Pitocin danger

Oxytocin is a natural hormone present in our bodies. It plays an essential role in the start of labour, triggering the contractions, it may also play an essential role in the bonding between a women and her child. OBs use a synthetic version of this hormone, commonly known as Pitocin, to induce labour in women who are past their due date or have trouble having contractions. I recently discovered that is also considered as a "candy drug" by the OBs, they tend to over-use this drug, creating the perfect circumstances for emergency c-sections. The Unnecesarean has a great article on this, I can only encourage expecting mothers to read it :

I was really shocked to learn that OBs are known to use this drug to artificially create fetal distress and urge moms to undergo the cesarean when their labour is just a tad too long to their liking. It is well known that North-American rates of C-sections are way above what their normal level should be. Such a surgery should not be taken lightly as there are more consequences and risks both for the moms and the babies than with a normal delivery. For women who have already had a c-section, the use of Pitocin has been linked to an increased risk of uterine rupture, which may lead to the death of her unborn child.

Pitocin is also used in active management of the third stage of birth. That means that a woman may receive pitocin after having birthed her child, to help with the expulsion of the placenta. The reason OBs and midwives would use Pitocin in this case is probably to help the mom expulse the placenta quickly and avoid hemmorrhage. Even in this case, Dr. Odent amongst other researchers has proven that this active management of the third stage may indeed interfere with the normal process of birth and lead to more hemmorrhage, exactly what it was suppose to help avoid. (See his article in Midwifery Today)

What I don't understand is why such practices are allowed when all the research tends to show that it is in fact a dangerous practice. How come obstetrics is the only area where medical practices do not rely on up-to-date science but on habits? How can we encourage women to challenge their OBs when they use such practices that endanger them unecessarily?


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