There are good reasons NOT to induce labor! Here are 4 things expectant parents should consider before scheduling an induction.
Today, I’m delighted to welcome back Leigh Ann, from Intentional by Grace! Earlier in our pregnancy series, she educated us about birthing at a birth center. Today and tomorrow, she is posting about why she didn’t induce labor–and giving some natural ways to induce! ~ Erin
Guest post by Leigh Ann of Intentional by Grace
Based on our calculations, the due date for our first child fell during my husband’s biggest meeting of the year, which involved a lot of preparation, presentations, and traveling. Long before we even conceived, we had resolved to follow a more natural approach to not only birth, but our health in general.
We had made the switch to whole, real foods more than a year before and were convinced of the importance, for not only my health but the health of our baby, to avoid any interventions throughout our pregnancy and delivery (barring any medical complications, of course). We had even made arrangements to give birth at a birth center.
photo by Lillian Prince Photography
Toward the end of our pregnancy, we began to anticipate the arrival of our first child like any first time mommy and daddy. Due to my husband’s work responsibilities that were also quickly approaching, the question was asked repeatedly, “Why don’t you just go get induced?”
The idea was that we could have the baby a week early giving my husband plenty of time to be there for the birth and still be available for his meeting. I was called selfish and uncaring toward my husband for refusing to be induced while waiting for my child to come in his own time. Thankfully, I was not alone in my resolve. My husband was with me all the way.
These accusations were hurtful and frustrating because like any other first time mommy and daddy we had spent several hours researching what we thought was best for our baby. We had several reasons for not choosing a scheduled induction, but here are four of them.
4 Reasons Why We Chose Not to Schedule an Induction:
1. Just because I am ready does not mean that my baby is ready.
Because due dates are only estimates, only 3-5% of babies are born on their actual due dates (source). Did you know that your due date has a margin of error totaling 5-7 days?
Additionally, due dates are based on averages of baby’s gestation time, and does not take into consideration the individual baby’s growth. In our case, our baby was growing much smaller than the average baby. After several ultrasounds, we learned he was growing just as God had intended at the rate that was best for him.
All of this guessing and averaging means, we cannot with complete accuracy say when a baby should be born. To expel my baby before he has sent signals to my body that he is ready, increases the risk of my baby being admitted to the NICU, as well as his risk of suffering from jaundice. We didn’t want that risk.
2. Inducing increases the risk of further interventions.
For first time mothers, which I was, 50-75% of inductions end in a ceasarean section (c-section) (source). Based on our personal convictions, we were doing our best to avoid a c-section; therefore, this increased statistic concerned us.
Let’s say I went in and got induced “just this one time” so the man of my prayers could be at his meeting. The odds weren’t in my favor to avoid a c-section for our baby’s delivery. Did you know that a vaginal birth after a c-section (VBAC) can increase the risk of uterine wall rupture during a vaginal delivery (source)? Even if I disagree, and I think it’s not impossible and still perfectly safe to have a VBAC, finding a doctor to deliver my next baby vaginally would be difficult.
Additionally if vaginal birth does occur, epidurals are almost always used after Pitocin has been given* (source). This decreases the ability to push baby out, invoking the need for the doctor to use forceps or vacuum, which really means an increased risk of tearing or the need for a routine episiotomy. These are all things we were trying to avoid. This doesn’t happen in all cases, but again, the statistics weren’t in my favor.
3. Pitocin does not act like the natural hormones in our body.
Have you ever heard someone say that being induced hurt way worse than not being induced? The reason is that the synthetic version of oxytocin, in the form of Pitocin, does not act like our natural oxytocin hormone that is produced in our bodies (source). Therefore, many women who have experienced both a planned natural birth and a planned induction will tell you the latter hurt much worse*. I was one of those weird first time moms…I actually surveyed women about their experience. Weird, I know. But if I hadn’t asked, you wouldn’t know that little tidbit of information, so don’t laugh at me too much!
4. Pitocin–depending on the amount given–can have negative effects on the baby.
If too much is given, then hyper-stimulation can occur and the baby’s heart rate could become abnormal causing fetal distress, the uterine wall could rupture, and the baby could be deprived of essential supplies of blood and oxygen. Research shows that at average levels used for induction or augmentation/acceleration, a woman’s oxytocin levels will be 130 to 570 times higher than she would naturally produce in labor (source). All we could say was, “Wow!”
So, these are just a few of the reasons why we chose not to medically induce labor. In the end, it came down to:
What risks am I happy to accept in relation to the benefits?
This is a personal question. One that, like us, you must decide for yourself. To me, caution should be used when we go against what God has naturally put in place for us. At the very least, we should take time to do our research. But ultimately, it is your decision to make. It was our decision to make regardless of what my husband’s future career would look like in the eyes of his peers. It was our decision to make when it came to the health of our baby.
There are times when naturally inducing labor can be a good thing, though. Tomorrow I’ll share with you 7 ways to naturally induce labor!
Have you ever considered inducing labor? Why or why not?
Leigh Ann’s life goal is to create a home where it is impossible to not think about God. At Intentional By Grace, she blogs about her journey of intentional living in order to make this goal a reality.
She is the wife to the man of her prayers, Mark, and mama to tree loveable children. Leigh Ann takes joy in spending her days creating memorable moments with her husband, conducting kitchen experiments, researching every natural alternative known to man, and making her children laugh. She does it all by the grace of God.
*Note from Erin: I was not officially “induced” with my first labor, but my water broke before my body was ready (I was not dilating, etc.), and–because we didn’t know any better–my husband and I rushed to the hospital. Once there, my nurse immediately hooked me up to Pitocin, to “augment” my labor. I had desired a natural birth, but 8 hours into Pitocin-“augmented” contractions, I requested pain relief. An hour later, I requested an epidural. Thankfully, I was still able to deliver vaginally, but my desires for a natural, intervention-free labor did not happen. For me personally, my natural contractions with my second birth were MUCH more manageable than the Pitocin-induced contractions with my first birth.
Disclaimer: Neither Leigh Ann nor myself are pregnancy or birthing experts. We simply write from personal experience and personal research. Please consult your trusted health professional before making any decisions regarding pregnancy or birthing.