Oxytocin During Labor – Everything You Need To Know

Oxytocin During Labor

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Do you want to know how certain hormones help labor? Do you wish to know about drugs that can help during childbirth? If you said yes, consider reading our post. Here we talk about what is oxytocin and what is its role in childbirth.

About Oxytocin:

Oxytocin is a hormone that your body produces to initiate contractions during labor. As the contractions progress, the level of oxytocin in the body also increases. When the oxytocin production in the body is low, the uterine contractions may not be adequate. During such times, your doctor may prescribe you a synthetic form of oxytocin.

Doctors administer low doses of synthetic oxytocin intravenously. Women who suffer from post-labor bleeding also need the intravenous supply of oxytocin. Therefore, women should take oxytocin only under strict medical supervision.

[ Read: Epidural During Labor ]

Role Of Oxytocin During Labor:

  • Oxytocin can stimulate uterine contractions if these are insufficient to induce labor. It can also quicken the process of labor. However, your doctor may determine your need for synthetic oxytocin and its required dosage.
  • It contributes to the heightened euphoric feeling post-labor, which women who undergo a natural birth experience. Synthetic oxytocin directly enters the bloodstream, so it doesn’t cause the same happy effects of the natural oxytocin production in the body during labor.
  • Synthetic oxytocin is a last resort for women in labor. Your doctor may even suggest stimulating your nipples to raise oxytocin levels in your body.

[ Read: Foods To Induce Labor ]

Side Effects Of Oxytocin To Induce Labor:

Synthetic oxytocin may have some side effects such as:

  • Vomiting
  • High blood pressure
  • Post-labor bleeding
  • Allergic reactions
  • Uterine Ruptures

[ Read: Stages Of Childbirth ]

Oxytocin Suitability:

Not all women are ideal candidates for synthetic oxytocin even if their natural oxytocin production is low. Your doctor may look into your medical history and other health parameters before prescribing oxytocin to you. You may not be an ideal candidate for synthetic oxytocin prescription if:

  • You are over the age of 35.
  • You have kidney, heart or liver problems.
  • You have had allergic reactions in the past to the synthetic hormone.
  • You have issues during pregnancy indicating risks for a natural birth.
  • You have undergone caesarean section in the past.

There could be any number of reasons for your unsuitability to oxytocin. [1]

[ Read: Symptoms Of Labor ]

Some Concerns When Using Oxytocin During Labor:

It is extremely important that you take adequate care while taking synthetic oxytocin. There are some concerns with its use and also things to consider when taking oxytocin for induction of labor.

  • The dose of oxytocin may differ for each patient. Even the dosage of oxytocin for inducing labor and for controlling post-labor bleeding is different.
  • It shouldn’t be used for any other purpose during pregnancy except for inducing labor and controlling post-birth bleeding.
  • Oxytocin may cause contractions to occur too close together or unmanageable without pain medications. At such time, your doctor might discontinue your oxytocin prescription.
  • Its dose must be discontinued immediately if there is any distress to the fetus or hyperactivity of any kind in the uterus.
  • Certain medications including over-the-counter drugs may interfere with Oxytocin use. It is, therefore, imperative that patients declare their prescriptions to their doctor before taking any synthetic oxytocin.
  • Using oxytocin is not only helpful during labor. But it also helps separate the placenta from the uterus with ease. It supports emotional well-being of new mothers and helps the body with the physical transition to motherhood. If you have concerns about your infant ingesting oxytocin through your breast milk consult your doctor before breastfeeding your little one.

Did your doctor prescribe synthetic oxytocin during childbirth? How was your experience with synthetic oxytocin use? Please share your experiences with us.

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