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Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE

Pit to Distress

By July 10, 2009

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There is a lot of talk going on about a phenomena called "Pit to Distress." Basically this means that an obstetrician or midwife orders pitocin to be given, typically during an induction, at a rate or in such a way that it is likely to cause the baby to go into fetal distress and require a cesarean. The Unnecesarean and Keyboard Revolutionary wrote about this first, but NursingBirth's blog really hit home. Not only did she talk about how it actually happens in her hospital, but she gives some great advice to try to prevent pit to distress from happening in your birth. Perhaps you'd be better off skipping the elective induction?

So have you had this happen to you or someone you love? Perhaps you're a doula or nurse and you've seen it in action? Tell us your story in the comments section.

July 11, 2009 at 8:04 am
(1) Hannah says:

While my doctor certainly didn’t say this about the baby at my first birth, he did instruct the nurse to increase the pitocin until I “cried” so that I would “beg for an epidural” and “give up my stupid plans for a natural childbirth.” Let’s just say I ditched that OB. I really wish I would have thought of doing it right then and there, but I didn’t know I could do that at that point. So I’d say he tried to pit to (mom) distress.

July 11, 2009 at 8:17 am
(2) pregnancy says:

Hannah, I’m so sorry you had this experience. It can be really difficult when you want one thing and your doctor or midwife doesn’t agree. Did you know going in that having the birth you wanted would be a fight?

July 11, 2009 at 8:59 am
(3) Hannah says:

Well this wasn’t my doctor, but another doctor from the practice. My doctor was thrilled about my plans, she is the one who actually convinced me to do it, since she had a baby right before I got pregnant. She told me it was much easier on mom, baby and recovery. I did meet the doctor who was on call that day in the office. He smiled and said we’d see how labor unfolded, because we couldn’t predict. That sounded reasonable to me. The problem is that what unfolded were his beliefs that everyone should have an epidural while he blasted the baby out with pitocin. I knew it was possible to get a doctor other than mine, but I NEVER thought that someone in the practice would have directly opposing view points. Nor did I believe that this doctor would change so drastically once we were in the delivery room.

July 11, 2009 at 12:14 pm
(4) Diane says:

Another reason to consider birth away from a hosptial where pit won’t be a consideration. I had pit augmentation with my first and hypercontracted for hours before my in distress baby was pulled from my body – a 3rd degree episitomy and a doctors hands – felt as bad as a section :( By the time I had my second I knew better and had an amazing MW that did not believe in interventions without serious medical need.

July 17, 2009 at 11:56 pm
(5) Tanya says:

I am 56. My oldest child is 30. Let’s just say that labor was a long time ago, however. in my mind it is happening. I was ” pitted” because ” Dr. out of town” reason. I ripped my episotomy and had to have my anal and vaginal spincters sewn together a week after delivery. If they did this to men they would have a Geneva Convention on torture. My husband is an anesthesiologist and I hear what they are doing to women and unborn babies most everyday. We have to stop this torture. It lasts a lifetime as I can tell some ” problems” that I belief are long lasting on both physical and mental of both me and my daughter.

July 18, 2009 at 12:01 am
(6) Tanya says:

Someone should start a blog so that people could see which doctors are pro Pit and which aren’t, sort of like an Angie’s or Craig’s list.
After you are in labor its pretty hard to just get up and walk out the door.

July 18, 2009 at 11:05 am
(7) pregnancy says:

There is The Birth Survey at: http://thebirthsurvey.com

Women can rate docs and midwives after birth and others can view the ratings.

@Tanya, Thanks for sharing your story. Your correlation to the Geneva Convention is so true.

October 12, 2009 at 11:08 am
(8) Knitted in the Womb says:

I also blogged about my experience of seeing a woman pitted to distress 3 times in the same labor…which included being given Pitocin without her knowledge, and against her specific instructions less than 15 minutes prior! http://knittedinthewomb.com/wp/?p=470

May 4, 2010 at 11:50 pm
(9) Dorothy says:

It never occured to me to ask/demand that the pit be turned off when I had my son. I had a nurse who didn’t believe my contractions were real because they didn’t show up on the monitors. Honestly, I’ll never use that hospital again. It was a horrible experience and not just because the c-section.

March 15, 2011 at 8:56 am
(10) Tracy says:

This happened to me, the midwife did not believe that I was having constant contractions so painful I could not speak my husband demanded I be checked and I was fully dilated. It was only then that the pit drip was taken out, my baby was distressed by this point and no heartbeat could be found. I had an episiotomy and ventouse to get the baby out. Baby was was fine despite the cord being around her neck twice and her body! All this with only gas and air, the midwife didn’t believe my pain, so I had nothing else to help, I was in stirrups for hours, have permanent nerve damage and ob shouted at me because I complained of feeling every stitch she did. Don’t think I will ever get over it.

July 16, 2012 at 4:44 pm
(11) Mrs. Lynn says:

I was pit to distress but my induction was not exactly elective. I really believed the doctor that there was a need to induce. There wasn’t

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