What do you think about Elective Labor Inductions?

Rachel - posted on 03/08/2011 ( 30 moms have responded )

249

51

61

I'm wondering what everyone thinks about this topic: How far into a pregnancy should you be induced, and why? Do you believe women should always have the choice? Should it always be the doctors decision? What circumstances would you have one or be okay with having one?

Should this be an elective procedure regardless of medical reasons??

What do you think???

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Nadia - posted on 03/08/2011

152

19

13

After 39 weeks i can't see why any woman WOULDN"T want to meet their baby already! I was 6 days late with my first and went into labour naturally, but with my second i was induced after 7 days late and was soooo glad! i was so uncomfortable and swollen! however, having done it both ways, i found the induction was very hard... like my body fought labour the whole time. but i say any time after 39 weeks the mom should be able to choose if she wants to get things rolling.

Johnny - posted on 03/08/2011

8,686

26

322

I generally think that there should be a medical reason for any sort of medical intervention. Each intervention carries risks so it is foolhardy to do it just for the hell of it. I would be fine with it if there were good medical reasons for having one, although I'd prefer to avoid one if at all possible. I was not induced to start my labor the last time, but I was stalled at 5 cm for 24 hours so they induced me then. My blood pressure had gone way up and it was medically necessary. It was obvious, my doctor was clearly following best practices, and I wanted to keep myself and my child healthy.

No, I don't think women should always have the choice. Some people are just selfish dumbasses and would choose to do it way too early because they want to be done, or not get too many stretch marks, or they've got something else planned, or they're impatient to see the baby or whatever other idiotic reason. And some would hold off past the point of safety because they didn't want any medical interventions despite there being strong signals that they were necessary. If a woman is not happy with her doctor's recommendations, she should be free to seek other opinions though. Doctors can be just as selfish and fallible as expectant moms.

Laura - posted on 03/09/2011

698

59

56

Baby 2 and 3 were induced. #3 was just 4 weeks ago and that was because I had GD so we induced at 39 weeks (my hospital won't induce before that) Baby #2 was induced on his due date for personal reasons. Both labors were faster and easier than my first. This last on was awesome actually, he was bigger than my other two and my easiest labor by far. I know others have had issues with getting induced but it was a great choice for me, if I wasn't I probably would have had to have a C-section.

I think it is something that the woman and doctor need to talk about together and come together with an informed decision.

Ez - posted on 03/08/2011

6,569

25

237

The risks of induction are greatly downplayed or ignored in most circles. Pitocin is the devil, and why anyone would choose to inflict that on themselves and their baby is beyond me.

In saying that, of course there are cases where medical need indicates it as the best course of action (like Jennifer's Pre-E).

As with anything pregnancy and birth related, it should be a joint decision between the mother and her caregiver. The woman who demands an elective induction at 37 weeks is clearly uneducated and ill-informed, and it the doctor's responsibility to set her straight. Similarly, the doctor who pushes for an induction at 39 weeks (using any number of scare tactics - baby is too big, fluid too low, placenta magically stops working at 40 weeks) because it suits his schedule is clearly not acting in the best interest of his patient and should be told as much.

I was booked for induction at 41+4wks, but went into spontaneous labour the day before. I was lucky to have had a doctor who was up front with me about the risks of induction on an unfavourable cervix, so my induction wasn't even booked until I was found to be 4cm with a bulging bag of waters. Not all doctors treat induction as the last resort that mine did. In fact, I would go so far as to say most don't. Which is what leads to this pervasive idea that induction is no big deal. When in fact it is a major intervention that can have some pretty major negative outcomes for both mother and baby.

Bonnie - posted on 03/08/2011

4,813

22

262

I was induced with my second child at 37 weeks for medical reasons. I think if an induction is being done for medical reasons or because the baby's life is at risk then of course go ahead with it. If it's just because (maybe the mother wants her baby born on a specific day), not so much, I don't see the point in it.

I think it should be the doctor's choice, but he or she should also talk with the parents about it and then it should be up to them in the end.

30 Comments

View replies by

[deleted account]

I think inductions should only be done for medical reasons, I think it is incredibly selfish to opt to have an induction for any other reasons - even if the dad is being deployed because if the baby has not decided to make an appearance it is not ready to yet and should not be forced before 41 weeks.



I was induced at 37 weeks (I'm pleased to say I got that far) due to Pre-E, my health had taken a huge turn for the worse and although the doctors were concerned for my baby he was very healthy although small, they were more concerned for me as I was really really ill. They had held me off since 34 weeks and couldn't hold off any more. If I had a choice I would have gone to 40 weeks (40+ if I had to) rather than be induced, although for me it wasn't really a bad experience, my labour was only 45 minutes long, but it was an incredibly painful for 45 minutes :-)

[deleted account]

On my first baby, i had antibodies as i am reshus neg.I would of had no choice if the levels had of got highter i would of been induced at the 8th mth.Thankfully it never happened
She was full term.:-).So other than a medical reason no way.Labour comes on fast in some cases and baby can become distressed.It has lead to many a c-section also.

Mel - posted on 03/09/2011

5,539

58

228

I dont know what drug was used for me, but I do know that contractions only come on strong if the hospital are in a rush to get you out of there and give you too much, which is really common. The hospital I went to did everything nice and slow and only bumped up the dose every hour

Rachel - posted on 03/09/2011

249

51

61

I just wanted to add as well that in the States and a few years back Oxytocin is what was used so a lot of statistics are based on that being used not pitocin (which is said to me much safer) Although our bodies naturally produce ocytocin its what I've read is responsible for the babys heart rate to jump etc. Just a thought as well as i've been doing a LOT of research and reading on this lol Its a huge topic!
Also- foudn out today a lot fo my problems may be due to gallbladder stones (gallstones) has anyoen every been induced because of that? my doctor said it depends on if i need surgery asap or if simply having the relief of delivering the baby could eliviate the pain and sickness etc (which are posing risks to my baby at this point-37 weeks today)

Bondlets - posted on 03/09/2011

178

0

23

Honestly, I think elective induction for anything other than a valid medical reason is selfish and should not be done. Inducing to get a certain calendar day or for the convenience of one's schedule, for example, are not valid reasons. Inducing because one is tired of being pg and uncomfortable is not a valid reason. No, women should not have the choice and doctors should not offer it (that includes stripping membranes). If anything I wish more doctors would educate their patients about the risks involved, particularly to first-time moms who are less than 40 weeks.



As for when inductions should be done (medically necessary ones, that is), I'd aim for as close to 40 weeks as possible for btdt moms, after 40 weeks for first-time moms. It's hard, though, to put a timeframe because it would depend on the medical reason; a mom who has a history of extremely large babies and who had difficulty delivering those babies may not want to wait until 40 weeks!



The only nonmedical reason I would support would be if the husband was going to be gone (ie: deployed). Other than that, let baby bake and let your body choose the birth date.



ETA: I have an issue with the 39 week mark as being OK with inducing. A higher percentage of first-time moms go to 40 weeks or beyond so inducing before then is pushing their body to do what it is not yet ready to do. 40 weeks is "full term", really. One's baby may be full term at 36 weeks as far as body size, etc. but the lungs may not be fully developed even at 37 weeks. Inducing is not something to mess around with and I wish more women (and doctors) would realize that.

[deleted account]

Yeah Bonnie, when my mom was induced... I was born in 20 minutes!! (not sure if it was pit though... it WAS 34 years ago)

Maybe the pit is why baby B's heartrate went up then.... I still think it was the right choice as she was lodged in my ribs and w/out doing things the way they were done.. I worry that she may have died (for other reasons as well).

Rachel - posted on 03/09/2011

249

51

61

Erin- my first born, a girl, was a long lean baby at 21.5 inches and 6 lbs 6 ounces so i dont think this baby is going to even cme close to 8 lbs. the doctor said he'S worried that if i reach the 8 lbs mark that the pregnancy would put mein awheelchair etc due to the babys spine bein against mine which could trigger spince to twist (it sometimes twists and pinches a nerve causing me to lose feeling in the left side of my body due to a prior injury. On top of that, the general discomfort for the sciatic nerve pain. But i spoke to my doctor this morning about waiting so if we are going to try anything before 39-41 weeks, it will only be a cervix softening method rather than pitocin. so we shall see. a few weeks of discomfort is worth it for my child i just dont wanna end up in a c-section anyways just because i refused the option of induction. (also im finally on my mat leave so i dont have as much to do but taking care of a 2 yr old isnt easy while having so many issues :S Thanks for the advice everyone!

Bonnie - posted on 03/09/2011

4,813

22

262

Teresa, I have heard of many cases where pitocin does nothing to get the labour going. I must have been lucky. Within less than an hour of getting pitocin, contractions started and they came on strong. My son was born within 4.5 hours.

Amy - posted on 03/09/2011

4,793

17

376

Didn't read everyone else's. I don't think the doctor should be the sole decider on inductions. most of them just want baby out for the weekend or to get around holidays, etc. Not all docs are good ones. Unless there is a medical necessity to induce, i think it's selfish. babies need to be in there so long for a reason. Also, was just researching pitocin - main way they induce. scary.

April - posted on 03/09/2011

3,420

16

263

I agree with Tara,100%. I would also like to add that inducing with pitocin interferes with a baby's natural ability to bring his or her own heart rate down in utero, when stressed by labor. I've heard many times of women on pitocin that had c sections because the doctor didn't like the baby's heart rate (had she not been induced, she may have been able to avoid that section)

Tara - posted on 03/09/2011

2,567

14

114

You were lucky Melissa, and a lot of women are. But it's not because of anything you did, your body responded well to an artificial induction of labour. A lot of women do not respond so well.
Many many women end up with an epidural despite not having wanted one, many women end up being told they are not progressing fast enough and a section is inevitable if they don't hurry up!
So.. I'm glad everything worked out for you, but it's not that way for every woman, nor for most women.

Mel - posted on 03/09/2011

5,539

58

228

@ Tara my experience with an induction was much better then first time around...I thought it was great after being told many horror stories about it being more intense and painful etc. I was out of hospital within a few hours and shopping the next day

Tara - posted on 03/09/2011

2,567

14

114

A medically necessary induction is one thing, but mom or doctor wanting birthing time to be convenient etc. is not a good enough reason.
Inductions are not without problems, often when a labour starts through an intervention such as an induction, more interventions are usually to follow.
More c-sections are performed on women who were induced than those who went into labour naturally.
The mechanisms that trigger natural labour are still relatively unknown to medical science in their entirety.
Baby's hormones, moms hormones, decrease in placental functioning, increase in certain hormones etc. al contribute to a natural labour.
When we start messing around with nature for no medical reason, we are risking many many potential problems that could be avoided if we wait for nature to do its thing.
I was induced with # 3 at 5 days past my due date (which I had insisted was wrong to begin with).
My doc was leaving to go skiing in Vale on March 11, she was due on March 5, so he induced on the 10th, telling me my baby was too big to fit through my pelvis, telling me she was probably more overdue than we thought.. etc. etc.
He used a gel on my cervix as I refused a pic. drip.
That was enough for me, as my cervix was already ripe and soft.
BUT it was the most awful labour and delivery of all six kids born naturally and without interventions.
She was also only 6 lb 6 ounces. Which is small for my babies.
The nurses pegged her at about 37 weeks, not almost 41 as he stated.
So no I don't agree with elective inductions. There are too many risks involved. Most women are not told about the risks of ending up with a section, epidural, episiotomy etc. they are never told their risks of having other interventions goes up as soon as they elect to be induced.
I think if more women were told about the risks, less women would opt for the induction.

Mel - posted on 03/09/2011

5,539

58

228

If the baby's too big or if theres other medical issues. Alot of my friends had to be induced early at 37 weeks, some at 36 due to GD. If you are are more then 7 days over you should be induced because many babies die because there is no room and their doctors have left them with inducing its really sad. I was induced 8 days over. Wish Id done it earlier right on my due date. I asked for a sweep at 39 weeks and did everything reccomended of me at the hospital except castor oil because it scares the hell out of me lol

Ez - posted on 03/08/2011

6,569

25

237

Ahh ok. Given that information, I would seriously be considering the induction. How big was your first baby? Is there genuine reason to be concerned this one is going to be large?

There are some natural induction methods you could try, but they will really only work if your body has already started getting ready. Things like Evening Primrose Oil (either orally or vaginally) can help soften and ripen the cervix. Then of course there's the old wives tales of spicy food, pineapple, RRL tea, sex etc. They're pretty hit and miss though.

Becky - posted on 03/08/2011

2,892

44

93

Personally, I would not be induced before 41 weeks unless it was medically necessary. With my first, it was. I was induced at 37 weeks because I had pre-E. It ended up being a very good thing, because it turned out he also was IUGR (inter-uterine growth restricted) and was quite small for his gestational age at only 5 lbs. 3 oz. Perfectly healthy, thank goodness, but who knows if he would have been if I hadn't been induced when I was. I was lucky that my induction went very smoothly and I never even had to have Pitocen or have my water broken. But I know that for a lot of women, it doesn't go that way! I lean towards feeling that inductions should only be done prior to 40 weeks for medical reasons, but, I knew a woman whose husband was in the army and only had a short window of leave and of course, she wanted to have the baby while he was home. In cases like that, the compassionate side of me says, let the woman have her elective induction - as long as it's 38/39 weeks or more.

Rachel - posted on 03/08/2011

249

51

61

Erin- ya i have a twist in my spine (deteriorated disks and shifted disks) so the doctors didnt want to do an epidural originally either and it went in crooked and i felt everything on my right side the whole time anyways. something about the curvature of my spine they said that makes it hard to administer the epidural. The doctor said if the baby gets too big that i could hurt my back permanently by trying to deliver again (after my last delivery i had a few days where i was in excrutiating pain- worse than labour or anything ive ever known!) So im scared of that. I dont want an induction, id love him to just come early on his own so i dont have to be hooked up to any monitors or have an iv etc but i dunno if i should let the doctor induce me just to be safe of worse complications since at 37 weeks im *full-term* technically :S hence all the questions, im stuck on what to do.

Any recommendations for inducing at home naturally?? maybe i can help him along so i dont have to go through a long labour again!

[deleted account]

3-4 hours (I think) of pitocin did absolutely nothing to me or for me. I know that's not the case for many (by reading comments on here), but they might as well have been sticking water in my IV for all the help that stuff did...

Ez - posted on 03/08/2011

6,569

25

237

Rachel, if you have a pre-existing condition (chronic back problems) that will compromise your ability to carry to and deliver at full term, then I don't really see an induction as 'elective' (although I guess technically it is). If you're just talking about general late-term pregnancy discomfort, that wouldn't be a good enough reason to induce if it was me.

Sarah - posted on 03/08/2011

1,499

10

41

I say whatever makes the woman happy [as long as it's at least 39 weeks...or earlier if it's medically necessary.] I was induced at 39 weeks 5 days & everything went great with my labor and delivery. Although, I think for my next baby I want to go into labor naturally.

Rachel - posted on 03/08/2011

249

51

61

myself, i am currently 37 weeks and my doctor is wanting to talk about an induction at 38 weeks. With ym first born i had many pre-term labour episodes between 27-34 weeks which they managed to stop the contractions. i was on bed rest and miserable! i ended up having trouble going into labour after all of that and went into labour on my due date but it slowed down 16 hrs in and they gave me pitocin to speed things up. I didnt find the contractions that bad, nothing bothered me other than not being able to eat!! i was in labour for a total of 21 hrs at the hospital, 5 hours at home (26 hrs) and after the 16 hrs at the hospital is when the pitocin started. at the 20th hr in the hospital (25 hrs total) i was told they were debating ac-section so i would need the spinal tap or i could try an epidural. So i took the epidural desperate for a natural ir at least vaginal delivery. had my epidural at 8:30, ready to push at 9, and my daughter was born at 9:09!! i only got what comes in the needle and tube, they never got the medication hooked up to the pump/bag lol i guess i just needed to relax so im glad they used the pitocin or who knows how long i would've been there!!!
Now im just not sure if i should have the induction earlier or try to see what happens. i have also ha pre-term labour issues thsi time, just not as many issues.
doctors reasons for inducing me this time are fearing my labour will be like last time, the baby has been on my sciatic nerve and caused me to pull muscles recently (lowering my ability to excersize) i am larger than with my first and i have spinal issues that could make it very painful or not possible to deliver vaginally if my baby gets much larger

Medic - posted on 03/08/2011

3,922

19

552

I was induced with both of my kids at exactly 36 weeks... both for pre-eclampsia. I was in the hospital for over a week before hand with each for them to attempt to control my BP. I do not think that it should be an elective lets have the baby on this random day kind of thing.

[deleted account]

I think each case is far too varied to give a blanket 'this is ok, but this isn't' statement.

My induction (at 37 weeks) technically wasn't 'medically neccessary', but w/ all my extenuating circumstances.... it WAS needed and most certainly was the right choice.

On the other end of the spectrum was my mom's induction w/ me. She did not want it and she KNEW it was too early, but the doctor insisted so he could go on vacation..... :(

Krista - posted on 03/08/2011

12,562

16

847

I don't know why any woman would WANT to be induced, frankly. It's 20 pounds of hell stuffed into a 5 pound bag.

As a general rule, I think it's best to avoid any sort of interventions unless they're medically necessary.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms