1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

How is pitocin used to induce labor?


Updated July 17, 2014

Woman with painful contractions at labour.
Cristian Baitg/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images
Question: How is pitocin used to induce labor?
Answer: Pitocin is a liquid medication that is a synthetic form of the naturally occurring hormone, oxytocin. Pitocin is diluted with a standard saline solution an introduced into your body by IV drip. The medication is regulated on a medication pump. This is an attempt to minimize complications and to help your doctor or midwife mimic normal labor as much as possible.

This IV drip will be set to deliver a certain amount of Pitocin per hour. Depending on the orders written by your practitioner, the Pitocin drip will normally be turned up every hour until you have reached the contraction pattern that they are looking for you to have. This may be different for each woman. Some practitioners turn the Pitocin up really quickly and others go more slowly. Some of this will depend on how you respond to the Pitocin and how well your baby responds to Pitocin.

When you have Pitocin you will also normally have:

There are increased risks with using Pitocin including:

Women have different views on Pitocin. Some find it wasn't a problem at all, while others intensely dislike the thought of it. I think much of this has to do with your expectations of the medication as well as how your practitioner uses the medication. Discussions about how labor will be managed ahead of time will help you adjust to the use of this medication.

Pitocin can also be used to speed up your labor, known as the augmentation of labor.

More Information:

Breaking the Water as Induction | Foley Catheter Induction | Other Interventions in Labor

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Pregnancy & Childbirth
  4. Labor and Birth
  5. Induction
  6. How Is Pitocin Used to Induce Labor?

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.