The Epidemic of Induction
The Epidemic of Induction
I’m a huge believer in birth being natural. This is not simply because I just think it’s a good idea. I used to have NO idea. My passion for natural birth was actually pioneered by hearing all the births that my friends and their friends were experiencing and picking up on too many similar bad patterns to be coincidence. For example one of my big “kicks” with birth was when OB’s would pressure their patients with this phrase, “You’ve been a (insert # dilated here) for too long & you’re showing signs of failure to progress in your labor. I think we are going to *need* to put you on Pitocin.” I would cringe when listening to birth stories & the infamous statement was spoken again & again. It would quite literally anger me becasue it was so often unnecessary & so often led to negative outcomes in their births.
Well, I have been on a new “kick” lately. The pattern that I have been hearing more lately is this Epidemic of Induction. What is the deal? Why is it that so many OB’s seem to pressure a woman to be induced instead of letting her body spontaneously go into labor? Seriously, where is the medical evidence-based proof that this has to do with ANYTHING other than habit or convenience on the OB’s part?
A few months ago a friend of mine was casually mentioning to me that her OB wanted to go ahead & schedule her delivery date (this was at her 12 week prenatal, mind you) via induction. When my friend told her OB that she hoped to NOT be induced this time around, her OB said this, “Why? OB’s just arent letting thier clients go past 39 weeks now-a-days.”
I swear to you, my jaw hit the floor! What? Not “letting” your clients go past 39 weeks? Since when did this OB become the final word on when my friends baby should enter this world? As you can imagine, I eagerly encouraged her to seek a new provider and ASAP.
I simply do not understand the need for any induction of labor unless ABSOLUTELY medically necessary. I’ll give you another example and this is one I have been hearing A LOT lately: Induction of labor because a woman is not dilating in the weeks or days BEFORE her due date. The same friend I mentioned above, towards the end of her pregnancy went in for a prenatal & was told that she wasnt showing any “signs” of labor & that discussing an induction was a good idea. Her OB even told her that in order to leave that prenatal they needed to preform an ultrasound & a non-stress test to make sure the baby was still okay. She wasn’t even to her due date yet!
Another friend of mine was sharing her birth story with me & how in her final prenatal before she went into labor, her OB told her that she wasn’t dilated at all & since she wasn’t showing sings of labor, they were going to schedule the induction for the following week (3 days past her 40-week due date). Luckily, she went into labor spontaneously a couple days later.
When did medicine decide that a woman not showing any signs of labor BEFORE actually going into LABOR was a concern? Doesn’t that just seem like poor common sense? I mean, think about it. You’re basically telling a woman that her body isnt doing it “right” because she isn’t naturally pre-dilating to a 1, 2, or 3 before labor has begun. Last time I checked LABOR is what happens when a baby is ready to be born. Since when did we decide that there was now a set “rule” to abide by in the days or weeks before labor? This really doesn’t make sense to me.
Our bodies know how to have babies!! Granted complications do arise & things do fail us- but the majority of the time if we leave it alone, birth seems to work remarkably well without us getting in the way of it. I don’t see where Doctors can stress that it is somehow better for the baby or the mother to induce labor; to pump your body full of Pitocin, Cervadil, Cytotec or any other labor inducing drug simply because her cervix hasn’t dilated BEFORE labor. These drugs come with some serious risks; risks that are far greater than the “risk” of going a few days past her due date.
Some risks of Pitocin include:
- Uterine Rupture. Especially if you are trying for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).
- Fetal distress. Babies do not like the stronger contractions synthetic oxytocin offers & this can cause babies to go into fetal distress. If this happens, the medicine will be turned off and your care provider will evaluate the situation. Because of the risk of fetal distress, you will be on a fetal monitor if synthetic oxytocin is used during labor.
- Long term consequences for your baby. Pitocin is a relatively new medication and long-term risks have not been evaluated. Some experts link the use of synthetic oxytocin with autism and Asperger’s syndrome.
I know we all trust our providers. We wouldn’t be with them (ideally) if we didn’t, but seriously ladies: know what is “normal” about pregnancy and birth. Know your options & know the risks. Stand up for your birth… & trust.your.body. Let’s try & reduce the amount of non-medically necessary inductions that are being performed in this country on a regular basis.
Want to learn more about Pitocin? Check out these great sources!
|Print article||This entry was posted by Julie Wannamaker on September 19, 2010 at 3:11 pm, and is filed under Uncategorized. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|