With induction rates on the rise and many obstetricians recommending inducing at 39 weeks thanks to the ‘arrive study’*, I thought I would do some digging to find out exactly what induced mothers wish they had have known before being induced.
*The arrive study found that being induced at 39w did not improve the primary outcome of death or serious complications for babies, but did find that it lowered the chances of caesarean, giving OBs ammunition to be recommending induction for no particular health reason.
Choosing to be induced should not be a decision made lightly. There are many risks involved and it can affect your postpartum recovery and breastfeeding journey. There are many links between artificial oxytocin (sintocinon/Pitocin) and postpartum depression and anxiety, breastfeeding outcomes and bonding with bub.
An induction should only be performed when the risk of not inducing is higher than the risks involved in inducing, and morally, it should only be offered by your care provider then. And even then, it is still up to you to weigh up those risks. You can refuse induction if you wish to!
So if your care provider has whispered those words to you, or even if you feel like you are getting over being pregnant and just want to meet the little one already, have a read on, and get informed before handing your labour over to be managed by someone else.
“Inducing labour involves making your body/baby do something it’s not yet ready to do. Before agreeing to be induced, be prepared for the entire package, i.e. all the steps. You may be lucky enough to skip one step, but once you start the induction process, you are committed to doing whatever it takes to get the baby out, because by agreeing to induce, you are saying that you or your baby are in danger if the pregnancy continues. An induced labour is not a physiological labour, and you and your baby will be treated as high risk — because you are.” — Doctor Rachel Reed
Of the group of women I spoke to most weren’t fully informed of the risks and benefits, only the risks to the baby if not induced. Most weren’t informed of the actual process and were only told by the midwife on the day whilst it was happening.
Some were told that their only options were induction or c-section and did not seek or know that they could seek a second opinion.
Some wanted to know that they could have waited longer in their gestation to be induced and that ultimately they did not know what they did not know, and therefore didn’t know what to ask their care providers. In conclusion that possibly having a doula there for support would have meant they were more informed and empowered to request more time, second opinions, find out about the procedure and ask questions.
So before making the decision to be induced, ask your care providers the following questions to get clear on why, how and what is going to happen.
- Why Do I Need an Induction of Labor?
- Is it necessary?
- Are There Other Alternatives, Including Waiting?
- What does it involve?
- What Percentage of Mothers in Your Practice Get Induced / c-sections?
- How Will an Induction Change My Birth Plans?
- What risks to my baby, to me and into the future?
- Will I be able to move around?
- What pain relief can I have?
- How late in the procedure is too late to change my mind?
- Can I get a second/third opinion?
Let me be clear in that I am not anti-induction and believe sometimes it is medically necessary. I am anti, women not being told the full story, all of their options and rights and being coerced into induction which then potentially leads to poorer outcomes for bub in the future.
Hopefully, with these questions, you now feel empowered to find out all of the information in regard to YOUR labour and body and can make an informed decision.
Good luck mama, I know you'll choose the path that's right for you!
*photo credit Emma Furner, used with her permission