Inductions and how to advocate for yourself and your baby.
Disclaimer – This blog is written from my experience and some research I have done regarding medications. If you are interested in any of the research that I have regarding the drugs mentioned here, I will be happy to provide it to you.
As a doula, I have seen to many inductions in my practice. All to first time moms. I have written a blog about inductions before, but since then I have attended births that were induced and I am feeling that inductions need to be addressed again. None of them were performed because of medical reasons. All of them were performed because of being 39 to 41 plus weeks pregnant and with the medical communities “recommendation.” The recommendation was made only because of advanced pregnancy, being between 39 to 42 weeks and possibly because their care provider had an engagement that they didn’t want to miss. Yes, it does happen, a lot!
Inductions can be long and hard. Usually requiring some kind of pain relief, like an epidural. They can also end up in a c-section. I recently completed a poll on Facebook. 33 percent of women receiving non-medical inductions ended in C-Section. 33 percent. That means that 67 percent of women receiving non-medical inductions had vaginal births. Doesn’t sound that terrible? Think again.
Inductions can be either medically necessary, or elective. Now I don’t really know what the stats are on “elective” inductions, or what elective actually means in the “induction” world. Is it an elective induction if you are coerced by your doctor to get an induction because they use scare tactics like “if we don’t induce you soon, your baby is so big that you won’t be able to vaginally deliver.” Or, “if we let you go past 41 weeks and 5 days the odds go up for you to have a still born. (The percentage of stillbirth does go up a bit after 41 weeks, but not much.) What about a VBAC? They sometimes will suggest an induction you when you want that. They will tell you that the baby may be to big when you actually go into labor or a number of other things. The list is endless.
I feel like I’m painting a negative picture of inductions. Well, yes I am. I can only go by what I have personally experienced as a mom, a doula, and what I have heard from other women who have had inductions. The use drugs to induce you such as Cytotec or Pitocin with can lead to either C-Section (33 percent) or some other medical intervention such as aepidurals, episiotomies, vacuum suction or forceps. As a doula, I have seen all of them. Each have their own nightmarish edge.
Lets start with Cytotec (misoprostol). Cytotec is approved by the FDA to treat stomach ulcers. It has not been approved to start labor, yet it is used to do just that, either in pill form or with a tampon like device that is inserted into the vagina so it can have close access to the cervix. They tell women that they use Cytotec to soften the cervix. In my experience, nothing was said about increasing the number or length of contractions to any of my clients that took this drug, which does happen. Once the Cytotec is in your blood stream, it can’t be changed. Pitocin can be turned off. You just have to wait for Cytotec to run its course.
Pitocin is the normal drug of choice for inductions. It’s synthetic oxytocin. It increases your contractions in length and timing. The contractions can be very painful. Pitocin can also sometimes lead to fetal distress which equals a c-section, suction or forceps delivery, which can lead to very unhappy babies.
Lets talk about epidurals. I’ve heard nurses say that epidurals are the miracle of childbirth pain reduction. Yes, they can be. They can also slow down your labor which can lead to failure to progress which can lead to c-section. My daughter-in-law had an epidural with all three of her births and did fine, well usually. That doesn’t always happen. Epidurals are good, when they work. I’ve been to births where they worked great! Other’s not so much. Sometimes the epidurals work on only half of the body. Can you imagine having pain relief on your right side and not your left? Not so good. They can also wear off. Which isn’t the greatest either. I think they have pretty much taken care of that now. They give women with epidurals a button to push that automatically sends more medicine to the epidural. It’s like a lifeline to women who push it. It works great, usually. What happens when its time to push and you can’t feel the contractions? Well I’ve seen a couple of things. Some Mamas push really well and in no time your baby is born. In others it takes them a couple of hours to push babies out. It really just depends. I’ve also seen them turn down the epidural so mama can feel to push. How do babies do? Well what I have seen, some do really well. Others are very upset. I think it depends on if you went into labor naturally before you got the epidural or if you were induced. Induced births can upset babies. It’s like their saying “how could you evict me before I was ready!” It’s crazy but true. One more thing that I have seen when women get epidurals is if they tear, then they are sewn up without any additional meds down there. Epidurals don’t always reach the perineum, or they start to wear off quickly after birth. If you do have an epidural and if they do need to stitch you up, then ask for additional medicine before they stitch you up. You will be glad you did.
C-sections happen to 33 percent of women who get inductions. 33 percent. It’s crazy. C-sections when induced, can happen because of fetal distress. You’ve been in labor for 36 hours. Babies not doing well, or your just done and your only dilated to 7. C-section is the answer. Your given an epidural, rolled into an operating room and cut open to get baby out. C-section has gotten better. Now they give you skin to skin time or a clear curtain so you can see your baby be born. You still have an extra couple of days in the hospital and a longer recovery time. You may also be on some strong pain meds.
Ok. I’ve looked at how you are medically induced and what may happen according to my experience as a doula and some research that I have done. Let’s look at how you can avoid a medical induction even with the most insistent medical provider.
No. 1 - LIE!! Yes, that’s what I said, lie. You’re at 41 weeks and the doctor wants to set up an induction in 3 days. Your thinking there is no way I want an induction, but they are so insistent. What now! Well, you can tell the provider that your sister is getting married that day and you need to go to the wedding, or your mom’s birthday is that day and the party is already planned and you have to be there, or a myriad of other believable excuses. Tell the provider that you will be fine and let him know that if you don’t go into labor by 42 weeks than you can talk to him or her than about induction. Yes it can work and they shouldn’t give you to much grief about it.
No. 2 – Cancel or reschedule your appointment. They can’t make you say yes to an induction. They just can’t. You have your own mind, and this is your birth, not there’s. Take back your power and just call the Doctor and reschedule or just cancel your appointment and tell them you will call them back. If it’s like most providers offices, they deal with many patients, and they may not even notice. Then you can go into the hospital when your ready, on your terms. Or just have your baby at home, by yourself! It can be done and is done all the time. 😊
I have also written another blog regarding “How to advocate for yourself and your baby!” Take a look at that too. It may help you figure out how to get out of it, if that’s what you want.
Good luck. If you need some advice on how to get out of an induction, don’t hesitate to call or text me. We can talk through it. If you need a doula that knows that you can birth your baby on your terms, I’m your girl. Your birth, your baby, your choice. Peace and love to you.