This is a topic that is very near and dear to me on a personal level. Since my labor induction ended in a not so favorable manner……..an unplanned, unwanted c-section. My induction wasn’t necessary either, and I gave in to the Dr recommendation that it be done since I was past my due date. Had I not given in to the pressures to induce, would my birth experience have turned out differently? Perhaps it would have, perhaps not…….but I will never know for sure. Ultimately I have a beautiful, healthy 11 year old daughter, and that is what matters the most!!
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes inductions and Cesarean Sections are most definitely necessary, and can be life saving for mother and child. However, often times they are not necessary and are not used in the beneficial manner for which they are intended.
Far too often I hear of tales from patients about their past experiences, or current ones that prompt them to search out a new provider. Women telling me that their Dr’s or Midwives say things to them like “ I need to be in control of your labor with Pitocin”, “We need to schedule your induction at 39 weeks”, “ It’s easier if we just schedule an induction.” Fortunately, not all providers share these same views, but many still do, and I hear about things like this being said every day.
Over the last several years there has been a growing body of evidence supporting the importance of a pregnancy progressing to full term! In 2011 the March of Dimes launched a campaign “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait” This campaign has helped to spread the word about the importance of a baby reaching full term and the developmental milestones that occur in the last weeks of pregnancy. Research has shown that a baby’s brain at 35 weeks is only two thirds of what it will weight at 39-40 weeks. In addition to the brain growth and development that occurs in the last weeks, the baby’s lungs, GI system, and liver are also still growing and developing.
More recently AWHONN has released a campaign Go The Full 40, which promotes the benefits of a pregnancy reaching the full 40 weeks of gestation. There is a film project that is underway, so stay tuned for the release of the Go The Full 40 film!
The last weeks of pregnancy may be tough for various reasons including the discomforts of back aches, swollen feet, difficulty sleeping, and peeing all the time, just to name a few! I find it hard to believe that a mom would choose induction if she really understood in the absence of problems/risk with the pregnancy the benefits of waiting for labor to start on its own.
I won’t go into all of the specific risks of inductions, and benefits of full term gestation, but there is some great data about the topics provided in the links below! Also provided in the links are some appropriate reasons to consider labor induction. As I said before, there are some legitimate reasons to induce, but we want to save inductions for those reasons alone, and avoid all the unnecessary ones!!!
Trust your body, and its intuitive ways! Your baby will come when he or she is good and ready!
Throughout your pregnancy and birth you may have questions that arise, don’t be afraid to ask, your provider should always be willing to answer. Think about asking your provider the right questions!
Using your B-R-A-I-N:
What are the Benefits:
In what ways will this benefit my labor?
In what ways will this benefit my baby?
In what ways will this benefit me?
What are the Risks:
Could this pose a risk to my labor?
Could this negatively affect my baby?
Could this negatively affect me?
Are there Alternatives:
Do I have any other options to consider, if so what are they?
Is my gut telling me anything?
I need time to think this through
I need some private time to discuss things with my family
Do I want to wait for now?
BENEFITS OF GOING TO FULL TERM