding (more so than normal)
- Irregular heart rhythms
- Uterine rupture
To the baby:
- Bradycardia (slow heartbeat)
- Permanent spinal cord or brain damage
- Retinal hemorrhage
Pitocin is not just a dangerous drug; there are benefits to its use. If administered and monitored correctly, it can help save the life of a mother and/or her unborn child. It may also be an effective way to control postpartum bleeding.
Possibly the most important factor in the successful use of Pitocin is your birthing team: do they understand the risks, can they identify signs of distress and do they know how to react appropriately if complications arise.
When Pitocin Use Results In Injury To A Mother Or Newborn
If Pitocin was administered during childbirth and any of the above side effects were experienced, you may have a legal claim for compensation against the drug manufacturer, your doctor, your birthing team or the hospital where you delivered, depending on the facts and circumstances of your injury. A birth injury attorney in your area can advise you of your legal rights.
The South Florida trial lawyers of Freidin Dobrinsky have been helping individuals secure compensation after the negligence, recklessness or bad acts of another forces them to deal with serious personal injury. After more than 300 jury trials and a history of achieving exceptional results on behalf of clients, Freidin Dobrinsky focuses on providing quality legal services to each and every individual and family we work with.
To learn more about our birth injury lawyers in Miami, please visit http://www.freidindobrinsky.com. If you or a loved one has been injured, call 866-495-8060 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with an experienced South Florida attorney at our Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, or Fort Myers office.