Why is No One Talking about the Pitocin Shortage?

And how the formula shortage, the amoxicillin shortage, and the Pitocin shortage  specifically impact US mothers.

In September, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration reported that Pitocin was in shortage due to manufacturing delays at one of the two suppliers.

But before we get into the implications of a Pitocin shortage, what is Pitocin?

Pitocin is most known for being used to induce labor. But, according to an interview this month with Dr. Mallory Alkis, the co-medical director of labor and delivery at MUSC, Pitocin is used for far more than just that.  

“Most women receive Pitocin after vaginal delivery or after a c-section to minimalize blood loss,” said Dr. Alkis. Dr. Alkis goes on to say that, “Our biggest change has been with how we give medication to help prevent excessive bleeding at delivery.” 

When it comes to alternatives, Dr. Alkis said there is no drug that does the same thing as Pitocin. 

So, what are the implications of a Pitocin shortage?

According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there are several steps that need to be taken over the next few weeks in order to protect mothers’ health while also being mindful of the shortage. 

First, it’s recommended that hospitals create a “hierarchy” of scheduled and unscheduled inductions along with a consideration of  individual risk for postpartum hemorrhage based on historical factors.

For some, this shortage does offer one positive change in pregnancy-related care: a limit on elective (medically unnecessary) inductions. 

In general, however, the negative implications of a Pitocin shortage are far more significant than the potential positive outcomes of one.

There are physical risks this shortage could create for some moms over the next few weeks. But this shortage also contributes to the general mental health of mothers who, yet again, are witnessing how little maternal health is prioritized in the US. 

After all, this shortage is not the first this year that has left mothers hanging. 

Just this year, mothers faced a terrifying formula shortage wherein many new parents struggled to find formula to feed their babies. 

A few months after the formula shortage, moms are now facing an amoxicillin shortage as child illnesses skyrocket and pediatric hospital beds are at capacity. 

And still, this reality that many moms are keenly aware of, is barely being discussed in the news. 

The Pitocin shortage was originally predicted to resolve by mid-November. Now, it is predicted to resolve by the beginning of December.

While this shortage will resolve soon, it is only one of many shortages this year that have left moms wondering, yet again:

Why is no one talking about this?

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