California College of Midwives

Legislative Fact Sheet with Citations
California Citizens for Health Freedom 888 / 557-8092

   Iatragenic Dangers of Medicalized Childbirth Practices, 
Autism Linked to Pitocin Induciton
Nosocomial fatalities in US hospitals

Narcotic drugs and anesthetics given to mothers during labor & delivery are associated with illegal drug use by offspring as an adolescents or adults

The introduction in the 1940s of heavy analgesia and sedation during labor and birth may have contributed significantly to the illegal drug use that exploded in American in the 1960s and continues today (Jacobson, et al, 1990, Jacobson, Nyberg, Eklund, Bygdeman & Rydberg, 1988)

These researchers found that when mothers received opiates [i.e. narcotics] , barbiturates or nitrous oxide gas for longer than one hour and within 10 hours of the birth, their offspring were significantly more likely to become addicted to opiates [narcotics] if they experimented with or took drugs later in life. ..the risk of substance abuse increased as the number of pain medication doses in labor increased and they recommended that narcotic pain medication which crosses the placenta not be used in labor. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecology and Neonatal Nursing, editorial, "Is it Time to Change the Paradigm" Suzan Kardong-Edgren, RNC, MS Sept-Oct 1999

...80% of US women receive epidurals ... narcotics are added to epidural analgesia to speed and enhance pain relief. These drugs cross the placenta to the fetus (Thorpe & Breedlove, 1996)

"A symbiotic relationship has been established between physicians, researchers, pharmaceutical companies and women .." Journal of Obstetric, Gynecology and Neonatal Nursing, editorial, "Is it Time to Change the Paradigm" Suzan Kardong-Edgren, RNC, MS

Potential for Litigation: Think of the potential for lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies ... and the demand for government-funded drug treatment for people who were exposed to analgesia in utero. This is not as far-fetched as it sounds if compared to what is happening currently to cigarette companies. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecology and Neonatal Nursing, editorial, "Is it Time to Change the Paradigm" Suzan Kardong-Edgren, RNC, 1999

If subsequent studies support Jacobson’s finding, will there be class actions lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies and the medical community for failure to follow up and inform the public about this research?" Journal of Obstetric, Gynecology and Neonatal Nursing, editorial, "Is it Time to Change the Paradigm" Suzan Kardong-Edgren, RNC, MS Sept-Oct 1999

Labor Induction with Pitocin
linked to Childhood Autism  

According to an article published in the July 31, 200 issue of Newsweek the rate of autism, a crippling childhood emotional disorder, is exploding. It has quadrupled since 1987, rising 15% in the last 3 month alone. Nationally the demand for services for autistic children has rose by 556% during the 1990's. The autism rate has gone from 1 out of 10,000 to about one person in 500, making it more a more common than Down syndrome or childhood cancer. Dr. Marie Power of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) defines it as "...a pressing public health problem".

Autism may be directly or indirectly related to Induction or augmentation of labor with Pitocin. Pitocin is a synthetic version of a naturally produced hormone known as 'oxytocin'. In a spontaneous labor this hormone is normally produced in the brain of the mother. It triggers regular uterine contractions which dilate the cervix and eventually bring about the birth of the baby. In 1953 a pharmaceutical company synthesized this hormone.  Since then it has been   marketed as an anti-hemorrhagic drug (to stop excessive bleeding after the birth) and also to induce or augment labor. An induced labor is when the mother was not already having regular uterine contractions. The drug is also used to speed up (i.e. augment) a slowly progressing labor. The most common form of this drug is produced by Park Davis and is called Pitocin.

The use of Pitocin induction/augmentation is disportortionally linked to children with autism. Dr. Eric Hollander of New York's Mount Sinai School of Medicine noticed several years ago that 60% of the autistic patients in his clinic has been exposed in the womb to Pitocin, through induction of labor in their mothers. The national average for induced labors is approximately  20%.  The causative agent/agents could well turn out to be other medical interventions that commonly accompany Pitocin induction such as narcotic or epidural anesthesia. It also could be caused by a drug interaction, an inborn sensitivity or genetic propensity in the baby or perhaps a signal that the baby was not biologically ready to be born yet. Dr. Hollander's research is ongoing. 

Fatalities from Medical Errors (iatragenic and nosocomial) 8th leading cause of death

Panel chair William Richardson, Ph.D., noted that anywhere from 44,000 to 98,000 hospitalized patients die each year as a result of medical errors. The annual death rates from medical errors top those from breast cancer, AIDS and traffic accidents. In one study by Dr. Leape and his colleagues, 44% of preventable errors were attributed to technical problems, followed by diagnostic errors (17%), failure to prevent injury (12%) and drug use errors (10%). Report on Medical Errors Highlights Ailing System -- Ob.Gyn.News, January 1, 2000, page 23

Hospital-related infant mortality ~Bacteria probed in infant deaths ~ 15 Sep 1997 BOSTON, (UPI) -- Public health officials say a fast-killing and previously unknown strain of a common bacteria has killed four newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit at Children's Hospital in Boston.

Additional news broadcast on National Public Radio on this same story: Boston Children’s Hospital delivers approximately 600 babies every year. Four premature babies died over a 5 wk period of time from pseudomonas bacterial infection. The hospital closed its NICU for 4 months to eradicate the bacteria. There are approximately 2 million infections every year in hospitalized patients, about 10% of which are caused by pseudomonas.

SB 1479 ~California Citizens for Health Freedom 888 / 557-8092