Contractions are vital to the birth of a baby. They cause the cervix to dilate, while helping the baby descend into the birth canal for a safe delivery. Pitocin, the synthetic drug that simulates the natural hormone oxytocin, is often used to artificially induce labor by causing and strengthening contractions. However, a common side effect that most women getting induced are unaware of is excessive uterine activity that can harm the baby.
Spastic cerebral palsy is characterized as damage to the brain's motor cortex that causes increased muscle tone, stiff joints, and jerky movements. This condition prevents normal development of motor function. It is often caused by a lack of oxygen in a child's brain during birth. Excessive uterine activity, such as too strong or too frequent contractions, affects the amount of oxygen that reaches the baby's brain. If the excessive uterine activity is prolonged, the baby can develop hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a type of brain damage that occurs when the baby's brain doesn't receive enough oxygen during birth. HIE is an often-preventable birth injury, and often stems from improper contraction monitoring and lack of intervention from nurses and doctors when the baby is in distress. It can have devastating, lifelong effects, such as spastic cerebral palsy. Spastic cerebral palsy can develop from HIE.