I received my International Doula magazine last week and saw on the front, “Is Pitocin Associated with Childhood Autism?” My first thought was this should be interesting, I can’t wait to see what it says. Then I started thinking more, if we say something else is related to Autism, people are just going to ignore it all. But in reality, autism cannot be explained by genetics alone, there are environmental triggers. So, needless to say I was anxious to read the article to see what it had to say. But, being a mom and a doula, it took me a week to find time to actually sit down and read it. Now that I finally did, I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

I have known that the rate of children getting diagnosed with autism has dramatically increased in recient years. I was amazed to see the actual numbers. According to the CDC, just one in 5,000 children were diagnosed in 1980. In 1990, it was one in 1,000 and in 2000 one in 500 children were diagnosed with autism. Then the numbers just keep increasing each year and currently one child in 110 are diagnosed with autism and one in just 70 boys. I couldn’t believe the numbers. That is crazy! We’ve got to do something. Can we go back to all natural? Stop giving our kids and moms all the chemicals in our foods, toys, makeup, dishes and furniture, some of those chemicals are known and some hidden in our environment. Now, I have to say, some people that know me think I may be a little extreme with the no chemicals, I won’t let my kids eat off any plastics if I don’t know whether there are BPA’s, I have all natural make-up, we eat almost all organic, I don’t like having plastic toys in my house and I won’t let my kids eat anything with food coloring, there are no pesticides or herbicides on our property... the list just goes on. But I feel better safe then sorry and I am confident I am not giving my kids some hidden disease.

So anyway, back to the article and the really interesting stuff. After showing the numbers, the article states that the rates of autism has steadily increased for 2 decades and so have the rates of labor inductions and the use of pitocin, but that autism is nearly non-existant in the home-birth community.

Autism Today is calling for more research on the pitocin-autism connection. They have published a letter by the American College of Domiciliary Midwives/California College of Midwives that you can read at http://www.autismtoday.com/articles/ATTN_Researchers.htm In this letter they are saying they need more research starting with the womb, they are thinking that it is possible since oxitocin is the “love hormone” (it is responsible physiological onset of labor, breastfeeding and sexual orgasm, all of which include important emotional bonding and loving connection), that pitocin from an animal has ramifications in the babies ability to love. Oxitocin is in-fact already being used therapeutically in a nasal spray for adults with autism and when it is inhaled there is a positive effect on the patients social behavior, sensitivity, generosity and trust. Some patients, eye contact, facial recognition , social cues and identification of emotions has increased. Also, previous research has shown that people with autism have low levels of oxitocin. Is it possible that pitocin messes up the newborn’s oxytocin system.

There have been recent studies to show, individuals with autism were more likely to have been born by induced births, to have experienced fetal distress and to have been born with low Apgar scores. Another study showed rates of birth complications were higher in children with autism then without. Birth complications are usually a result of medically managed births.

The article was long and there was more, but this was the stuff that really sat with me. So, my thoughts... the wide use of pitocin is increasing but it is still so new. Do you want to risk it with your child? If your doctor wants to induce labor, take your care into your own hands, ask, “Is my baby in distress?” Tell the doctors office you are willing to do a non-stress test and an ultra sound to see if your baby is still healthy in the womb. If he or she is still healthy, that is where your baby should stay until he/she is ready to be born.