Disclaimer: This is my blog and is my opinions - I am not a doctor and not a scholar- these are my opinions from what I see and from what I have experienced.
When and How much?
When my son was born - my water broke and I wasn't contracting. Ignorant to any birth choices I headed to the hospital where they put me on Pitocin to get things going. I didn't want an epidural because I didn't want to slow anything down, however I felt lucky I didn't otherwise I wouldn't have felt the hell the pitocin put my body thru. One contraction on top of the other- they never came down fully and there were no breaks in between. I just remember the vision of my hand gripping the bed rail while the nurse yelled at me, “Ms. Rachel you need to breathe for your baby!” and me pleading with her to turn the pitocin down. They did but I always wonder how that affected my son and if he suffered oxygen deprivation - fetal hypoxia and how many people are put on those high levels of pitocin where there uterus is hyperstimulated and they don't even know it because they can't feel it and it is only turned down when the baby's heartrate is decelerating and the contractions are too long- This is too late! This is reckless! There is a reckless use of Pitocin going on!
Where I live in the state of New jersey, it is basically protocol to use pitocin and if it not 100% it is safe to say it is about 90-95 % use either for induction to start labor or augmentation once labor has started.
Were you oxytocin receptors at peak levels when you received pitocin to augment labor or were you administered picotin to get labor started?
How much did you receive and for how long? All these may contribute.
If your uterus is hyperstimulated by pitocin, you may experience contractions that are right on top of one another and will not experience a break in between. Uterine Hyperstimulated definition - contraction more than 5 in 10 minute period. It is defined as either a series of single contractions lasting 2 minutes or more or a contraction frequency of five or more in 10 minutes. Typically a contraction last 60 seconds and there is a break in between each one of a few minutes. During the contraction the baby's oxygen is limited since everything is feeling pressure and baby is being pushed down into birth canal and everything is compressed. In between contractions, that pressure subsided, the cord is able pulsate delivering oxygen to the baby again. so what happens if your uterus is hyperstimulated by pitocin and you are experience one contraction after another? How will your baby get oxygen? Is it possible that there are a lot of babies being born who are not getting enough oxygen? And some by cesarean due to decelerated heartrate that was caused by administering too much pitocin? I believe more studies need to be done to learn the optimal time to first receive pitocin and the safe length of time to receive. According to Sarah Buckley, mother's oxytocin receptors have levels and when they are at peak levels, it is a more optimal time to receive induction because they will respond better. If not at peak levels then a greater amount and presumably length of time will be required. Think of it like sex- if you have experienced foreplay and are plumped and ready to go, then your chances of have experiencing climax will be sooner than if your body was not primed. Or a car - we must prime the engine folks. What else in life do we "prime" - shouldn't our bodies be primed for pitocin as well if it is going to work well?
Needlessly exposed to this drug? It can be helpful but with proper dosage and timing.
So if medical personnel are trained to turn off the pit or lower the pit AFTER the baby'e heartrate has already decelerated or AFTER the contractions have been too long- isn't this too late!? This may not be too late for the medical facility and staff to save baby from death or severe brain injury but we don't even have the studies to show if this is too late for baby in terms of long-term health and brain development. Do we know this isn't contributing to autism for example- not even the oycotcin factor but simply the oxygen? I just think it is interesting that NJ has extremely high-rates of pitocin use and autism- there I said it. How long is the medical community going to play reckless with our babies?
According to the recently published hormonal physiology of childbearing report synthetic oxytocin may impact maternal oxytocin and physiology. Possible effects include
- uterine hyperstimulation with potential fetal hypoxia, requiring monitoring
- body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply
The report goes on to say:
Physiologic principles, animal studies, and evolving human evidence suggest that perinatal synthetic oxytocin exposure may have longer-term impacts on offspring. While high-quality research is lacking, potential mechanisms include
- direct fetal brain-hormone effects from synthetic oxytocin transfer through placenta
- indirect signaling of maternal oxytocin to fetal brain
- indirect effects from subclinical hypoxia
And according to the 2013 ACOG report (American American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) “Induction and augmentation of labor with the hormone oxytocin may not be as safe for full-term newborns as previously believed…”
“However, we don’t want to discourage the use of Pitocin, but simply want a more systematic and conscientious approach to the indications for its use,” Dr. Tsimis said. Study Finds Adverse Effects of Pitocin in Newborns
There is a need for studies on the effects of pitocin induction and any correlation to fetal distress.
Let's stop this reckless use of pitocin! #skipthepit #talkpitover
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“Funny, poignant, MUST watch video.” – Full Spectrum Doula Network
Seems obvious? Yes, privacy helps us relax. Request "minimal staff presence" in your labor and delivery room. (c) 2011 Rachel Connolly Kwock. Like Failure to Progress? on Facebook.
Failure to Progress? has received over 50K views between classes and views from the original youtube upload (updated version above). Failure to Progress has been viewed in the US and Canada, Australia, Europe, and recently started traveling thru Israel and Argentina. Failure to Progress? The movie is used by educators and instructors globally including Debra Pascali-Bonaro and Julie Bonapace. If you'd like a free download for your childbirth ed classes please contact us and we will send to you. The short was also invited to the Terre des Femmes Film Festival and was featured on Ceridwen's blog on Babble.com who writes:
"Ha! This video is a great illustration of why labor sometimes stalls in the hospital. “Failure to progress” is an oft-cited reason for c-sections and/or the use of medication (pitocin) to get labor going." Read more from Babble
What people are saying about Failure to Progress? The Movie:
I am Doula and work in Cameroun. I think is an excellent didactique tool both for medical staff and pregnant women.” – SophieYvan
Birth cannot be hurried, Ina May will not be hurried, and "Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin & the Farm Midwives" Documentary was certainly not going to budge either. Do you like quilts, women, history, color, b&w, humor, & goo ("goo" as Vanity Fair wrote) or all of the above? Then you will love to see Birth Story. It wasn't quite my expectation- not sure what was, but I initially found myself wishing the contemporary footage matched the evocative quality of the archival 70s archival footage. Then it became clear that if that were the case, the documentary would have been about Itself and it was very much and
exactly about Ina May (& husband Stephen- quietly) & the Farm Midwives. In a pacing that verged on languid, the film gently quilted together the life, and what will become, the legacy of Ina May's life and influence.
One of my favorite parts transitioned the different eras from contemporary to archival footage featuring one of The Farm's midwives birthing her baby. (Oh and by the way, the film is not for the faint of heart). In that moment of transition we were so beautifully taken back to birth, simply the beauty of birth. It didn't seem to be about her birth as a future midwife or what type of birth or how it related to the film- it was just beautiful footage of a woman birthing, which is really what it is all about.
From that birth, the film takes us thru the major markers in Ina May's life and work, by piecing together interview footage with some fabulous archival footage and some contemporary footage. In this documentary frame, the filmmakers present to us all the major stuff that we think of when we think of Ina May Gaskin- The Farm in Tennessee; her skill and knowledge about delivering a breech birth- a skill that young doctors are now seldom trained; how she was introduced to the Gaskin Maneuver used to relieve Shoulder Dystocia; her theory on the Sphincter Law (á la Failure to Progress) & the Safe
Motherhood Quilt Project. We even see the birth of an OP baby (face up), which isn't remarkable in itself but remarkable because the delivery itself and the response of Ina May were both gentle and slow- panic is the all too common response these days.
I loved every moment- can you tell? I only hope Ina May's skills do not become as archived as the documentary's 70s film footage.
Thank you Ina May and the Farm Midwives and thank you Stephen and the filmmakers for what was surely a tremendous labor of love.
Buy the DVD or for film & screening information please visit BirthStoryMovie.com.