I Hate Knockoffs

I hate knockoffs. Ok, not all of them, but most of the time. (At any given time, you can usually find Frosted Mini Spooners in our cabinet. I honestly can’t tell the difference.) But I usually can. I don’t drink a lot of soda, but when I do – you can bet it’s the real thing. No diet, sucralose, aspartame, fake sweetener for me. People have told me I could get used to it. Why in the world why I want to get used to it? It tastes awful. In fact, my favorite soda is a once in a while treat of buying the Coke with real sugar, imported from Mexico. Aaahh.

I am the same way about other things too. I love Coach purses. I haven’t ever coughed up the money to own one, but I also refuse to carry a fake one. I bought my Ergo baby carrier from a local official retailer, in order to make sure I got a real one. I have a mild addiction to Etsy because I love real, authentic, and especially handmade items. There is something to be said for something that someone took their time, talent, and effort to make. Most of the times in my life when I have gone the ‘knockoff’ route, I have been disappointed.

For me, birth is no different. Guess what? Pitocin isn’t the same as oxytocin. It’s a synthetic version. I can attest to this from personal experience. If you read my birth stories, you will see that I caved to an induction with Baby #2. (It’s a pretty funny birth story, you should read it.) Anyway, I had experienced natural contractions with my first baby, and Pit contractions with my second baby. No question. The Pitocin contractions were much more difficult to handle. My body literally didn’t know how to deal with this intruder. Most women will go ahead with an epidural once the Pit starts flowing. I can understand why.

This article from about.com talks about 5 specific ways Pitocin differs from oxytocin. Here are the bullet points from the article:

Pitocin is released differently.
Oxytocin is released into your body in a pulsing action. It comes intermittently to allow your body a break. Pitocin is given in an IV in a continuous manner. This can cause contractions to be longer and stronger than your baby or placenta can handle, depriving your baby of oxygen.

Pitocin prevents your body from offering endorphins.
When you are in labor naturally, your body responds to the contractions and oxytocin with the release of endorphins, a morphine like substance that helps prevent and counteract pain. When you receive Pitocin, your body does not know to release the endorphins, despite the fact that you are in pain.

Pitocin isn’t as effective at dilating the cervix.
When the baby releases oxytocin it works really well on the uterine muscle, causing the cervix to dilate. Pitocin works much more slowly and with less effect, meaning it takes more Pitocin to work.

Pitocin lacks a peak at birth.
In natural labor, the body provides a spike in oxytocin at the birth, stimulating the fetal ejection reflex, allowing for a faster and easier birth. Pitocin is regulated by a pump and not able to offer this boost at the end.

Pitocin can interfere with bonding.
When the body releases oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, it promotes bonding with the baby after birth. Pitocin interferes with the internal release of oxytocin, which can disturb the bonding process.


How many of the pregnant moms out there got this information from their care provider, particularly one who is pushing use of Pit? My guess would be very few. The OB I dealt with during L’s birth didn’t tell me any of that. Face it, as much as we’d like to think that our level of technology is to a point that we can “man-make” anything as good as nature – we can’t. Babies can survive on formula, and formula certainly has its place. But formula companies strive to make their product as close as they can to the standard nature sets, human breast milk.

Our bodies know more about birth than our logical brains do. (A good reason to take Birth Boot Camp? To teach your brain what your body already knows.) Our body knows what hormones to create, when to release them, when to back off. Oxytocin is one of those hormones. It’s one of those real, authentic, products that your body took time and effort to make just for your birth. Nature has had hundreds of generations to get it right. Most of time, nature does a fine job on its own, if just leave it alone.