Friday, June 7, 2013

ACOG Report - Pitocin use may be bad for babies!

True to form, the medical community has routinely over-used an intervention on women and babies EXPERIMENTALLY before knowing the risks or benefits of wide-scale use. Mass experimentation on women and children has been an ongoing issue with modern western medicine and CLEARLY continues... this time with the drug Pitocin. 

Pitocin, a synthetic form of Oxytocin, is used all too frequently in maternity care to either induce (start) or augment (speed up) labor... a typical intervention on the 'cascade' that SO many women unnecessarily face in the hospital system today. It is WELL KNOWN that Pitocin makes contractions more frequent, more intense, and longer. how could it NOT adversely effect a newborn!? Additionally, research has demonstrated that Pitocin use to induce labor can double the risk of a surgical delivery (Cesarean Section).

According to Birth Certificate data from the CDC 2010 Report and the recently released Listening to Mother Survey III, somewhere between 23-40% of women receive Pitocin to induce their labor and approximately 31% receive Pitocin during labor to "speed things up"; 50% of mothers reported receiving synthetic Oxytocin to either induce or augment their labors! Half of women are being given a synthetic form of Oxytocin without research indicating it is safe for infants... and now a study that actually indicates the opposite.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a report on May 7, 2013 about a study that found Adverse Effects of Pitocin in Newborns. Researchers at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City conducted a retrospective analysis of 3,000 deliveries of full-term infants, from 2009 to 2011, that were either induced or augmented with Pitocin. To assess infant outcomes, the researchers used the Adverse Outcome Index which is a tool used to measure unexpected perinatal and obstetric outcomes.

The researchers found that the use of Pitocin, for EITHER induction or augmentation, was an independent risk factor for unexpected NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) admission lasting more than 24 hours. This means that Pitocin alone contributed to babies needing NICU admission. Full-term infants should RARELY be transferred to the NICU - where the baby is separated form the parents, breastfeeding can be negatively impacted and routine procedures done to an infant in the NICU can be traumatic and increase the risk of infection...

They also found that augmentation with Pitocin was associated with lower 5-minute APGAR Scores (of less than 7), which demonstrates that this baby is not thriving. Healthy full-term babies should have an 8 or above on their 5-minute APGAR.  

This ACOG news release acknowledges that there are now CLEAR risks of Pitocin use for BOTH the mother and the infant. The results of this study suggest that medical practitioners need to use VALID MEDICAL INDICATIONS when using Pitocin! ...Such as NOT inducing a healthy pregnancy before 39 weeks. 

This is truly upsetting, to say the least, and an abuse of women and babies in childbirth! Be informed and talk to your provider about how THEY practice medicine and be sure that your provider BELIEVES in your ability to give birth. Remember that you don't have to give birth in a hospital, there are safe alternatives!

Want to know more? Here is an excellent resource about the Evidence for Pitocin use, from Evidence-Based Birth!

~Wisdom and Birth


  1. This is a rather damning interpretation of a very simple paper that isn't even published yet.

    Any obstetrician could have told you that the use of pitocin increases the likelihood of low apgars and NICU admissions. We didn't need this study to know that. Pitocin increases the frequency and intensity of contractions, leading to birth. In excess it can also cause too many or too strong contractions, potentially harming a baby.

    There are good indications for the use of pitocin, and to imply that it is fundamentally a dangerous thing is both wrong and harmful to women and infants.

    There is plenty of room for an educated discussion of induction of labor and the pluses and minuses of augmentation of natural labor. There is no question than induction of a healthy pregnancy before 39 weeks is not justified, and this is something that is being eliminated now. I would go further and say that routine induction for many psuedo-high risk conditions such as mild gestational hypertension and well controlled gestational diabetes is a little too aggressive, and probably hurts women through increased cesarean rates without benefit to the infants.

    That said, the tone of your piece is quite inflammatory, and contributes to a mistrust of the medical community that ultimately serves to hurt women. It is as if doctors have some vested interest in harming women and infants, which is of course ridiculous.

    It also suggests that the community of doulas and lay midwives with minimal book knowledge and practical training actually know the 'real truth' about childbirth, while the obstetricians who studied and practiced it 100 hours a week over hundreds and hundreds of births actually are brainwashed villains. It is more complicated than that.

    Nicholas Fogelson, MD

  2. Pitocin is the work of the devil. Of that, I have no doubt. It greatly increases the risk of fetal distress, abnormal heart rate in laboring babies and yes of course - the risk of c-sections. I wish as a first time mum I had been more informed about it before labor so that I could outrightly stand my ground against it's use. Although I said I wasn't comfortable with it, they still pushed it on me (bye bye informed consent) and my labor deteroriated rapidly aftter that point. There is absolutely no other reason why my baby could have gone into fetal distress.