Autism and Pitocin

What is Pitocin

Most women have had to take pitocin during the birthing process, either because labor is not progressing as it should, or because the baby is in danger if the mother cannot push the baby out on her own. Sometimes, when the mother has requested induced labor rather than wait for birth to start on its own, doctors use pitocin throughout the birthing process. Pitocin is man-made and mimics the natural chemical, oxytocin, which the mother’s body produces at the onset of labor and continues to produce until the afterbirth has been ejected from her body.

pitocin autism

Does pitocin cause autism

Recently, some people have argued that the use of pitocin causes autism. This is a wholly and completely unfounded argument for several reasons. First of all, there are limited studies on the subject, all of which have had the same result—pitocin does not affect brains of children during childbirth.

Secondly, the pitocin a child experiences during the birthing process is short-lived. By the time the child is born, usually within eight to ten hours after the first IV of pitocin has been administered to the mother, the baby’s brain has only been exposed to the chemical for that period in time. Its brain has not undergone any serious changes because it was not developing or growing during the birthing process.

Third, after the child is born and the cord is cut, the baby wheedles the pitocin out of its little system just as it would any other drug through its urine and its bowels. It does not linger and begin destroying brain cells, as these people might contend. Finally, the baby is not exposed to the drug after birth, although a very small amount might appear in the mother’s milk with the first feeding, but after a couple of days when the mother’s milk comes in, there is nothing left in the mother’s system to cross over in the milk.

Ergo, pitocin does not cause autism, nor can it have a significant impact on the brain of a baby in the birthing process. It simply is not feasible, and there is no significant correlation. Again, as any good biologist will tell you, even if there was correlation, it does not prove causation.

As an added note here, AutismSpeaks is conducting research on a drug that delays premature birth. This drug does affect the oxytocin receptors in a baby’s brain, although no one is certain just yet how much of an impact it has. If you would like to follow the study and learn more about the research they are conducting in relation to this particular labor drug, you can read up on it here. “http://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2012/06/01/autism-pitocin-connection

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