Pitocin Birth Injuries
How The Use Of Pitocin Can Sometimes Lead To A Birth Injury
The body has a natural hormone called oxytocin which is used to cause a woman’s uterus to contract. Pitocin is a drug that is used to artificially mimic oxytocin and cause a woman’s uterus to contract. Contractions are the body’s way to guide the baby through the birth canal and through delivery.
Doctors will administer Pitocin through an IV. Gradually the amount is increased until the right amount of contractions is reached. Remember, the point of Pitocin is to artificially start your contractions. With that said, doctors must be sure that your body is ready to have the baby. In other words, your cervix must be prepared to have the baby. Pitocin does not do anything to prepare the cervix for delivery.
For Pitocin to work properly, mother’s cervix must be ready for delivery. This is sometimes called the ripening of the cervix. If the cervix is not ripened, then serious injury and complications can occur. As a matter of fact, the use of Pitocin is only suggested when there are problems continuing the pregnancy.
What Types Of Birth Injuries Can Be Caused By Pitocin?
Because Pitocin augments labor, doctors must pay close attention to things like the dosage given, and mother’s contraction patterns, among other things. Hyperstimulation of the uterus is a serious condition doctors must be on the lookout for when using Pitocin. Hyperstimulation can lead to too many contractions, thus not allowing there to be a rest period.
When a mother is having too many contractions over a set amount of time, the condition is called tachysystole. In general, tachysystole occurs when mother has 6 contractions in a 10-minute period, or contractions less than 2-3 minutes apart from each other. If contractions are too frequent, then the placenta has a hard time continuing to supply oxygen to the baby. Reduced oxygen can then in turn lead to fetal hypoxia. Brain injuries can be the result of this course of action and may lead to a future cerebral palsy diagnosis in the baby.
The following are some of the types of birth injuries which can result from the use of Pitocin:
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
Bradycardia: This is a low heart rate in the baby…can be displayed on fetal heart strips
Tachycardia: This is a high heart rate in the baby…can be displayed on the fetal heart strips
Low Apgar Scores: These scores measure the baby’s condition immediately after delivery. They can be done at the 1,5, and 10-minute marks. The scale is from 0-10, with 10 being the best score.
Areas Of Investigation When A Birth Injury Is Suspected To Be Linked To Pitocin
A Maryland birth injury attorney will look to see if the guidelines surrounding the use of Pitocin were adhered to when a birth injury occurs. When doctors decide to use Pitocin, the medical literature requires them to stick to strict guidelines on Pitocin usage. Remember, Pitocin acts to artificially stimulate delivery. A strong argument can be made that the failure to follow the medical guidelines, and an injury occurs because of this, is a breach in the standard of care, thus leading to medical malpractice.
Below are some reasons in which Pitocin should not be administered:
Cephalopelvic Disproportion: When the pelvis prevents the child from coming down the birth canal
Fetal Distress When Delivery Is Not Soon
Unfavorable Fetal Positions
The guidelines warn that Pitocin should only be given through IV. In addition, the hospital must have adequate supervision of patients who have been administered Pitocin. Deviations from these requirements can lead to medical malpractice in some instances.
Pitocin Related Adverse Reactions In Mother
Mothers can sometimes have adverse reactions to Pitocin. Below are some of the adverse reactions that a mother may experience:
Was The Mismanagement Of Pitocin The Cause Of Your Baby’s Brain Injury?
The lack of oxygen can be a serious risk to a baby. It can be so serious that the lack of oxygen can lead to a brain injury, and in some instances, multi organ failure. When doctors make the medical decision to use Pitocin to help get the labor and delivery moving, they must carefully monitor mother and baby, and adhere to the strict guidelines governing the use of Pitocin. Serious injury can occur when these things are not done.
Boston Law Group, LLC represents victims of birth injury and medical malpractice throughout Maryland. We can help victims in:
Prince George’s County
Anne Arundel County
St. Mary’s County
Is your child suffering from a brain injury, or other birth injury because of the improper use of pitocin?
Don’t leave your child’s future challenges to chance.
Download our free birth injury e-book now to learn more.