What Is Pitocin And What Is It Used For?

Pitocin is a synthetic drug that is used to stimulate labor.  Pitocin is given through an IV drip when it has been determined that a woman needs to begin labor (for instance because a baby is in distress and is past due), or if a labor is not progressing smoothly or quickly enough.  Sometimes, pitocin is given after labor to help shrink the uterus back to its normal size and expel the placenta.

Typically, contractions will start about thirty minutes after pitocin is given.  Perhaps because pitocin is given continuously (oxytocin, the natural hormone produced by the pituitary gland is released in bursts) contractions are often harder and more painful than when pitocin is not given.  Most women who have delivered with pitocin and without pitocin agree that labor with pitocin is more painful.

There are risks with taking pitocin, as there are with any drug.  When you are faced with induction of labor be sure to consider all of your options and discuss these with your doctor or midwife when making a choice about your delivery.

What Is Pitocin And What Is It Used For?