Birth Injury Risks of Pitocin

Ava Lawson | November 27th, 2012 | Posted in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit News

Pitocin is a synthetic form of the naturally occurring hormone oxytocin used to induce labor or reduce time between contractions. Since every woman responds differently to drug, the dose must be carefully monitored and adjusted to avoid undue stress on the baby. For many pregnant women, Pitocin can be helpful and even life-saving, but evidence suggests that synthetic oxytocin is not without its risks.

Pitocin-induced contractions are longer and much more intense than a woman’s natural contractions. And these protracted placental compressions may cause significant stress to the fetus causing abnormal heart rates.

If health practitioners fail to monitor Pitocin levels and promptly react to warning signs of fetal distress, serious birth injuries may result. In severe cases, complications ensuing from a Pitocin induced birth injury may contribute to cerebral palsy or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).  When faced with preventable injuries that were caused by hospital negligence, parents can seek legal recourse with the aid of a medical malpractice lawyer.

How Pitocin works

In many situations, Pitocin safely speeds up the delivery process by simulating the body’s natural hormone oxytocin, which causes the regular uterine contractions of labor. However, oxytocin is only secreted in short bursts, but when a woman is administered Pitocin, it’s always through a regulated IV that releases a steady flow of the drug. As the uterus contracts forcefully, the blood flow decreases, thereby reducing oxygen to the fetus.

Pitocin risks

Research shows that women who are given Pitocin during labor have a heightened risk of postpartum hemorrhage and uterine rupture. A medical study in Sweden revealed that babies induced by Pitocin were three times at greater risk of asphyxia which can lead to brain damage.

The neonatal risks of Pitocin are clearly labeled in the package insert, which includes the following:

  • Fetal heart abnormalities and arrhythmia
  • Low APGAR scores
  • Brain damage
  • Jaundice
  • Fetal death
  • Neonatal retinal hemorrhage
  • Central nervous system damage

Experienced medical malpractice lawyer

If you believe your child suffered a Pitocin induced birth injury due to misuse or prolonged exposure to the drug during delivery, speak to a medical malpractice lawyer at Balkin & Eisbrouch to learn more about your legal rights.

Our legal team is well-versed in claims involving medical negligence, and we’ve helped families collect millions of dollars in birth injury settlements and jury verdicts over the years. Balkin & Eisbrouch has the experience and resources to fight for the compensation you and your child deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.