Pitocin and Syntocinon are trademark names for injectable versions of the human hormone oxytocin. more...
Oxytocin is produced by pregnant women to cause the uterine contractions that precipitate childbirth. It may be administered if a doctor determines that, for any of a number of reasons, labor needs to be induced, or to hasten a difficult labor.
There have been questions raised about the safety and possible extensive overuse of this drug. Because it is introduced to the bloodstream continuously rather than in the periodic bursts with which the body would naturally release oxytocin, the decreased placental bloodflow that occurs as a side effect of a contraction is prolonged, and could deprive the baby of oxygen. If it stimulates excessively strong contraction leading to a violent and rapid delivery, oxytocin can potentially cause cervical lacerations, rupture of the uterus, postbirth hemorrhaging in the mother and other problems.
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