Why am I addressing these 3 things as the good, the not so good and the bad? Well many reasons but let’s start with the “Good” first.
No. 1 the good.
Inductions do have their place when having a baby. Sometimes, inducing labor is the safest thing to do. If a baby is showing signs of poor growth or distress or is very comfortable inutero (still pregnant 41 weeks plus, (I know women that go beyond 42 weeks without a problem), he or she may be healthier if delivered. For mothers with high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, uncontrolled diabetes or certain other health conditions like their water breaking, low fluid (which can sometimes be remedied with drinking lots of water), high blood pressure and gestational diabetes, to name a few, a medically indicated induction may mean the difference between a healthy delivery and a not so good outcome.
Before we go on, let me address a couple of things here. People make mistakes, even care providers. You may think your 40 weeks along, and you’re not. Maybe your only 39 weeks. Even with an ultrasound, you look like your 40 weeks. One week off doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it might be for your baby. Sometimes they can end up in the NICU for a couple of days at 39 weeks. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen.
Also they are only looking at the “average” of babies. Not your baby in particular. All babies are different. They may fall into the “average” range, but then again, they may not. Ultrasounds can be inaccurate when estimating the size of your baby. Some machines are older than others, and maybe the baby is sitting kind of weird in the uterus, like transverse or maybe hiding a bit behind the placenta. Who knows. So maybe being induced because of a “large” baby or that your “over due” may not be a good idea. Granted, if you get to 41 weeks and 5 days, yes I would consider it, but before than you may want to do some additional research.
As a doula I have seen some births that didn’t go as planned. For example, you’re a first-time mom, your close to 40 weeks pregnant, everything is fine, and your doctor suggests that maybe you could get induced. You’ve had some signs that maybe labor will start soon, but you think, maybe being induced would be fine. Maybe he or she is going on vacation, or maybe they tell you that “sometimes first-time moms bodies have a hard time getting labor started.” Which is very untrue by the way. Or maybe you and the doctor are concerned that your baby is big. I’ve heard many stories where care providers were wrong by a few ounces to a pound and the babies were not as big as they predicted. That said big babies do manage to go through the vagina, really. My second baby was 9 pounds, 10 ounces. Yes, he was my second baby, but I had not had a baby in 9 years before I had him. We were fine and he was very cute, with all those little rolls and those cheeks, but I digress.
Number 2 on the list. The not so good!
Inductions also can cause medical complications for the mom and baby. Pitocin (a drug that stimulates contractions) requires almost continuous fetal monitoring, which decreases a mother's mobility (evidence suggests moving around can speed labor). If labor progresses slowly, her amniotic sac may be ruptured to accelerate the process, increasing the risk for maternal and fetal infection. Women who experience powerful, painful contractions caused by Pitocin often request an epidural, which, in turn, may affect blood pressure and circulation to the placenta.
Your baby may not be ready for some reason. My daughter-in-law was induced when she had her third daughter at 39 to 40 weeks because her doctor was going on vacation.The birth was fine, but my beautiful little granddaughter was not happy about it. My son and my daughter-in-law both thought that she wasn’t ready, even at close to 40 weeks and that she could have used a few more days to “cook.” She was not a happy girl for about the first 6 months of her life.
The above story may not sound so bad, but when you have a baby that is constantly attached to you and your nursing, plus you have 2 other children to deal with, it can be tough.
Number 3 on the list, the bad.
This story is based on one of my clients. It was bad. My client, who was a first time mom, went into the hospital on a Thursday night to get induced. No real reason except she was 40 weeks and 5 days. They started her out with a Foley bulb that was placed into her cervix to help the cervix to dilate. They gave her some drugs to rest and we both got some sleep. The next morning the Foley bulb had fallen out. Her cervix was dilated to about 3. That’s a good start. Then Pitocin was started. We walked the halls most of the day. It was a slow dilation, which can happen with first-time moms. Friday night comes and she gets an epidural so she can rest and so can I. Yes, even doulas need sleep. When we woke up the next day she was dilated to 10. We were both very happy about this. Her epidural was still very much on board. She pushed for about an hour before they decided to turn down the epidural so she could actually feel when her body wanted to push. About 30 minutes later, baby’s heartbeat started to slow down during contractions (which is normal) and was not recovering as well as the doctor would like. They gave her 2 choices. Forceps or using a type of vacuum on the baby’s head to help the baby out. She chose forceps. Baby was literally pulled out of his mom’s vagina. It took them an hour to sew her up and baby was not happy. 2 days later she hemorrhaged at the hospital. She ended up spending extra days at the hospital because of her induction. Their birth was pretty traumatic. Good news is that baby and mama are now doing well.
In conclusion -
Bottom line, think twice about an induction. It may be the best thing for you and your baby or it may be not so good or bad.
Just remember YOUR BODY, YOUR BIRTH, YOUR BABY!
If you would like information regarding advocating for yourself and your baby, check my blog Be your own best advocate for yourself and your baby with your care provider and the hospital. How? Here are some important tips. If you’re a first-time mom and your still on the fence about getting a doula check my other blog entitled 6 reasons why first time moms need a doula! Think you can’t afford a doula? Think again. Check another blog I wrote entitled 10 ways to pay for a doula and why you really need one. (They are so worth it!).
Would you like a painless birth and save money on Doula fees? It is possible. Check out Can you Have a Painless Birth with Reiki? What? Yes it Can Happen.
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