Induction, induction, induction. Everywhere I go I hear the word induction. Just moments ago, walking through the hall in my office I heard a woman say that someone she knew would be induced if the baby did not come by the due date. I have a hard time biting my tongue in certain situations, but well that’s why I have my blog, so I can say what ever I want!
Why do I hate the word induction? I have found that since I had Connor I have been hyperaware to those who are pregnant or have just had their own children. More and more I hear that doctors are telling women that they can be induced on xx day. Some women may think, “wow, what a wonderful thing, I can have my baby on the date of my choice and I won’t have to play the waiting game,” but ladies, it’s just not that simple.
Why do doctors schedule inductions? Often times, for convenience. The doctor will tell her patient that she can promise to be the attending doctor if an induction is scheduled on a day when she’s in the hospital. The doctor may schedule an induction if the baby does not come by xx-days before the due date. Pregnant women get antsy, and would love to have the whole pregnancy over with, knowing that date will be before the “due date” will ease her concerns. Last, but not least (as the list goes on), a pregnant woman may be scheduled for an induction because the baby is “too big!”
Now, why do I think all of this is a bunch of nonsense? Babies will come when they are ready. Inductions have proven to be unnecessary and unsafe. Due dates can be off (they are just a guesstimate of course) and if a mother is induced that baby may be born “too early.” Our babies need to incubate in the womb as long as possible. Babies born early often times have trouble breathing, as their lungs are not fully developed. This will often necessitate the trip to the infant NICU at birth. Brain development is another reason that women should let labor begin on its own. The last few weeks of pregnancy provide critical brain development so much that if a baby is born early the family could be burden with a lifetime of developmental issues.
Did you know that the average pregnancy is 41.5 weeks? We all have our focus on that magic due date, but that doesn’t mean baby has the same date in mind. A baby will come when he/she is ready and no one can predict that date for you. What if my baby is too big? This is another inaccurate measurement taken to convince mom that she cannot possible vaginally deliver a big baby. Measurements of baby’s weight by ultrasound can be 1-2 pounds off. Besides, your baby will grow the perfect size to fit your body and cannot be too big! Only in cases of gestational diabetes, that is not properly controlled, will the baby grow larger than he/she should in the womb.
I happen to think that it is completely unethical for a doctor to unnecessarily induce a woman simply for convenience. Although the doctor wouldn’t admit that you are being induced for convenience and may explain that it is completely necessary.
Not only can induction lead to the birth of a pre-term baby, but complications can arise during the birth itself. Inductions begin by administering pitocin, a synthetic hormone to mimic oxytocin (the natural hormone that causes labor to begin). The synthetic hormone will cause contractions that are much more intense than the contractions a woman will have when labor begins naturally. For women planning a natural birth, this may cause them to feel otherwise because of the intense pain. This is not to say a woman still cannot deliver naturally, but it is much more of an intense pain that she must go through. If a woman chooses the epidural for pain relief, the drug can slow down labor that was brought on so quickly by pitocin and in worst case scenario can cause, what the doctor may refer to as “failure to progress” and an emergency c-section will be ordered. But, of course that’s for another blog post.
My point is that only you can stop the unnecessary rate of inductions in this country. You don’t have to do what your doctor suggests. It is just that, a suggestion. If the doctor is pushy, switch providers. It is never too late to find someone you are more comfortable with to have deliver your baby. Know that you have a choice, it is your baby and your body, you can say “no” to a suggestion of a scheduled induction.
I would love to hear from those of you who have had an experience with induction, either for yourself, a family member or friend you know who was induced. What do you think about the topic?