Does inducing labor pose any threats to mother?
If labor is slow to progress, a doctor may suggest using the drug Pitocin to induce contractions. When given to a woman whose baby is being slow to make an entrance, the drug can speed things along. However, there can be adverse effects as well if the drug is improperly used or overused.
Pitocin is a synthetic form of a hormone that naturally occurs in women during labor, otherwise known as oxytocin. A liquid drug, Pitocin is given to the patient through an IV drip, and is regulated by a medication pump.
The doctor will determine how much Pitocin to dose per hour, and may increase the dosage hourly until the mother is on a regular contraction pattern.
There are many adverse side effects for not only the baby, but the mother as well.
The use of Pitocin leads to longer, harder and more painful contractions. Besides for the pain factor, there is also a higher risk for complicated labor and delivery, and a higher rate of placental rupture and separation which can be life threatening for both mother and baby. There is also the risk of excessive bleeding following birth.
About 20% of pregnant women undergo labor induction. Reasons for induction include:
- Post term pregnancy (over 42 weeks)
- No contractions after water breaks
- Water breaks too early
- Infection of the uterus
- Placenta is deteriorating
- Baby stopped growing at expected pace
- Medical condition (such as diabetes or high blood pressure) that puts the mother or fetus at risk
While Pitocin is the most common method of labor induction, other methods include:
- Dilating the cervix using medications or dilators
- Stripping the membranes
- Breaking the mother’s water
Labor induction can carry various risks that can out weight the benefits. Talking with a medical practitioner will help mothers to learn more about the risks and benefits of using Pitocin and inducing labor.