The Pitocin Cycle
Modern medicine is wonderful. There are many complications that can crop up during pregnancy that meant death to both mother and child only 50 years ago, but today can be only minor hassles.
One of the most useful of these innovations is a drug called Pitocin. When labor stalls, and other methods do not help to start the process again, it can be extremely hazardous to both mother and baby. Administering Pitocin will restart labor nearly 100% of the time – which is a godsend.
On the other hand, this wonder drug can wreak havoc on your labor if it is prescribed unnecessarily. Doctors and hospitals LOVE Pitocin, because it speeds up the process and means more money for them, but it almost always leads to the Pitocin Cycle.
Pitocin works by forcing your body to contract harder and longer than it would under natural circumstances. This does two things. It puts a more violent pressure on the baby, and makes the pain almost unbearable for the mother. Pitocin leads to an epidural nearly 100% of the time.
Now, epidurals are not all bad, either. They can be a great relief for mothers who are struggling with the pain of birth. But ESPECIALLY when combined with Pitocin, they can be detrimental to your labor process. While the Pitocin is working double time to push your bundle of joy into the world, the epidural can make you lose all feeling to the lower half of your body. You can't feel the pain, but you can’t push properly, either. It’s like numbing your face at the dentist and then trying to spit. Not very effective.
So your labor stalls again, because your body isn’t reacting properly. The doctor tells you that it is imperative that the baby needs to come NOW, because the trauma of the stronger contractions is elevating his or her heart-rate. So they give you more Pitocin, which usually coincides with the epidural wearing off, so now the pain is extreme. They give you more pain medication, which causes more numbing, and further hinders your ability to push.
By now, the baby is in full distress because your body is contracting 3 or 4 times harder than nature intended, and the doctors tell you that they need to perform an emergency c-section in order to save the baby’s life.
This cycle happens every day in every hospital in America. Almost 40% of all babies born today are born via c-section. FORTY PERCENT. At some hospitals, the rate is closer to 75%.
So what do you do? It seems easy enough to simply say, “we won’t use Pitocin.” But when you are in the moment, and the doctor tells you that you need this medicine or your baby’s life may be at risk, are you sure you would know the difference between normal slowing of labor and a serious medical issue?
Having a doula there to help guide your decision can be a huge relief. Doula View provides you a doula with training and experience to be able to tell the difference and help you to make the decision that will be right for your family and your needs. Discounting all of the other benefits a doula provides, the Pitocin Cycle is the number one reason to hire a doula.