New Drug to Speed Up Labor Serves to Make Us Feel More Incompetent

Rant 35

labor and delivery roomIf you don't give birth within an hour of getting to the hospital, clearly you are doing it wrong. Faster, mama, faster! Drugs, drugs, drugs! Speed it up! That's how it seems sometimes. Induction. Pitocin. Cervidil. And then there's cytotec. It used to be used a lot until the FDA said misoprostol (which is cytotec) is not approved to induce labor or soften the cervix. (It's approved to prevent ulcers.) But it's still used in L&D because the makers filed an investigation. Guess who just reinvented themselves? Misoprostol! This new form is supposedly faster than ever.

Brace yourselves, mamas, because synthetics in the labor and delivery room often mean the intensity of birth goes from 1 to 10 in minus two seconds, and if this gets approved, I think it will mean increased complications, c-sections, and more and more women and doctors not trusting our ability to birth our babies naturally. This is why we fear birth ... because too many think we can't do it.

If we think about it, we all know deep down that's not true -- we can birth babies, our bodies were made to do so and women have being doing it since the start of the human race without drugs. Sometimes we need some drugs, but a lot of times we don't. And cytotec is cheaper than the approved other drugs used for the same purpose and hospitals like the bargain. So do insurance companies.

Clinical trials have shown that this new form of cytotec will work faster than cervidil, supposedly without increasing c-section rates. They do admit there were side-effects from taking cytotec that wouldn't have presented themselves otherwise. This new cytotec is different because doctors won't have to break up the ulcer prevention tablet to insert vaginally every four hours to speed things along. The new stuff isn't so complicated. Faster! Faster! Faster! You know what's complicated? Giving a woman induction drugs to speed up the natural process of giving birth when she doesn't need them.

This is a trial, so it's not on the market, but it's trying to make its mark as a pregnant mama's new best friend/worst enemy. I think it's overkill. Let's keep cytotec for those with ulcers. Yes, some of us need labor inducing drugs in order to prevent a c-section, but how can we be sure this isn't overused or given at the wrong times, which in turn would mean increased risk of a complication and/or cesarean? Can't the drug companies focus on the best birth experience, not the fastest? Oh wait. They can't. Patient in. Patient out. Next! Money. Money. Money.

Does the new cytotec worry you?


Image via koadmunkee/Flickr

labor, tests & procedures


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jalaz77 jalaz77

This gets old. Tired of seeing women on a schedule to give birth. Just when I think there is progress being made in the maternity world this crap comes up.

tuffy... tuffymama

Totally agree with this! And cytotec is BAD, BAD, BAD. If God and Nature had intended we be pumped up full of synthetic drugs to deliver, they wouldn't be synthetic! Think about it. My tiny great grandmother birthed six at home, unmedicated, and with only a midwife or sister present, every time.

nonmember avatar Tara

I was prescribed cytotec to induce miscarriage. It was nasty stuff and not something I want to repeat. Scary to think it could be used in labor

nonmember avatar nikolivolkov

I was two weeks post term when we decided to induce for safety of baby. I did three rounds of cytotec which brought on contractions but no dilation. Then came the pictocin which I feel was ten times worse so far as my pain tolerance but still no dilation. When water broke with meconium at hour 34 and babys heart rate started dropping we had an emergency cesarean. After that many hours I welcomed the epidural and just wanted her out safely. I don't know whether either induction drug really helped nor if I could have had her naturally as I had intended since my body didn't seem to be cooperating and she was 9 pounds 11 ounces so 1 cm dilation just wasn't going to cut it. I do think the drugs had something to do with my blood pressure spiking as I had perfect blood pressure my entire pregnancy up until 1 hour after induction when suddenly I was preeclamptic.

Flori... Floridamom96

Pregnancy and childbirth are not diseases or illnesses that need to be treated or cured. They are a natural and beautiful process that should only be interfered with when a woman or child are in clear crisis.

rayeo... rayeofmoonlight

I notice that in the linked article (linked at "new form of cytotec") it says "Misoprostol is already widely used for cervical ripening in induction of labor" but completely fails to mention that the packaging specifically states that it is not to be used by pregnant or laboring women. The article implies that the main issue with the current form od misoprostol is the inconvenience of having to break up a pill meant to be taken orally for vaginal insertion, completely ignoring the fact that women and babies have died as a result of misusing this medication. Shameful.

Craft... CraftyJenna

Cytotec has caused uterine rupture and maternal and fetal death- it's NOT made for labor and it can be deadly. Interventions should only be used when it's absolutly nessisary, not when  the dr wants to speed things up so he can get home by 5. 

B1Bomber B1Bomber

I was given cytotec to induce at 36 weeks because I was having kidney failure from pre-e. Faster, cheaper, and more effective seemed like a good choice to me. Ten hours later I had Pitocin, another ten hours and I was pushing (0-10 cm in twenty hours for a first birth is very reasonable).

Just because these drugs can be misused or overused doesn't mean they shouldn't be used at all.

Melan... MelanieJK

Sure there was a time when women used to just squat in the field and give birth BUT we shouldn't forget that there was a much higher mortality rate then too.

I support any attempts to improve the outcomes,   the experience and the costs.     We just need to make sure that we stay educated so we're making informed choices.     

nonmember avatar Megan

MelanieJK, why do you think more women died before hospital birth became he norm? Just assumption, right? The US has the 50th highest death rate in the world. I can't even name 49 other states, can you? Hospitals have saved some moms and babies, sure. But have caused deaths, lifelong complications, and way more C/S scars then necessary.

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