You know the deal. You’re 39, 40, or 41 weeks pregnant and everyone has one question for you: when are you booked for an induction?
Your care provider tells you if the baby hasn’t come in the next week, an induction will be booked, just in case.
How To Deal With Pressure To Induce Labor
You’ve heard about inductions and you’re not keen on having one – unless it is absolutely necessary.
You and your baby are perfectly healthy and happy.
Yet everyone seems to think your baby isn’t going to come out without an induction.
How do you deal with the pressure to induce labor? Here are 6 things to consider:
Pressure To Induce Labor #1: Why The Need To Induce?
This is the first and most important question to ask. If your care provider suggests induction will be necessary at a certain gestation, ask why?
If there is absolutely no medical reason for induction, it is safe to take your care provider’s suggestion as exactly that – and decline.
The recommendations for induction of labor issued by the World Health Organization state: ‘Induction of labor should be performed only when there is a clear medical indication for it and the expected benefits outweigh its potential harms’.
Even so, in 2013 the Listening To Mothers Survey III discovered more than 1 in 4 women in the United States said their care providers tried to induce labor.
Of the 25% of women who were induced, almost half of the inductions were done for a non-medical reason.
For more information, read 8 Reasons Not To Induce Labor.
Pressure To Induce Labor #2. Who’s The Boss?
It’s your care provider’s role to help you make an informed decision about being induced. It is not your care provider’s role to decide for you.
As the pregnant woman, you are invested with the responsibility for making the best decisions for your baby’s health, and yours.
Your care provider is there to support you, but you are the key decision-maker in your pregnancy and birth care.
If you are being pressured to have an induction for a non-medical reason, remind your care provider that you are entitled to make an informed decision, and coercion into care is against the law.
For some help with making informed decisions, read The Question All Pregnant And New Mothers Should Ask Their Care Providers.
Pressure To Induce Labor #3: Just A Little Nudge
Your care provider has suggested an induction and you’re feeling stressed – and let’s face it, you’re already pretty much over the whole pregnancy thing as it is.
But you don’t want to be induced. It sounds painful and you really want to try for as natural a birth as possible.
Then your care provider offers you a solution – a compromise. Perhaps a stretch and sweep, breaking your waters, or just a gel.
These options seem to be low risk and easy, but they all carry their own risks and potential complications.
There are no guarantees these methods will work, and it might mean you’ll need more interventions to get labor started properly, which increases your risk of assisted or surgical birth.
Want to know more? Check out Why All Inductions Are Not The Same – 5 Induction Methods and Natural Labor vs Induced Labor – 6 Main Differences
Pressure To Induce Labor #4: What Are The Alternatives?
It’s easy to be seduced into thinking your baby is ready to be born by your due date. It’s also very stressful to hear your care provider talk about big babies or stillbirth.
In both cases, it’s a question of introducing problems that might not exist. Both you and your baby are being exposed to risks of complications that can have short and long-term consequences.
If there is no medical necessity to induce, there is always an alternative. You can choose to have expectant management, which means waiting for labor to begin on its own.
Your care provider might suggest you have continuous monitoring (CTG) of your baby, to check on your baby’s wellbeing. It might be done in conjunction with a scan, to check the placental flow.
Again, it’s up to you. You might like to have this to help reinforce your choice or to give you peace of mind.
Remember, though, that the CTG is open to interpretation and is another intervention tool.
For more information, check out What Causes Labor To Start?
Pressure To Induce Labor #5: Don’t Be Tempted To Induce Naturally
It’s really tempting to start checking out ways to get labor started naturally.
Perhaps your sister ate a spicy curry and had her baby the next day. Maybe a neighbor swears by going for long walks, and a friend suggests getting on your birth ball and bouncing.
Sure, all these suggestions for kicking off labor naturally seem harmless. If you were facing an induction for medical reasons and had some time, they might be worth considering.
But trying to force your body to go into labor before it, and your baby, are ready doesn’t take into consideration three important facts.
- Your baby knows when to be born.
- Your body knows when to respond to your baby’s signal that it is time
- You’re not going to stay pregnant forever.
In the weeks and days leading up to labor, your body is already undergoing changes. Labor is a complex process of hormones orchestrating a simple action.
Just because this process can’t be seen, we tend to think something has failed if labor doesn’t begin by the end of the day we are due.
Find out what happened when a first-time, 41-week pregnant mother was told by her doctor ‘if her body knew how to give birth it would have.
Pressure To Induce Labor #6. Relax
Oh no, not the dreaded R-word! At the end of a pregnancy, not too many women appreciate being told to relax.
There isn’t anything relaxing about waddling around with a big belly, not being able to sleep properly, and having to get up numerous times during the night to pee.
But labor is all about hormones. When labor begins, a hormone called oxytocin is released to stimulate contractions.
And it’s the things that make us feel good, safe, and supported that help promote oxytocin release.
Find out more in Undisturbed Labor – What Is It And Why Aim For One?
If we’re feeling stressed and pressured, our bodies release stress hormones, including adrenaline. Stress hormones have a counter effect on oxytocin, slowing down the release of oxytocin, and slowing down labor.
If you’re under pressure to be induced, you might be experiencing quite a lot of stress. That means your body is working against itself.
Labor might be imminent – perhaps only a day or a week away. Living in a state of stress will most likely slow down the process of oxytocin being released to do its job, which is to get contractions going.
Although relaxing is easier said than done, at this stage, it really is the best thing you can do.
Choose to trust your baby and your body, if all is well with you both. Your baby doesn’t need induction to be born.