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Oxytocin/Pitocin

Dangers of Pitocin at Birth

Oxytocin is a naturally occurring substance in the human body associated with bonding as well as childbirth. Pitocin is a synthetic oxytocin. Much like oxytocin, Pitocin is a uterine stimulant. It causes contractions by changing calcium concentrations in the cells of the uterine muscles. However, the negative side effects of Pitocin may cause significant harm to both mother and fetus.

When Is Pitocin Used?

Pitocin is typically used to induce or speed up labor. It may be used to:

  • Start contractions
  • Strengthen contractions
  • Decrease time between contractions

Pitocin Black Box Warning

The FDA issued a black-box warning—the FDA’s strongest warning—about the use of Pitocin in 2007. Label Seen Here. The FDA recommends that Pitocin should only be used when induction of labor is medically indicated or in select cases of stalled labor.

Potential Side Effects of Pitocin on Mother

Pitocin affects the mother differently than the body’s naturally-produced oxytocin. Pitocin is more likely to cause artificially stronger and more frequent contractions than oxytocin. By administering Pitocin during an induction or augmentation of labor, physicians must be aware that the mother is also producing oxytocin naturally and adjust dosages accordingly.

Pitocin is not a dose-dependent drug. Each individual responds to the amount of Pitocin differently. Some mothers may be hypersensitive to the drug. This makes monitoring of Pitocin administration extremely important.

Pitocin overdose or long-term usage over a 24 hour period has been associated with adverse maternal outcomes, including:

Pitocin is especially dangerous when used in conjunction with other contraction augmentation agents, such as Cervidil (dinoprostone). Pitocin can also complicate a vaginal birth after a caesarian section, as it increases the rate of uterine rupture.

Potential Side Effects of Pitocin on Baby

Pitocin is also associated with significant fetal injuries, including:

Prolonged use of Pitocin may cause fetal injury by inducing excessive or lengthy contractions. Excessive contractions may occlude the flow of blood and oxygen to the baby from the placenta. This may lead to asphyxia or HIE-related injuries.

Furthermore, excessive or lengthy contractions may also cause traumatic injury by compression of the baby’s head or impaction of the head on the maternal pelvis. These mechanisms can cause fetal stroke that may lead to permanent brain damage in a child.

Contact Our Birth Injury Lawyers About a Pitocin Birth Injury

Contact our birth injury lawyers if you or your baby suffered an injury from Pitocin. You may have a viable birth injury claim. We help families across the United States, with offices conveniently located in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Wilmington and Birmingham. Call us at (877) 262-9767 to schedule a free consultation.

The following reviews from our clients do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of another legal matter. The cases mentioned in the reviews are illustrative of some of the matters previously handled by Grant & Eisenhofer involving various areas of birth injury law. These reviews are endorsements.

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The following reviews from our clients do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of another legal matter. The cases mentioned in the reviews are illustrative of some of the matters previously handled by Grant & Eisenhofer involving various areas of birth injury law. These reviews are endorsements.

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