Labor Induction: What It Is, and What It Should Not Be

Pregnant Woman

Overheard the other day at the pool:
Lady, “My sister is being induced tomorrow.”
Guy, “Why in the world would she want to be induced?”
Lady, “So she can plan when her baby will be born. Duh.”
Guy, “That’s so messed up! Shouldn’t her baby come when it’s ready?”
Lady, “Well, that could be really inconvenient to people.”

This is an actual conversation, and it is similar to many conversations that people have when pregnancy is involved. For thousands of years, babies came when they came. Once a woman went into labor, it was time for the baby to make its entrance into the world. Until labor began, it was not time.

However, we live in a very different world than even 30 years ago, and with “advancements” in medical sciences, it seems that almost anything is possible – even choosing your child’s birthday.

While labor induction is an interventional approach that doctors can use to stimulate uterine contractions to initiate labor before it naturally occurs, it is not a procedure that should be done out of convenience.

The Risk of Inducing Labor Without Medical Cause

Any woman who has ever been pregnant full-term can tell you how miserable the last few weeks of pregnancy can feel. Women often beg their doctors for labor induction to end their discomfort. Labor induction can indeed be safely and successfully done. Yet, there is also a significant risk to stimulating birth before it naturally occurs if there is no medical reason to do so.

Elective labor induction can pose the following risks for both mother and baby:

  • Higher chance of prematurity and jaundice
  • Increased risk of NICU admittance
  • Low heart rate
  • Umbilical cord complications
  • Uterine rupture
  • C-section
  • Bleeding after delivery
  • Developmental conditions in the baby

When Labor Induction is Necessary

Advancements in medicine have truly saved countless lives, and they are to be commended. However, when it comes to medical intervention to induce labor, the health of both the mother and baby will be considered first. If it is not medically necessary, hold tight to the fact that your baby is growing healthier and stronger every day.

Several situations in which the benefits of labor induction outweigh the risks include:

  • Low amniotic fluid
  • High blood pressure (pre-eclampsia)
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Decreased fetal movement
  • Broken water bag when not in labor
  • Small birth canal that will not accommodate normal labor or birth
  • Beyond 41 weeks of pregnancy (known as post-date induction)

Trusted Obstetricians

The experienced obstetricians at Marietta OB/GYN Affiliates, P.A., provide complete obstetrical care for women in Acworth, Marietta, and the surrounding areas. We offer comprehensive pregnancy management, including the care of high-risk patients. Our team of doctors and nurses know that you are anxious to meet your baby and feel very uncomfortable. However, the health and safety of you and your baby are our highest priority. If labor induction is medically necessary, you can trust that you will receive the greatest care at our practice.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Carlos Alarcon, Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A.