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Rama Mama Doula Share: Questions From Mothers...

A Question Commonly Asked...

What Is Pitocin and Why Is It Important?

An important question that comes up for women who have hospital births is regarding a synthetic hormone called Pitocin. Naturally, women produce a hormone called Oxytocin in order to help the body contract the uterus during childbirth as well as for lactation in order to breastfeed the baby. Oxytocin also helps the body produce prostaglandins which support the contractions as they get stronger and stronger during labor and delivery. If a mother is induced in order to start labor artificially, then Pitocin is used to help get the contractions get started. It is also used when labor is not progressing to the doctors and nurses expectations. Within 30 minutes of this synthetic hormone being administered, the first contractions usually begin. As long as this drug is used with careful monitoring, then it can be safe for both mommy and baby. However, if it is used irresponsibly, then "hyperstimulation" can put the baby and mother both in danger. When contractions become too intense and in shorter timeframes, there is risk for lacerations on the cervix/vagina, the mother's uterus rupturing, or for hemorrhaging to happen postpartum. The baby could also be at risk of brain damage if the contractions are too strong and put too much pressure on their head and the natural blood flow to the brain. In order to even receive Pitocin, the cervix has to be ripe, or have a "Bishop Score" of 6 or higher. If it is not ripe, then instead of Pitocin, they will use Cervidil (a thin gel that is inserted vaginally) to prepare the cervix for labor. With Pitocin and Cervidil, statistics show that 75% of first-time mothers will have a successful vaginal delivery. The other 25% either need to wait longer or end up getting a cesarean section if the cervix cannot dilate to 10 centimeters.

Take time to make the right decision for your body and baby. With mindfulness and Love, all things are possible, safe, and effective. Knowledge is power and taking the time to talk to the medical team about your options will help put the mind at ease and everyone on the same page. Every birth is so unique, and every tool serves a purpose. Using the birth plan, we can create our dream birth scenario, and then we have to let go and allow it to be what it is supposed to be. All things manifest in Faith and Love.

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