Pitocin & The Risk of Birth Injuries | Scott Goodwin Law

Pitocin & The Risk of Birth Injuries

by / Wednesday, 24 April 2024 / Published in Birth Trauma
Sleeping baby.

It’s not at all uncommon for babies to be born on days that aren’t their anticipated due date. Sometimes, they’re born a bit earlier and other times, they’re born a little bit later. But in some cases, it can be advisable for labor to be induced if pregnancy extends into the 41st or 42nd week or if there are other medical reasons to consider, such as diabetes, high blood pressure/preeclampsia, or oligohydramnios. If inducing labor is recommended, one method that might be used is by giving the mother a medication known as Pitocin. 

Pitocin is a synthetic version of oxytocin, which is the hormone which helps start contractions. It’s a very commonly used drug which often effectively helps the labor and delivery process without issue. However, as is the case for all medications and medical procedures, there’s a risk of complications. Since people can respond to Pitocin differently, it’s not always easy for doctors to get the dosage correct and sometimes, second dosages are given too soon. In some cases, Pitocin can result in hyperstimulation, which can potentially cause contractions that are too strong or too frequent.

When contractions are too strong or too frequent, it can affect the flow of blood to the placenta. Disruptions in blood flow to the placenta, in turn, affect the amount of oxygen the baby receives. During labor, contractions temporarily put pressure on the placenta and the flow of blood and oxygen return to normal levels during the time between contractions. This time between contractions is an extremely important part of the labor process.  If Pitocin is used to induce labor, there needs to be close monitoring to make sure there aren’t any signs of distress because frequent or overly strong contractions make it harder for blood flow and oxygen to return to normal levels between contractions, which can result in the baby experiencing a lack of oxygen.

If a baby doesn’t get enough oxygen during delivery, it can potentially have many different effects, depending on how severe the lack of oxygen was. HIE (hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy) is one type of brain injury specifically caused by a lack of oxygen that occurs shortly before or shortly after birth. This type of injury can result in developmental and neurological issues. Cerebral palsy is another condition that can be caused by a lack of oxygen around the time of birth. 

Contact a Michigan Birth Trauma Lawyer

Birth trauma cases can be very complex. The sad reality is that many birth injury cases could have been avoided. If you believe your child experienced a birth injury, don’t hesitate to contact a birth trauma lawyer for help. Even if your child is a few years old and you’re just starting to see symptoms, you may still have legal options. At Scott Goodwin Law, we’re here to help you and your family get the justice you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation where you can get answers to your questions and learn more about your legal options.