Labor Induction : Why Labor is Induced
Labor induction is a procedure which is done to ensure you go to labor in the first place or to ensure that you labor fast enough. There are many reason why your healthcare provider performs induction of labor and there is also a variety of ways to induce labor.
Below is some reason why a woman’s labor is induced:
1. Overdue or past due date.
This is one of the biggest reason why labor is induced. Most doctors talk about induction once you’re past due date. Two weeks is the usual time frame from when you are supposedly to give labor to having a labor induction. This means that usually, if you don’t give birth in two weeks after your due date, then labor induction will be performed. The reason why a doctor is getting nervous if you’re way past due date is because there’s a possibility of placental deterioration which can decrease the nutrient received by the baby and can stress the baby out.
However, it is important to know that there is a controversy whether this procedure should be done based on this reason alone or whether the health care provider should get evidence that the baby or mother’s health is compromised before performing induction of labor.
You see, some women do tend to be pregnant for a longer time than the normal 40 week pregnancy. Similarly, there are women whose normal pregnancy is are shorter than 40 weeks. I am one of the women whose pregnancy time is below the norm. All my three babies are born between week 38-39. So it makes is possible that some women are 42-weekers.
Now, some doctors are pretty strict of this requirement,requiring you to prepare for a labor induction within days after the due date, whereas some are okay to delay induction of labor even though you’re past that two week time frame, as long as both you and your baby are okay. These doctors may ask you to follow procedures or get a test to see whether your baby is still healthy and does not need induction.
If you are aspiring to have a natural childbirth, I suggest you to ask your obstetrician about his labor induction policy before you choose him to be your healthcare provider since labor induction can trigger a cascade of intervention which can result in c-section which you don’t want to have. Indeed, you should know your obstetrician’s stance about important childbirth matters, including labor induction before you hire him.
But what if you’ve already chosen your health care provider and s/he wants you to be induced ?
One way to avoid induction is to ask for a test which can prove that both you and your baby are actually fine. There should be no reason for them to refuse the test. You can also ask your health care provider to run the risk of inducing vs non inducing if the baby and you are proven to be fine by the test.
The second one, is to try to induce labor naturally at home. However, most of natural labor induction methods do not work consistently across the board. The only two things which are most consistent in getting mom to go into labor are by using these best ways to induce labor at home.
2. Baby’s or mother’s health.
Often, a labor is induced because of concern on the baby’s or mother’s health. A woman who has, for instance, a high pressure or has sign of preclampsia may be told by the obstetrician to give birth as soon as possible before the condition spirals downhill and necessitate a c-section. In this kind of circumstances, it’s of course necessary to get the baby out sooner and therefore labor induction is a better option than having to go through a c-section.
3. The mother has broken the water bag.
A woman who has a broken water bag may also have her labor induced to prevent the baby from developing infection as the baby’s now not protected by the water bag or amnion sack anymore. Again, policy of labor inductions vary from one hospital to the next, or from one doctor to another.
In the case of the amniotic sac above, for instance, one doctor may be comfortable to leaving the woman alone for a couple of days once the water is broken provided nothing is introduced into the vagina, whereas other doctor will want that woman to be induced as soon as possible.
It is therefore very important to choose the right caregiver if you want to have a natural childbirth. You don’t want to be attended by an obstetrician whose policy of labor induction is rigid.
4. The woman’s baby is already big.
Ultrasound is often part of the thing your healthcare provider order you to do during the last weeks of pregnancy. The danger of having ultrasound during that time is that your health care provider may want to induce you if the baby is too big.
But, how big is too big ?
And more importantly, is ultrasound measurement accurate ?
It turns out that ultrasound measurement is sometimes inaccurate and the weight of the baby can be off by 1 pound.
Plus, the concern of difficulty of giving birth vaginally of a big vs small baby is not very sound because it all depends on the baby’s position. On top of that, position of pushing or giving birth can have an effect on the easiness or difficulty of giving birth.
Finally, an experience caregivers who are used to help moms giving birth naturally without the help of vacuum or forceps are able to help women to deliver big babies, often without even a tear. The key lies in patience and skill. My midwife often helps women delivering big babies without tears by massaging the perineum, maneuvering the baby to favorable positions and ask moms to change positions.
The problem with hospital birth is often there is no time to do all these things, even with the babies which are not big. Doctors and hospitals want the birth to be quick and present no hassle. This again, highlights the importance of choosing the right caregiver, be it a midwife, or an obstetrician, if you want to have a natural birth .
Sometimes obstetrician performs induction of labor for convenience reason, be it for the obstetrician’s convenience, or the woman’s.
For instance, it is possible a woman whose labor does not progress fast enough to have the labor augmented so that she doesn’t take much of obstetrician time. You have to understand that unlike a midwife, most of the time, an obstetrician has more than one client on labor. It is just not practical to wait out each and every patient, and doing it every night and day. After all, obstetricians have family too, right ?
Similarly, some women may want a labor induction to speed up her labor, or because she wants to give birth at a particular time. Hence she arranges with her health care provider to be induced before their bodies go into labor on their own.
6. Hospital Policy.
Some hospitals have a strict policy regarding the amount of time a woman can labor. If a woman labors for too long, then induction of labor is in order.
Therefore, if you want a natural childbirth , it’s important not to go to hospital the minute you’re in labor. Wait it out until your contraction is stronger and more frequent so that you’re very ready to give birth when you get to the hospital. Otherwise, you risk yourself to have your labor labeled as ‘failure to progress’ and therefore have the labor induced.
Another alternative is of course to only choose a hospital which is supportive of natural birth, or to give birth at home.