Pitocin and Breastfeeding

Pitocin (oxytocin) has not been adequately studied in women who were nursing, so it is unknown whether the drug passes through breast milk or if it would harm a nursing infant. However, Pitocin is usually given to a woman immediately before or after childbirth and is quickly removed from the body. Therefore, many experts consider it safe for women to breastfeed after receiving Pitocin.

Can Breastfeeding Women Receive Pitocin?

It is currently unknown whether Pitocin® (oxytocin) passes through breast milk in humans. Therefore, if you plan to breastfeed, talk with your healthcare provider before using this medication.
 

More Information on Pitocin and Breastfeeding

Pitocin has not been adequately studied in breastfeeding women. Therefore, it is unknown whether the medicine passes through breast milk, or if it would be harmful to a nursing child.
 
With normal use, Pitocin is given in the period immediately prior to or after childbirth and is rapidly removed from the body. Therefore, the medicine would not be expected to be found in the mother's bloodstream for very long, where it could pass through breast milk. Many experts consider breastfeeding safe when this medicine is only used short-term.
 
There is some evidence suggesting that Pitocin may affect breast milk supply. In one study, a group of breastfeeding women were given oxytocin (the active ingredient in Pitocin) as a nasal spray three to five minutes before expressing milk. A similar group of women was given a nasal spray that did not contain any active ingredients (a placebo nasal spray). In the study, the women given oxytocin were producing less milk after five days than the women given the placebo nasal spray.
 
However, it is important to point out that in the study oxytocin was repeatedly used by the breastfeeding women immediately before expressing milk. When used as directed, Pitocin would not normally be given to a woman just before she was about to breastfeed her child. Also, Pitocin is no longer available as a nasal spray.
 
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