Pitocin after birth?

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The discussion about Pitocin use after the birth of your baby is based around Expectant vs Active Management.

Active management means actively participating in the process of birthing your placenta. Many providers routinely administer Pitocin immediately after birth via IV drip or an intramuscular shot.

After the birth of your baby, your uterus will take a brief rest and then continue to contract to help deliver your placenta. On average, this process can take up to an hour after birth. I have found some providers will not, or perhaps do not have the time to patiently wait for a woman’s body to naturally release and deliver the placenta. They will use Pitocin and sometimes additionally use cord traction (light tugging on umbilical cord) to facilitate the birth of the placenta.

Active management means actively participating in the process of birthing your placenta. Many providers routinely administer Pitocin immediately after birth via IV drip or an intramuscular shot.

After the birth of your baby, your uterus will take a brief rest and then continue to contract to help deliver your placenta. On average, this process can take up to an hour after birth. I have found some providers will not, or perhaps do not have the time to patiently wait for a woman’s body to naturally release and deliver the placenta. They will use Pitocin and sometimes additionally use cord traction (light tugging on umbilical cord) to facilitate the birth of the placenta.

However, there are times the placenta will indeed need assistance to be birthed and Pitocin is medically necessary including when bleeding is excessive or when the placenta is being retained by the uterus.

Expectant management would mean belief in your body’s ability to expel your placenta, and so, the provider anticipates you to feel cramping contractions which will release the placenta. Your provider would look for signs such as the umbilical cord becoming limp or a small amount of separation blood and would then instruct you to attempt to push your placenta out of the birth canal.

After the placenta is birthed, it is your uterus’ job to contract and involute – retracting itself to a more pre-baby size. After long labors, it is possible for the uterus to become tired and go on strike! A shot of Pitocin would help your placenta find the motivation to contract, slowing bleeding more quickly.
Pitocin for labor isn’t always great, but Pitocin after isn’t quite the same. Not every woman will need Pitocin after birth and even if it is the policy of a hospital or provider, it is your right to choose to decline now and still accept at delivery if medically necessary.