Pitocin = oxytocin = our bodies naturally produce it

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    Oxytocin is something our bodies naturally produce. It is what cause the uturus to contract, ad well as the tiny muscle in our breast tissue that causes the milk to squirt out when you are breastfeeding. Your body produces oxytocin in abundance throughout pregnancy. Would it make sense that it teratogenic?
    melmarie23 likes this.
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    No, b/c its not directly acting on the development of the fetus. Oxytocin may cause a miscarriage if found to be in overabundance but it wont cause the fetus to have 2 heads and 10 limbs.
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    Are you basing your statement on information that says pitocin is teratogenic? If so, I would appreciate a link to that information, since it's contrary to what I have heard. I just did a few quick searches of drug references and nothing mentions teratogenic effects.
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    Doesn't really make sense that a naturally produced substance is okay but a chemically similar medication that's administered is not. I bet if you said that to the OB or L&B they would be like, "Huh?"

    Although, I have read that some of the fetal complications of pitocin can be, "fetal asphyxia, neonatal hypoxia, physical injury, or neonatal jaundice.

    I wonder if pitocin were considered a teratogen then why would it be used so regularly administered in an environment that is constantly concerned about fetal and neonatal well-being. Seems odd. I have read that pitocin is used very liberally and used without a specific indication in many situations. Such, the MD may be in a hurry and wants to "speed things up."

    I could see where you are coming from though. Pitocin admininstration leading to fetal asphyxia leading to impaired physiological development. However, I'm making big assumptions here. I haven't read anything like that. Just putting 2 and 2 together.

    Maybe I see your source of information? You may need to reevaluate your source if they aren't credible.

    Also, there was another thread about this subject. Here: http://allnurses.com/ob-gyn-nursing/...le-701876.html

    She was exposed to a bit of pitocin while on the job as an OB RN as well as being pregnant. She was told it was a teratogen while on orientation. This doesn't make sense as it's given all the time. Maybe when one expands upon the definition of a teratogen and uses it casually, it could be harmful in that it can cause spontaneous abortion. But, does it cause embryological, physiological, or genetics defects, which rings true to the definition, I haven't heard or read this.
    Last edit by Floridatrail2006 on Apr 25, '12
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    I think some posters here are confused because they may not understand the difference between a teratogen and an adverse outcome of childbirth.

    Teratogen: Any agent that can disturb the development of an embryo or fetus. Teratogens may cause a birth defect in the child. Or a teratogen may halt the pregnancy outright. The classes of teratogens include radiation, maternal infections, chemicals, and drugs.

    Teratogen definition - Medical Dictionary definitions of popular medical terms easily defined on MedTerms

    The complications listed above "fetal asphyxia, neonatal hypoxia, physical injury, or neonatal jaundice" are most definitely adverse outcomes of childbirth, but have absolutely nothing to do with teratogenicity of pitocin/oxytocin. Rather they are potential complications of pitocin/oxytocin administration during the process of labor and delivery, and are indicitave of diminished oxygen supply to the fetus/newborn. Medications administered to the mother during labor and delivery may have negative effects on the fetus/newborn, but these negative effects are not due to disturbed embryonic or fetal development.
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    Quote from Jolie
    I think some posters here are confused because they may not understand the difference between a teratogen and an adverse outcome of childbirth.

    Teratogen: Any agent that can disturb the development of an embryo or fetus. Teratogens may cause a birth defect in the child. Or a teratogen may halt the pregnancy outright. The classes of teratogens include radiation, maternal infections, chemicals, and drugs.

    Teratogen definition - Medical Dictionary definitions of popular medical terms easily defined on MedTerms

    The complications listed above "fetal asphyxia, neonatal hypoxia, physical injury, or neonatal jaundice" are most definitely adverse outcomes of childbirth, but have absolutely nothing to do with teratogenicity of pitocin/oxytocin. Rather they are potential complications of pitocin/oxytocin administration during the process of labor and delivery, and are indicitave of diminished oxygen supply to the fetus/newborn. Medications administered to the mother during labor and delivery may have negative effects on the fetus/newborn, but these negative effects are not due to disturbed embryonic or fetal development.
    You said it better than I did. Simple and to the point.

    I wonder why folks are saying during his or her's OB orientation they were told, "Pitocin is a teratogen."

    I agree with you though. I haven't found any like between pitocin administration and teratogenic effects on the fetus.
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    Well, it CAN "halt a pregnancy outright." Maybe that's what's making people give it the "teratogen" label?
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    Quote from wooh
    Well, it CAN "halt a pregnancy outright." Maybe that's what's making people give it the "teratogen" label?
    That may be the case. I'd love to hear some feedback from the OP pretty please! :P

    What is the OP's take?
    wooh likes this.
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    I was using "teratogen" in what I considered the technical sense of the word - as in causing birth defects.

    Generally speaking, in a normal healthy pregnancy, oxytocin will not halt a pregnancy (well, unless you're talking about inducing labor, but it's not going to cause an early abortion). As I said in the OP, the body produces it in abundance throughout the pregnancy (and even when not pregnant). I believe men also produce it, in lesser amounts, as well. It would not make sense, from an evolutionary/biological standpoint, for our bodies to naturally produce something that would would be deadly to embryos/fetuses.
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    Considering that many women breastfeed an older child while pregnant with another, and that oxytocin is one of two major breastfeeding hormones....
    TRINI_RN and klone like this.


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