When a pregnant woman prepares to give birth, her body releases a hormone called oxytocin. While oxytocin plays an important role in developing feelings of love and bonding in mammals, it also makes the uterus contract during labor. Strong, regular uterine contractions are essential not only for pushing out the baby, but also for ensuring the entire placenta is expelled and preventing postpartum hemorrhaging.
When labor is prolonged, or if it has not started at all, there can be health risks to the mother and the infant. To speed up labor, sometimes a drug known as pitocin can be given to the mother. Pitocin is a synthetic drug that mimics oxytocin, and while it is usually used without harmful effects, it can cause serious problems to an infant if it is used incorrectly. If your infant has been injured because of pitocin, consider speaking with a birth injuries attorney as soon as possible.
Potential Harmful Effects of Pitocin
The most serious risk from pitocin overuse is that contractions will become too strong. Intense contractions can hurt the uterus and the placenta, sometimes causing the placenta to detach from the wall of the uterus too soon. Contractions can also put pressure on the umbilical cord, causing the baby’s oxygen flow to be diminished or cut off. Even a brief period without oxygen can cause serious brain damage and even death.
Another risk of misusing pitocin during labor is that contractions may come too close together. Babies need a break between contractions to rest and breathe, but if contractions happen too quickly, the infant will not get the recovery he or she needs. This can also cause brain damage, which can result in long-term problems like hypoxia, cerebral palsy, seizures, and more.
Who Is Responsible for Pitocin Misuse?
While the healthcare provider who administered pitocin can often be held responsible for improperly using this dangerous drug, the hospital in which the drug was given may also be responsible for not ensuring their staff were properly trained. In addition to improperly administering pitocin, staff may also be held responsible for failing to recognize crucial signs that an infant is struggling with their oxygen intake, including a lowered heart rate.
Meet with a Chicago Birth Injury Lawyer
Improperly administered pitocin can impact you and your child’s lives forever. If you are concerned that pitocin may have played a role in harming your child at birth, schedule a free consultation with a Chicago birth injuries attorney at Birth Injury Law Alliance, Ltd.. We take every case seriously and will pursue every available option to ensure that any responsible parties are brought to justice. Call us now at 312-462-4200.