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February 3, 2022 | 4 min read


What is Pitocin?

Pitocin is a drug commonly prescribed by obstetricians for women about to give birth. It is administered by medical professionals across the county to induce labor and make uterine contractions occur at a more regular rate. While the use of Pitocin is common to speed up the delivery process, when improperly administered it can result in injuries to the baby or the mother.

Why Do Obstetricians Use Pitocin?

When a pregnant mother naturally goes into labor, her body produces a hormone called oxytocin that causes the uterus to contract. Pitocin is a synthetic form of this hormone. Contractions of the uterus are necessary to move the baby through the birth canal. If a medical team determines that is necessary to induce labor, the physician may order Pitocin to cause the uterine contractions to become stronger and occur more frequently.

Common Reasons to Administer Pitocin Include:

  • The baby is overdue.
  • Labor has begun, but there are no contractions.
  • Labor has already started but is not progressing within a reasonable time frame.
  • The mother has a medical condition such as preeclampsia, diabetes, or hypertension.

Adverse Reactions to Pitocin

  • Uterine Hyper Stimulation

One of the conditions caused by Pitocin is called Uterine Hyper Stimulation, which means the uterus is contracting too frequently. During Uterine Hyper Stimulation, the baby can become distressed because he or she does not have time to reoxygenate between contractions. Following a contraction, the baby needs time to rest to restore the flow of oxygen to the brain and vital organs. Under these circumstances, the amount of Pitocin may need to be adjusted, or delivery may be required to prevent injury.

  • Low Oxygenation

When uterine contractions become excessive, and the baby is subject to low oxygenation and can develop hypoxia, acidosis, and even birth asphyxia. The acidosis and birth asphyxia can cause hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, which may result in seizures, developmental delays, or cerebral palsy.

Monitoring the Baby’s Heart Rate

When Pitocin is administered to a mother during labor, it is also imperative for medical practitioners to also monitor the baby’s heart rate during the delivery process. A fetal heart monitor will alert the medical team when the baby is not receiving enough oxygen and requires immediate intervention to prevent injury.

Pitocin Birth Injuries

If Pitocin is improperly administered, it can lead to severe birth complications and life-threatening injuries. Some common complications include:

  • Fetal distress due to lack of oxygen
  • Decreased fetal heart rate
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Brain damage
  • Stillbirth
  • Hyperstimulation of the uterus (tachysystole):
  • Maternal hemorrhage
  • Uterine rupture
  • Postpartum hemorrhage

If You or Your Child Sustained a Pitocin-Related Injury

If you or your child have sustained an injury that resulted from the improper use of Pitocin by your medical team, call Burg Simpson for help now. Our medical malpractice team has over four decades of experience handling medical malpractice cases related to medication errors administered during labor and delivery. Go online now to submit a free case evaluation at burgsimpson.com or contact us directly at 888 895 2080.

 Contact Burg Simpson now for a free case evaluation. 888 895 2080 

About Burg Simpson Shareholder Scott Eldredge

Named shareholder Scott Eldredge skillfully leads Burg Simpson’s Medical Malpractice Department. Mr. Eldredge has been practicing law continuously with the firm since his admission to the Colorado Bar in 1983. His legal practice focuses primarily on complex medical malpractice cases with a particular emphasis on birth injury cases.

Scott Eldredge maintains an active trial practice and appears regularly in state and federal courts throughout the country. An active member in the legal community, Mr. Eldredge is a long-time member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors for the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. He is also a longstanding member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), a national organization comprised of both plaintiff and defense attorneys dedicated to preserving trial by jury. In addition, Scott Eldredge is the current president of the National Medical Malpractice Trial Lawyers Association.

About Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine

One of America’s foremost plaintiff trial firms, Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, has a longstanding and nationwide reputation for fighting relentlessly and successfully for victims of negligence, malfeasance, malpractice, and abuse. Our attorneys have never hesitated to fight for our client’s rights and consistently face and defeat formidable adversaries, including big insurance companies, banks, and pharma. As a result, Burg Simpson has secured more than $2.7 billion in verdicts, settlements, and judgments in practice areas spanning catastrophic personal injury, mass tort and class actions regarding gas explosions, dangerous pharmaceutical drugs and devices, medical malpractice, complex commercial and business litigation, construction defects, and workers’ compensation. The firm’s success has also included more than 200 recoveries in excess of $1 million.

Contact Burg Simpson at 888 895 2080