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.

Deanna's birth

I never got around to blogging my best friend, Carey’s birth of her third child. She was planning a home birth. This was her third natural birth, but first home and first in the water, I was very excited to be present for a water birth. But Carey’s first 2 babies came very quickly, 10 hours for the first and 4 for the second. Needless to say we knew this birth was going to be quick and since she lives about an hour and 15 minutes away from me not driving in traffic I was very concerned I would miss the birth. So long story short, I got a call 10 minutes after contractions started, got on the road within the next 10 minutes and arrived about a half hour AFTER her baby boy was born! I wasn’t all that surprised, but still very disappointed. Carey did tell me how the water was amazing. At least I got to be there so soon after he was born and she did get the home birth she wanted. So it all worked out.

I happily can say now that I have finally been able to attend a water birth and I must say it was an amazing birth all around. Deanna is a first time mom who’s husband is in Afghanistan for over a year long deployment. She showed so much strength and courage when I first met her and it carried throughout her labor as well.

Deanna was about a week over due when she went into to her check up and her midwife decided to strip her membranes. Immediately she started feeling crampy and about 10 labor contractions began. Deanna e-mailed me about midnight to tell me she had been having contractions 7-10 minutes apart for 2 hours and she said, “I just thought I should tell someone.” I called to see how she was doing and she sounded very calm and relaxed. She was doing everything she was supposed to do, drinking plenty of water, going to the bathroom, snacking and moving around. Deanna did say she wanted to be alone, so we texted about every hour until about 4 a.m., when she said, she didn’t want to be alone anymore. Deanna had started to get nauseous around 2 a.m., which didn’t go away. I arrived about 4:15, she was on the floor hanging over her ball and throw up bag near. Her friend had arrived a few minutes earlier and was running a bath for her. Deanna was still so calm and peaceful.

The rest of the morning went on with Deanna in the bath for a while, on the floor, on the couch and throwing up. She called her midwife at 6 a.m. after contractions had been 5 minutes apart lasting sometimes 2 minutes for more then an hour. We went to the birth center and arrived about 8 a.m. There, her midwife checked her and she was at 8 cm dilated! She labored so much at home and no one could have guessed she was so far along. Deanna got right in the bath and within a half hour stated pushing. She never gave up and never lost her courage. Deanna so calmly pushed her little boy out in 40 minutes. She said the water was so amazing, if she had known, she would have gone to the birth center sooner. It just took so much of the discomfort away. It made it so much easier and more relaxing. Her little boy came out so content with wonderful apgar scores. It was a beautiful birth.
Photography by: Lindsey Kliewer