As someone who recently had my baby at 41 weeks, the feelings of “When am I going to have this baby already?!”are still fresh in my mind. After 36 weeks, pregnancy starts to get rough, we become larger, our bodies are pushed to their limits, our discomfort level is getting higher and sleep is getting harder to come by.
If a care provider tells you that they can get labor started at 37, or 38 weeks, that can sound pretty dang attractive. When I was told at 37 weeks with my first that I was going to be given pitocin and “have that baby today”, I was elated. I did think to ask; “Will this cause any harm to my baby?” I was told that everyone gets it and that it was safe. Good enough for me! Was the information I received true or resemble anything like informed consent? No. Induction rates and cesarean rates have been on the rise in the U. S. why is that? There are a number of factors but I think much of it is a lack of understanding about what is normal about pregnancy and labor.
According to Childbirth Connection:
“A surprising number of women don’t have accurate information about how long a normal pregnancy should last. A study of new mothers found that nearly one in four believed that a baby was full-term when it reached 34-36 weeks, and more than half believed it was safe to deliver the baby at that point. In fact, it is unsafe to deliver a baby before 39 weeks unless there is a clear medical need.”
Just recently ACOG (American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists) has stated Induction of labor can increase the risk of cesarean. I’m curious to know if Obstetricians are saying this to their patients before an induction.
Watch the video below for more information:
What parents aren’t being told,
The U.S. Pitocin package insert is clear about the risks of the drug, warning that it can cause:
- fetal heart abnormalities (slow heart beat, PVCs and arrhythmias)
- low APGAR scores
- neonatal jaundice
- neonatal retinal hemorrhage
- permanent central nervous system or brain damage
- fetal death
“A Swedish study showed a nearly 3 times greater risk of asphyxia (oxygen deprivation) for babies born after augmentation with Pitocin. And a study in Nepalshowed that induced babies were 5 times more likely to have signs of brain damage at birth.
Pitocin can also cause complications for birthing women. Evidence suggests that women who receive Pitocin have increased risk of postpartum hemorrhage, which is likely due to the prolonged exposure to non-pulsed oxytocin. This makes the oxytocin receptors in her uterus insensitive to oxytocin (“oxytocin resistance”) and her own postpartum oxytocin release ineffective in preventing hemorrhage after birth.
In addition, Pitocin may have effects on the natural hormonal cascade which is so important to an undisturbed birth. In one study, women who received Pitocin to speed up labor did not experience an increase in beta-endorphin levels. I described the importance of beta-endorphin to the birth process in a previous article.
Hormonal disruption may also explain the reduced rate of breastfeeding following labor that was induced with Pitocin.”