Saturday, May 16, 2009

Labor Induction

One of the most common things that I hear among pregnant women is regarding induction. My insides cringe when I hear "I was induced"...

As our society has slowly placed more and more emphasis on the "due date", we have forgotten that babies don't keep a calendar with them in your womb. Each baby is unique. It grows at it's own pace. And frankly, it should be allowed to pick its OWN birthday. Why? Because it is safer. Safer for your baby, and safer for you.

Babies that are induced before they are ready can have trouble breathing, staying warm and breastfeeding, and they often need special hospital care after birth. In fact, we are seeing a large increase in preterm births, mostly due to the fact that we are inducing and sectioning babies way before they are ready.

It's isn't devoid of risk for mothers either. Research shows that first-time moms who are induced are twice as likely to have a cesarean as one whose labor starts on its own.

Actually, I've only scratched the surface here. The other risks involved are being confined to your bed, IV fluids, continuous fetal monitoring and denial of food and drink. These often lead to epidurals, because induced labors are significantly more painful. Epidurals lead to catheters and internal monitors. They can even lead to an assisted delivery with a vacuum or forceps. AND as mentioned above, inductions often lead to a cesarean, usually for fetal distress or stalled labors. Oh, and did I mention that sometimes an induction just doesn't work at all?

My advice to any pregnant woman... skip the elective induction. No matter how miserable you think you are, no matter how many times your well meaning friends call and ask if you've had the baby yet, no matter how tempting it is to schedule when you are going to meet your baby... be strong, for yourself, for your baby and for your birth.


Amy said...

An old Harvard study revealed that the average length of gestation for first time moms is 41 weeks and 1 day. So, I just tell pregnant ladies to *expect* to go to 42 weeks. Put that in your head that pregnancy lasts 42 weeks. Anything before that is surprisingly early. It's the whole mindset of "I've reached my due date, I should be done, I'm not going to do this any more." They put so much stock in that due date that when it comes and passes by, they feel crushed, defeated, and throw in the towel.
Hang in there, mamas! I know each day in the last weeks of pregnancy is HARD, but it is so worth it to hold out until both YOUR body and your baby's body is ready for this journey.