Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pitocin linked to Autism?

Vaccines have been around for a while and so have the controversies surrounding them.  As of late, we’ve seen a rise in the instance of Autism with many people pointing fingers at vaccinations.  I dare say, vaccinations have been around longer than the rise of Autism and today with so many parents not vaccinating we are seeing cases of polio, measles and more but will we see a decrease in Autism?- probably not.  I’m not here to say that there are no risks associated with vaccinations but I am here to assert that Autism is not one of them! 
Let’s look at some facts and comparisons being linked to Autism today:  Please note from this article the prevalence of Autism in babies born at home with midwives sans the use of Pitocin and other narcotics – 0% The natural hormone, Oxytocin, is released by the pituitary gland and triggers the onset and progression of labor and milk let-down. It is part of a complex flow of hormones, which when uninterrupted play a significant role in the bonding of mother and newborn child.  It is known as the “love hormone” and ironically or not, children with Autism display a slower ability to form attachments and interact socially.  Pitocin is given systemically, acting upon the uterus rather than realizing labor and birth are a complete body process.  Pitocin is the artificial version of this “love hormone.”   When researching this drug I noticed that Oxytocin and Pitocin are frequently used interchangeably; when this could not be farther from the truth.   It’s probably not good practice to link another blog but I simply cannot say it better than Stephanie, with Nurturing Hearts Birth Services I feel I should save my own rant on Pitocin for another blog and stick to the relations between Pitocin and Autism.
Now to look at some statistics by year:  In 1990 9.5% of women were induced with Pitocin.  In 2008 23.1% of women were induced with Pitocin.  -These statistics according to ACOG.  In 1990 Autism was reported in 1 in 500 children.  In 2009 Autism was reported in 1 in 88 children.   It is more common for older women to have children diagnosed with Autism, ironically or not, it is also more common for older women to have their labor augmented with Pitocin.  According to a survey done by the University of Texas, 81% of labors were either induced or augmented with Pitocin.  There are more factors than just Pitocin that relate to autism such as other chromosomal abnormalities.   There is more than one cause of Autism but for now I’ll focus on the fact that in men, Oxytocin is only released during sex from the pituitary gland.  Men don’t need an injection of Pitocin and when women receive this continuous stream of Pitocin during or at the start of labor it is in essence an overdose.  Autism is 4 times more prevalent in boys than in girls; ironic or not.  
Birth is a whole body and mind experience that begins our Journey of Life.  The hormones involved in labor are complex and work together for our body to labor the way it’s supposed to; that includes when and for how long.  The natural hormones released in labor influence not only our contractions, but our perception of “pain” and our bonding with baby as well.  Unless medically necessary, I encourage all women to stay away from this drug.  It not only negatively affects your labor but it may have more consequences than we are aware.      

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Jennifer Valencia | Labor & Postpartum Doula | 928.300.1337


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