As we inch closer to two of the most widely celebrated holidays in the United States, we're also creeping into what could also be called the season for induction. While induction can happen any time of the year, statistically speaking, there is an increase in the number of scheduled inductions around major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. And while it's true that being due on or around a major holiday can complicate life, choosing an induction to avoid giving birth on the holiday could result in additional, unintended complications and long-lasting consequences.
The Lamaze infographic "The Straight Scoop on Inductions" presents straightforward, key information on induction along with important questions to ask your care provider. Let's take a closer look in this week's "Lamaze infographic breakdown":
1 in 4! I bet if you think about it, you can recall at least three people in your circle who were induced, whether family or friends. It's true that induction is common, but just because a procedure is common doesn't mean it's without risks or is "easy." What do you know about the births of friends or family members who were induced? Would they make the same choice again? Is it what they expected? Not everyone has a negative experience with induction, but it's important to note that not everyone tolerates induction the same, and it's impossible to accurately predict how induction will affect you.
Here's the kicker: many inductions take place without medical indication. In other words, there is no reason from a medical standpoint (either for health of baby or mother) to artificially start labor. Medical reasons for induction are:
- Few signs of labor by 42 weeks of pregnancy (best determined from a first trimester ultrasound dating, not a third trimester ultrasound)
- Medical disease that is not responding to treatment
- Certain medical conditions like high blood pressure and too much protein in the urine (preeclampsia and related conditions)
- Your water has broken, labor has not started on its own, and you are positive for Group B Strep
- You have a uterine infection
- Your baby’s growth has been slow for his or her age
A baby that is feared to be too big is not a medical reason for induction, and cannot, in fact, be accurately determined in pregnancy.
So what's the big deal with getting induced? Actually, a lot. See above. In addition to the medical concerns, there are other issues surrounding your birth experience that may impact you in the short and long term. Induced labors tend to be longer, require more medical interventions, and have a higher chance of ending in cesarean. In terms of risks vs. rewards, there is a lot to consider when thinking about an induction to avoid a holiday.
Holiday stress isn't the only reason some moms feel pressure to induce -- sometimes it comes from care providers and family members, too. Ultimately, however, you get to decide what's best for you and your baby. If you have a hard time convincing family members, share this post along with other credible resources on the importance of waiting for labor to begin on its own.
It's important to talk to your care provider further about induction. Take these questions to get the conversation started.
Want to learn how to make the best decisions for your care in pregnancy and birth? Follow these three simple, sure-fire steps to become an informed and empowered consumer and get the best care!