“Pit To Distress”

Posted on July 7, 2009. Filed under: Birth, Cesarean, pitocin | Tags: , , , , |

Yes this is a real term that is really used in hospitals. Now I have heard it all. “Pit to distress” is referring to administration of the maximum dosage of pitocin until the fetus is distressed and the mother needs a c section. I am not making this up. Go read about this for yourself here. If you think this would never happen to you, you may want to do some research. If you think this DID happen to you, please share your story.


Here is an L&D nurse weighing in on this topic. She confirms that it is in fact practiced and referred to as “pit to distress”.

Here is another spin on it from an L&D Nurse, just to get a different perspective.

Here is a link from VBAC Facts weighing in on “Pit to Distress”


Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

12 Responses to ““Pit To Distress””

RSS Feed for Doula Momma Comments RSS Feed

They can’t actually write that on the orders, can they? Maybe that just refers to a high-dose Pit protocol.

I hope not. They may write the words “max pit” or “double pit” or other such phrases but this L&D nursing text book references it as “pit to distress” and discusses what a nurse should do in the event of that written order. This leads me to believe that it is actually written that way if a text book feels the need to discuss it.


Read the last paragraph on the right bottom.

Also, when I say it’s a ‘real term’ I mean in reference to the fact that whether written in those specific words on the orders or used when the staff is talking (but writing it up another way) it is being used. I am sure many of us know that it happens but that it has a name that both nurses and doctors know and use and actually DO is what pisses me off.

This is horrifying. As women, we all need to educate ourselves and look out for our own best interests, because god knows, no one else is… Actually that is not fair. There are some really fabulous obs out there who care about their patients more than getting home to see whatever damn tv show they want to watch that night. Unfortunately, there are clearly not enough. It is unfathomable to me that a dr in good conscience could put in a “pit to distress” order. How can s/he sleep at night??? It is malpractice, but unlikely to result in any litigation and subsequent change, because the mom will almost certainly never know. She is unlikely to question him anyway – she is too busy putting him up on a pedestal for doing the section and saving her baby’s life!! The whole thing makes me furious (and sick).

I am at least slightly encouraged that the text book is telling the nurses NOT to follow the order. I wonder how many head nurses tell the nurses to follow it anyways. 😦

I agree on being encouraged by it but the fact that it even has to be addressed is my biggest problem. I have been reading what L&D nurses have to say and it’s across the board. I doubt if the actual words are written and I doubt that most doctors intentionally do it and that it’s probably just a result of high pit protocols (which shouldn’t be happening either) but I do believe there is the occasion that it’s intentional. The problem is proving it.

Hi, just found your site. Love it. I have personally never seen the actual words “pit to distress” on any order. I have certainly seen very aggressive Pit protocols, but thankfully, my hospital does not do them. We have actually been reprimanded for not turning over patients faster (like women are pancakes?). But it does happen, and it can be very hard for the nurse to alter this practice.
As way of introduction, I am a NICU nurse, so I deal mostly with neonatal issues, which are obviously intertwined with labor and delivery.

Thanks for stopping by and giving a professional opinion on this. Also, great work on the post for nurses refusing do follow through with unethical orders. Please go http://realityrounds.com/2009/07/08/no-doctor/ to read her post, Reality Rounds Guide to Refusing a Physician Order

Good God. I can’t believe I read that, but it makes perfect sense. And I think it probably happened to me. I know the pit started out at 1 but they increased it every 15-30 minutes until the pit was at 27 (the doc said max was 30) when the baby “distressed” and I ended up with my c/s. They kept increasing it despite the fact that my contractions were long, strong, and sustained throughout the course of labor. (Every two minutes, lasting for 90 seconds, and double peaking). As far as the L&D nurse’s comments that is “unbearable to witness and experience”, I would say that is most definitely the case.

I hear “pit to distress” at many hospitals. I’m a travelling RN so I am at a lot of places. It’s treated as some sort of joke, but that’sexactly what they mean. We do it, too. Ugh.

However, I do want to say, we don’t automatically then do a c-section. Usually we back off the pit till the baby is better and slowly go up again.

Where's The Comment Form?

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: