Oxytocin is a natural hormone with uterine stimulant properties that plays a prominent role in obstetric practice. Clinical guidelines for oxytocin use intrapartum emphasise that injudicious use has serious potential for adverse outcomes for mother and baby. Oxytocin is readily available in South Asia and widely used in ways that flout these guidelines. Yet recommendations for active management of third stage of labour (AMTSL) include the administration of oxytocin to prevent post-partum haemorrhage (PPH). Troublingly, these proposals seem to ignore oxytocin’s already extensive life independent of policy interventions. Taking oxytocin as an example, the paper argues that policy-makers urgently need to engage with the everyday realities of drug availability and use in South Asia.
Journal of health studies (2009) 2 (1/2) 33-50