PITOCIN v OXYTOCIN: What Does It Mean For Your Labor?

I cannot tell you how many times, when a client asks their nurse or doctor about Pitocin, I hear “It’s the exact same as Oxytocin”. 

Which is true*

*but not completely.

Because Oxytocin, when released in the body during labor, not only stimulates contractions, but also floods the brain, reducing anxiety, stress, and pain. Pitocin does not cross into the brain because of the blood brain barrier. Pitocin is also given in much higher quantities. In a 2019 study researchers found that 9 milliunits (mU) of Pitocin per minute lead to similar levels in the blood as seen with physiologic labor. However, Pitocin is often increased beyond this point, and once Pitocin is increased to 10-16 mU per minute it raises levels in the body to double those of physiological labor. 🤯

🔸 So What Can You Do? 🔸

SELF-ADVOCATE

▫️ Know that Pitocin can be increased at a rate that YOU determine. It does not need to be every 30 minutes (as is common practice in many hospital systems).

TAKE A BREAK

▫️ If the Pitocin levels are getting overwhelming you can always take a break and request that the Pitocin be turned off so that you can have a snack, take a nap, and restart when you’re feeling ready. Pitocin has a half life of about 10 minutes and can be medically counter-acted faster if needed. Stopping Pitocin during Active Labor can give your body a change to “take over” and reducing the risk of uterine overstimulation and emergent cesarean.

AND REMEMBER …

▫️ Everyone in the room works for you, your baby, and your support person. 

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