saying "no" to elective induction

i just came across a great article called "saying 'no' to induction." what a read! PLEASE read it!

here are some excerpts that i really liked:

"Women are between a rock and a hard place. It is so easy to be seduced into believing that the baby is ready for birth. It is also frightening to hear the physician talk about a too-large baby or a possible medical problem. In the first instance, potential problems are brushed aside; in the second instance, problems are suggested where none are likely to exist. In both cases, pregnant women do not have the full information required for making a truly informed decision.

"To make an informed decision—either informed consent or informed refusal—women need to know the value of waiting for labor to start on its own. The last days and weeks of pregnancy are vitally important for both the mother and her baby. The end of pregnancy is as miraculous as its beginning. It's a lot easier to say “no” to induction if the mother knows the essential and amazing things that are happening to prepare her body and her baby for birth."

"Induction of labor alters the process of labor and birth in significant ways. The cervix often needs to be softened before pitocin (synthetic oxytocin) will be effective. Pitocin causes contractions that both peak and become stronger more quickly than naturally occurring contractions. The result is a labor that is more difficult to manage. In addition, the uterine muscle never totally relaxes between contractions, increasing stress on both the uterus and the baby. Because of the increased potential risks for the uterus and the baby, continuous electronic fetal monitoring is indicated. The fetal monitor and intravenous line make movement more difficult. The hormonal orchestration of labor is disrupted. Pitocin does not cross the blood-brain barrier; therefore, endorphins are not released in response to the increasingly strong and painful uterine contractions. Laboring women do not experience the benefits of endorphins as they try to manage their contractions. Additionally, without the help of endorphins, they are likely to require an epidural. The epidural alters the course of labor, prolonging the length of both first- and second-stage labor and increasing the need for the use of instruments at birth. Without high levels of naturally occurring oxytocin and endorphins, catecholamine levels do not surge at the time of birth, and the mother and her baby are less alert and able to interact in the moments after birth."

"Nature is not perfect. However, when it comes to babies and birth, unless there is a clear medical indication that induction of labor will do more good than harm, nature beats science hands down. For both mothers and babies, it is safe and wise to wait patiently until labor begins on its own.

"In our childbirth education classes, it would be wonderful if we could help women reframe the last days and weeks of pregnancy and begin to look on this time as important for their babies and for themselves. As each day passes—even if the days are well past the due date—what if pregnant women delighted in the steady maturing of their baby and appreciated the slow preparation of their body for labor? We can help women to think of this time as important psychologically and emotionally, as well as physically, providing an opportunity to rest, to think, and to complete the final preparations for the baby. At a time when we are most likely to meet women, we can also help them approach the end of pregnancy in wonder at the beauty and wisdom of nature's plan."

"Saying “no” to induction and to other interventions that are becoming routine takes courage and confidence, as well as the knowledge that women have the right to informed refusal. What women learn from you about nature's plan for labor and birth, including the beauty of waiting for labor to start on its own and the risks of interfering without clear medical indication, will insure that the women you teach will have the information they need to confidently say “no” to routine induction."

elective inductions are, sadly, on the rise. how many women do you know (or perhaps, you yourself) has had labor induced for a non-medical reason? yes, when you are 40 weeks pregnant (or "over" due) you just want your baby out! but knowing that your baby is still inside you for a reason can really help. i know several women who have had their labors induced for various reasons (and by all means, if there truly is a medical need -which one of my friends was in that category - induce labor and make sure mom and baby are safe! if there is not a medical need, trust in your body and let your body do what it was made to do!). one of my friends had her labor induced because her baby would be "too big." guess how big her baby was? 7 pounds. not too big at all. thankfully her induction went well and did not end in an "emergency" c-section, but the doctor was not right at all about the baby being too big thing (which is often the case). plus, your body is not going to grow a baby that is too big to come out...that would be counter productive!

at the end of my first pregnancy, i just wanted my baby to come! i was so excited for him and tired of being pregnant. although at the beginning of my pregnancy i was adamant about not being induced, as my due date approached i was much more willing to be induced because i was so anxious for him to come! the only reason i was against being induced was because i had heard how much harder labor is when it's induced and i just really wanted everything to happen on its own. i didn't even know how important each week and day is for the baby's growth and development. the second time i got pregnant, because i had gained much more knowledge on just how important it is for the baby to be as near 40 weeks as possible and to let nature run its course, i told my husband to remind me what i knew as my due date approached. i can honestly say that that change in perspective and attitude helped me tremendously. instead of focusing on how much i wanted my baby out or how much i wanted to just sleep on my stomach (!), i focused on how good it was for her to be growing inside me and trusted that my body would know when it is time.

gain all the knowledge you can - knowledge is power! and trust in your body - your baby will come when it is time. you are beautiful and your body is miraculous! now i'll step down from my soapbox. :)