The Dangers of Pitocin—used to control postpartum hemorrhage

September 8th, 2010 § 0 comments

Plenty has been written on the dangers of Pitocin for induction or augmentation of labor. As a midwife practicing out-of-hospital, I am prohibited by law from using Pitocin during labor—although I would not consider using it during labor were it permitted. I believe it should only be used during the antepartum—and very rarely, at that—in the hospital.
On the other hand, midwives are permitted—if they have doctor’s standing orders—to use Pitocin to control postpartum hemorrhage. I have given a shot of Pitocin IM under my preceptor’s supervision a couple times, and I believe it was justified.

However, someone recently asked me if I really knew the side-effects and the dangers of Pitocin, and I had to admit that though I knew the basic ones (allergic reaction, for instance, and retention of fluids), I hadn’t done an in-depth amount of research on the topic. Of course, you hear about all the dangers to the baby and the mother when Pitocin is used during labor, but postpartum use is quite different. The danger to the baby, of course, is no longer there once the baby is born. The risk of uterine rupture, likewise, is no longer a factor once the uterus is empty. So what are the risks and dangers that accompany postpartum Pitocin use?

This, my readers, is what I have yet to discover…

Stay tuned for the upcoming post.

Here is an article written by another midwife on Pitocin (the emphasis is more on Pitocin during labor) risks and the risks of the preservative in it. Take a look.

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