"Pit To Distress" Disaster

‘Pit to Distress’ has just come out as the new doctor fad. Instead of just using the amount of pitocin needed to create the contraction pattern they want for the 1 cm every 2 hour dilation, they turn the pit all the way up for an hourish, and since this is such a high dose, it causes the uterus to become hyperstimulated and the baby gets little to no oxygen, thus causing fetal distress, which in turn leads to an emergency cesarean to save the babies life.

I first read this on Jill at Unnecesarean. Her post was mainly quoting Keyboard Revolutionary where she said:

“Pit to distress.” How have I not heard about this? Apparently it’s quite en vogue in many hospitals these days. Googling the term brings up a number of pages discussing the practice, which entails administering the highest possible dosage of Pitocin in order to deliberately distress the fetus, so a C-section can be performed.

Yes folks, you read that right. All that Pit is not to coerce mom’s body into birthing ASAP so they can turn that moneymaking bed over, but to purposefully squeeze all the oxygen out of her baby so they can put on a concerned face and say, “Oh dear, looks like we’re heading to the OR!”

To say that I am shocked and appalled would be a grotesque understatement. This is nothing short of barbaric. If doctors across the globe started injecting moms with heroin to deliberately sicken their babies so they could con them into “crash” Cesareans, there would be such uproar when the news was found out that OBs would be stoned in the streets. But because it’s Pitocin, which is used in nearly every single hospital birth in every single hospital in this country (one article I found while Googling earlier quoted an OB as saying he “wouldn’t know how to work without it”), no one is batting an eye. And apparently this is not entirely new!

Sure, treat me and other mothers like crap. Go ahead. Lie to us, ignore us, belittle us, tie us down and slice us up. We are nothing to you. But when you go after our babies, all bets are off. I have spent the last five years of my life angry at the medical establishment for what happened to me in the hospital. But I just might be more pissed off right now than I ever was before, after hearing about “pit to distress.”

This is why hundreds of thousands of women are turning to homebirth. It’s not because it’s trendy. It’s not because we want a warm fuzzy feeling. It’s because you OBs are butchers, and yes, I can finally say that without the tinge of “wahh wahh I had a C-section and it’s not fair.” Unless my baby or I am dying, you will never lay your disgusting hands on me ever again.

This has sparked quite the internet debate. There are hundreds of comments on this just in the last week. I’m amazed!!!

On N is for Nurse she refused to pit to distress a woman that was already in danger of abrupting. She told the doctor flat out no and that she wasn’t going to force a crash section. What a great nurse!!

Reality Rounds also had a great post on the subject. In her post ‘No Doctor’, she talked about telling a doctor no when you think the procedure they are going to do or wanting to do is too risky. She says:

I have been lucky enough in my practice to never have felt the need to refuse an MD order. Well, not really anyway. I have been reading a post and comment thread on Unnecesarean on a practice called “pit to distress” where the drug pitocin is increased in a laboring woman to dramatic levels, to cause intense contractions to “distress” the baby. It is a way to let the baby declare him/herself, so to speak. Most nurses I know would hate to comply with this practice, but some would probably do it anyway. They might do it because they don’t know any better, or they have not seen any adverse effects from it, or they are afraid to contradict the physician, or they are apathetic. Who knows.

In 2007, At Your Cervix posted about this.

Many of the obsetricians that I work with are eager to “get her delivered” as quickly as possible. There is also the “pit to distress” or “make the baby prove itself” – in other words, keep cranking that pitocin up until the baby crumps into fetal distress and the obstetrician does a stat c-section —- all so the doctor can be done, and get out of the hospital. Why wait 12-14 hours for a natural labor, when you can be done in less than an hour?

Unnecesarean also posted about a lawsuit that has just come to light:

The news just broke yesterday of the largest jury award for a medical malpractice case in Ohio history. Miami Valley Hospital was found liable for $31 million in damages, but the parties agreed to settle, according to this Dayton Daily News blog post.

VBAC is safe. VBAC with induction is not, let alone VBAC with Pit to distress.

The lawsuit also identified Dr. Kedrin E. Van Steenwyk and Contemporary Obstetrics and Gynecology as defendants, but the jury found that neither was liable for what happened to the boy.

The boy’s mother, Renetha, was a VBAC patient, meaning she would deliver the boy vaginally, though she had previously had a Caesarian section. That meant she was at a higher risk for a ruptured uterus during labor, which occurred, Lawrence said.

At that point, the mother’s body stopped providing oxygen through the placenta, though the boy was still inside her. He probably went 18 to 20 minutes without oxygen, Lawrence said.

The hospital staff, which knew Renetha Stanziano was a high-risk patient, erred by failing to monitor the labor properly, by failing to diagnosis the hyper-stimulation of her uterus, by inappropriately using the drug Pitocin and by not telling the attending physician of her “inappropriate contraction pattern,” according to the complaint.

The nurses continued to give her Pitocin, even as her contractions escalated to unsafe levels, and “they blew the uterus apart,” Lawrence said.

The boy, called “Leo,” has severe cerebral palsey [sic]. He uses a feeding tube. He cannot speak, is not ambulatory and has trouble holding anything in his hands,” Lawrence said. Though Leo is badly disabled, he is alert and can recognize family members. When he needs something, he communicates by kicking, Lawrence said.

Leo will never be able to work, and Renetha and her husband Douglas are now “24-7 health-care givers,” Lawrence said. After Leo’s birth, Renetha stopped attending college and quit her job at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to take care of the boy, Lawrence said.

Just learning about this ‘fad’ makes me so angry and so sad. How many women have had this happen to them without us knowing? How many have not come forward? How many have died?

What do you guys think? Completely irresponsible for practitioners to do this, or is it their choice to make?

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One Response

  1. It's birth rape! I can't believe this is happening to women. It completely disgusts me. What happened to the oath first do no harm?

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