Guest Blog: 5 Things I know about pitocin

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Hey everyone! Katie Marcum from Mid Kansas Doula Services shares her knowledge in this guest blog post about pitocin, something that many people have questions about during their pregnancy.

Hey there! As founder and co-owner of Mid Kansas Doula Services, a common topic with many of our clients is Pitocin. Ask any group of moms about this drug and you'll get very different responses. Some women choose use it, others avoid it like the plague. So, what's the big deal?

1. What is Pitocin?

Pitocin is actually an exact replica of the hormone that our body produces called Oxytocin. Oxytocin, commonly referred to as the 'love hormone', is responsible for the warm and fuzzy feelings we get during weddings, when we cuddle and even during orgasms. This particular hormone is also what causes a woman's uterus to contract during childbirth.

2. Yes, it might hurt more.

This may be one of the biggest reason some women strive to avoid Pitocin. So if Pitocin is the same, chemically, as Oxytocin why would it change the pain level? The most interesting thing is that while technically it doesn't cause 'more' pain, many researchers have discovered that contractions can be more intense because our bodies aren't producing the same amount of endorphins. Another reason that the contractions are sometimes perceived as more intense is that Pitcocin is given at a steady dosage, instead of along the normal flow of our hormones.

3. It can save lives.

Because of the increased perception of pain and intensity, Pitocin carries a bad reputation. The important thing to remember is sometimes augmenting (speeding up) labor is very important. Your doctor may choose to induce because you're past your due date, your blood pressure is out of the safety range, your water breaks and labor isn't starting, gestational diabetes, or any other complications with your or the baby's health.

4. You may have other options.

Although Pitocin may be the most popular inducing medication, it isn't the only one available. Talk to your doctor or midwife about other induction methods that may be available to you. Some things to ask about are Cervadil, Cytotec, a Foley bulb, breaking of waters, acupuncture, acupressure, herbs or oils. None of those options would be good choices for everyone and they can absolutely come with risks. Knowing you have options is so empowering, though!

5. Don't forget you can ask questions!

When in doubt, ask! If you would like to know your individual risks and benefits then talk to your provider. Your doula can also help you find some unbiased research about Pitocin if you're interested in knowing more.

The biggest thing to remember is everyone (well almost everyone) has an opinion about how you birth your baby. Nobody knows what is best for you, your body and your baby except for you and your care provider. Trust your gut, trust your doctor and ask questions when they come up. Congrats and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy!

Thank you, Katie!

Have any additional questions about pitocin? Post them below! We'd love to hear from you.