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How Dangerous Is a Pitocin-Induced Labor?

 Posted on February 08, 2024 in Personal Injury

Lombard birth injury lawyerChildbirth is supposed to be a natural process, and in many situations, it is. However, there are situations where modern medical interventions are needed to ensure the health and well-being of both mother and baby. One of the most common of these interventions is Pitocin, which is used to induce labor. Unfortunately, while the drug can be beneficial, its use also carries significant dangers and risks. An Illinois birth injury lawyer explains some of those risks below.

Reasons to Induce Labor

When a pregnant woman is ready to give birth, her body releases the hormone oxytocin, which stimulates the muscles of the uterus to contract. The hormone also increases the production of prostaglandins, which increases contractions of the uterus. There are situations where a doctor feels that the need to induce labor is necessary. Reasons can include:

  • Pregnancy has gone one to two weeks beyond the due date.
  • The membranes have ruptured, but labor has not started.
  • There is an infection in the uterus. 
  • The mother has developed pre-eclampsia.
  • There has been an abruption of the placenta. 

In these situations, the mother is given Pitocin – a synthetic form of oxytocin – to start labor. However, Pitocin-induced contractions are often stronger and more frequent than natural contractions. These unnaturally intense contractions can lead to fetal distress as the baby may not receive adequate oxygen during prolonged or overly forceful contractions.

Increased Risk of Uterine Rupture

One of the most serious dangers associated with Pitocin-induced labor is the increased risk of uterine rupture. The uterus is a muscular organ, and Pitocin-induced contractions can sometimes become too strong, causing the uterus to tear. Uterine rupture can lead to severe bleeding, necessitating emergency medical intervention for both the mother and the baby.

Fetal Distress

Pitocin-induced contractions can sometimes put excessive stress on the baby, leading to fetal distress. This can manifest as an abnormal fetal heart rate pattern, indicating that the baby is not receiving enough oxygen. Fetal distress may require urgent interventions, including cesarean delivery, to prevent harm to the baby.

Increased Risk of Cesarean Section

The use of Pitocin has been associated with an increased risk of cesarean section. Since there is a much higher risk of complications in Pitocin-induced labor, any one of these risks may necessitate a cesarean delivery to ensure the safety of the mother and the baby.

Postpartum Hemorrhage

Pitocin is commonly administered after childbirth to help the uterus contract and reduce the risk of postpartum hemorrhage. However, in some cases, Pitocin can increase the risk of excessive bleeding by causing the uterus to contract too forcefully. Postpartum hemorrhage can be life-threatening and requires prompt medical attention to prevent complications.

Contact a Lombard, IL Birth Injury Lawyer for a Free Case Evaluation

If you or your baby was injured during labor or childbirth due to induced labor, you need to speak with a DuPage County, IL birth injury attorney at Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices to find out what legal recourse you may have. Call 630-932-9100 for a free consultation.

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