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Pitocin = oxytocin = our bodies naturally produce it

Posted

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 14 years experience.

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?

libran1984, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency Nursing. Has 4 years experience.

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.

Double-Helix, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU. Has 9 years experience.

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.

guest042302019, BSN, RN

Specializes in Progressive, Intermediate Care, and Stepdown.

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: https://allnurses.com/ob-gyn-nursing/hanging-pit-while-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.

Edited by AndrewCraigRN

Jolie, BSN

Specializes in Maternal - Child Health. Has 34 years experience.

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.

guest042302019, BSN, RN

Specializes in Progressive, Intermediate Care, and Stepdown.

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.

Well, it CAN "halt a pregnancy outright." Maybe that's what's making people give it the "teratogen" label?

guest042302019, BSN, RN

Specializes in Progressive, Intermediate Care, and Stepdown.

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?

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 14 years experience.

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.

Elvish, BSN, DNP, RN, NP

Specializes in Community, OB, Nursery.

Considering that many women breastfeed an older child while pregnant with another, and that oxytocin is one of two major breastfeeding hormones....

melmarie23, MSN, RN

Specializes in L&D/Maternity nursing.

Considering that many women breastfeed an older child while pregnant with another, and that oxytocin is one of two major breastfeeding hormones....

Yeah. I am currently pregnant, and I was still nursing my first into my second trimester. This lil guy is still alive and kicking inside me.

I remember breast feeding my then 9 month old son. I went to the doctors office for a checkup because I was feeling tired all the time. The doctor told me honey you're tired because you're breast feeding and you're also pregnant!!!! Omg!!!!!! She immediately told me to stop breast feeding my son. So now I'm wondering if I could have kept breast feeding my son. This website is so awesome you learn so much all the time on here.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 14 years experience.

I remember breast feeding my then 9 month old son. I went to the doctors office for a checkup because I was feeling tired all the time. The doctor told me honey you're tired because you're breast feeding and you're also pregnant!!!! Omg!!!!!! She immediately told me to stop breast feeding my son. So now I'm wondering if I could have kept breast feeding my son. This website is so awesome you learn so much all the time on here.

When you're pregnant, your milk generally dries up by around 12 weeks. This is your body's way of preserving your energy stores for your growing fetus and making sure all of your calories goes where it needs to go. The body is very efficient, and thousands of years of evolution generally knows what it's doing. Pregnant women are generally tired all the time. That's pretty normal.

You can most cetainly breastfeed throughout a pregnancy! If an OB was telling me otherwise I'd seek a second opinion, especially if your older child was only 9 months old. AAP makes the "recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant."

When I was trying to get pregnant with baby #2 the doctor told me to stop breastfeeding. I ignored her advice as I felt it was unfounded and was pregnant withing two months. Shortly after I got pregnant my son stopped nursing on his own (he was well over a year at this point) and I assume it was because the taste or quantity had changed. I know others that successfully breastfed through an entire pregnancy (including my mother when she was pregnant with me).

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 14 years experience.

Not only do women breastfeed through pregnancy, but also go on to tandem nurse. I did that with my older two (my son was 4 1/2 and my daughter was 2 when my son weaned, so I tandem nursed for 2 1/2 years).

A general rule of thumb is that if it's safe to have sex during the pregnancy, then it's safe to breastfeed.

Thanks for the input guys! I really hated to stop breast feeding my son but I was young. I just wanted to follow the doctors orders. Btw....my daughter whom I was pregnant with breastfed for almost 2 yrs!!! Lol!!

futurehomebirthcnm

Specializes in Midwifery, Women's Health, PCP.

Pitocin is NOT oxytocin. Oxytocin is regulated by brain and various hormonal chains, and it's extremely unlikely to cause adverse effects.

Pitocin, while similar in chemical structure to oxytocin, isn't exactly the same, and it's introduced directly into the blood supply, so it doesn't act the same. You don't have the normal biofeedback loop like you would with oxytocin, so there's more of a chance of a woman having too much Pitocin in her system. That's why there's more of a chance of cord compression, fetal distress, and uterine rupture with Pitocin than a woman laboring naturally.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 14 years experience.

Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin, and yes, it is chemical structurally exactly the same as the oxytocin our pituitary glands produce.

It is true that when it is exogenously given, there is a higher risk of adverse effects, but that's not what we're discussing. Someone asked if Pitocin is teratogenic. My response is no, that's ridiculous, for the following reasons.

If you want to discuss the risks of induction, I'm happy to do so, but that was not the point of this thread.