How is Pitocin used during labor and delivery?

Dr. Robert W. Chalmers, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

Pitocin is a medicine that's commonly used in labor and delivery. One of the misconceptions that sometimes we doctors get is that in the hospital, Pitocin is used during every labor and delivery. Pitocin is a medicine that is manufactured by the pituitary gland in the brain, and it occurs during natural labor to help stimulate the uterus to have contractions. Oftentimes during labor and delivery processes, we have to use that to help moms who've had their labor slow down either as a result of them tiring during labor or receiving an epidural, which slows down their labor.

Pitocin is a medicine that can be given safely. It has to be monitored to be given safely, and hospitals have many protocols in place to allow for that safety. Oftentimes the choice is between having something like a cesarean performed or a small amount of Pitocin to keep the labor moving forward so the patient can achieve a successful vaginal delivery. We do our best to keep those moms and babies safe by monitoring the use of Pitocin during labor.

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