Natural Labor vs. Labor Induction: Many expectant mothers are faced with a choice of natural labor vs. induced labor. Sometimes induction is performed for medical reasons, to ensure the safety of both the mom and the baby. However, there has been a recent trend of induction for non-medical reasons. In the U.S. it is estimated that at least 1 in 5 births are induced. At the same time, it is estimated that only 3% of babies need to be induced for medical reasons.
Some reasons/complications that a labor induction may be medically recommended include:
Diabetes, Pre-eclampsia, Heparin shots, Growth problems with the baby, or if your water breaks before your body goes into labor.
Here are a couple of reasons that an induction may be considered, but might not be needed medically if:
- You are overdue (at around 42 weeks the placenta stops being effective, so an induction may be medically necessary at this point)
- Doctors feel that your baby is getting too big
- The mom is uncomfortable
- The parents or doctor want to choose the day and time of birth (convenience)
Being induced is far more likely to send your baby into distress, and you are much more likely to need a c-section if you are induced. Also, natural labor is healthier than induction, for both the mom and baby.
Every woman has a slightly different internal schedule as far as when their pregnancy ends, since labor begins at a different time for every woman. It is good to remember that in most cases, your body knows best when your baby should come. If you are considering induction without a solid reason, you may want to rethink your decision in order to protect the health of yourself, and your baby.
If you are considering a labor induction, think about the following stats:
- Important brain development happens during the last few weeks. At 35 weeks, the brain is only ⅔ of the total brain weight at 40 weeks.
- Full term babies have fewer health problems – they can eat easier and can regulate their temperature better.
- Labor induction doubles your chances for needing a c-section.
However, if you and your doctor feel that a labor induction is needed (especially for medical reasons), don’t feel as though you have let your baby down. Pitocin is a common drug used for labor induction, and there are usually no side effects from using it. If your baby gets too much pitocin, then severe complications can occur. The benefits though usually outweigh the risks in certain situations. Before an induction takes place, an amniocentesis may be performed. It ensures that the lungs are developed to the point that they need to be so that the baby can breathe on his/her own. This is routine if the baby will be coming more than a week or two before the due date.
It is important to make decisions about induction ahead of time so that you know when to wait, and when to induce. By preparing yourself, you won’t have to make so many hard decisions after you are already in the hospital!