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5 Things Moms Should Know About Induction

In a time where induction of labor is such a popular thing for mothers, there is a lot of misinformation, as well as information being left out, including risks and statistics.

With my oldest son I was induced, and there were many risks that were left out of the conversation with my provider. I was told I needed to be induced for a medical reason and went along with it despite being two days away from my due date.

In the long run, my induction was hellish, and ended in a c-section like many inductions do. Had I known this, I would not have opted for the induction because my biggest fear in childbirth was a c-section.

My top 5 things that I think all mothers should know about induction are:

1. Induction increases your risk for a c-section!   A speculated 40-50% of inductions will end in c-sections. Whether they are medically necessary or not, this is a really high number. Sometimes induction simply does not work because the baby is simply not ready to be born, and your body is not ready to give birth. No matter all the medical advances we have today, sometimes nature just doesn’t comply. And sometimes, it is too late for your provider to just send you home and wait it out once they try to induce.

Many medical studies have also backed this up:

“Induction of labor doubles the risk of C-section,” said study author Dr. Deborah Ehrenthal, director of women’s health programs at Christiana Care Health System in Newark, Del., and an assistant professor of family medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. The research appears in the July issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

So if you want to avoid a c-section, or there is no medical reason to induce, skip it!

2. Induction increases the risks to your baby during labor.  Some of these risks include fetal distress, shoulder dystocia. Because of the forceful nature of the drugs used, and sometimes the manner the mothers water is broken can move the baby into a position that is not favorable for birth.

3. Induction increases the risk of your baby being admitted to the NICU.
I didn’t know this one before I started researching for this post though. I read some information on about.com from Robin Elise Weiss that showed:

Increased risk of your baby being admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Babies who are born via induction have not yet sent signals to the mother to start labor. This means that they simply aren’t yet ready to be born. This risk is worth it if the baby or mother’s lives are in danger, but simply to take this risk for elective reasons may not be well advised.

When a baby is in the intensive care unit there is less ability for you to be with your baby or to hold your baby. Breastfeeding usually gets off to a rocky start as well. This can usually be avoided by giving birth when your body and baby say it is time.

All great information from one of my mentors in becoming a childbirth educator.

4. Induction increases your risk for a premature baby. We all know that due dates are not set in stone, and can be inaccurate by up to two full weeks in either direction. The March of Dimes has spoken out against elective inductions, as well as inductions with no medical reason before the 39th week of pregnancy because of the risk of a late term preemie.  Increasing the levels of jaundice or other problems that can be avoided if you wait things out a little bit!

5. Pitocin contractions are stronger and much more painful than normal labor contractions. Believe me I know… I have been there!  My first was induced and the contractions were so painful my idea of a medication free birth went right out the window 2 hours into pitocin. With my second son, I labored with natural and strong productive contractions for 24 hours before having an epidural.

Pitocin contractions are unnaturally strong, and often form a cascade of interventions you normally would not experience if you had not been induced. The cascade was also featured in a birth documentary film:

It is a lot of information to take in, but be sure to look at all of your options before you sign up and head into the hospital for your induction!

photo: flickr.com/wyscan

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