Take a Page from the Book: Induction

book say about induction.pngThe 3rd edition of the Lamaze book, Giving Birth with Confidencehas everything you need to help support and inform you throughout pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and postpartum (check out our full review here!). Since the book's re-release earlier this year, we've been sharing little snapshots of what's inside -- you can view all the posts in this series here. This month, we're talking about induction, which becomes an especially hot topic around the holiday season. Lamaze supports the use of induction when it's medically indicated. However, what we see too much of in the United States is induction that's used for convenience, and for reasons that are not supported by best medical evidence and research. Here is what the Giving Birth with Confidence book says about induction:


Medical Reasons for Induction

(Excerpted from Giving Birth with Confidence, 3rd Edition, by Judith Lothian, RN, PhD, LCCE, FACCE, FAAN, and Charlotte DeVries)

"The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) believes labor should be induced only when it's riskier for baby to stay in the uterus than to be born. This is true when the water breaks and labor doesn't begin, when pregnancy has reached forty-two weeks, when mother's blood pressure is high and can't be controlled by medication and bed rest, when mother has health problems (like diabetes) that can't be controlled and could harm her baby, when mother has a uterine infection, or when baby has a growth problem."

How to Avoid Unnecessary Use of Induction

(Excerpted from Giving Birth with Confidence, 3rd Edition, by Judith Lothian, RN, PhD, LCCE, FACCE, FAAN, and Charlotte DeVries)

  • Be patient waiting for labor to begin and to progress.
  • Remember that your body knows how to give birth.
  • Surround yourself with helpers who trust birth.
  • Stay confident.
  • Use all the comfort measures you've learned.
  • Don't agree to be induced because your caregiver says your baby is getting too big.
  • Don't agree to be induced just because you have reached thirty-nine weeks gestation. 
  • If your water breaks before contractions start, or if you're approaching forty-two weeks, discuss with your caregiver natural ways to stimulate contractions, such as drinking a bit of castor oil in juice, lovemaking (before your water breaks), stimulating your nipples, acupuncture, and being active.
  • Ask "What if I wait?" if your caregiver is insistent about inducing labor.

A Personal Story About Induction

(Excerpted from Giving Birth with Confidence, 3rd Edition, by Judith Lothian, RN, PhD, LCCE, FACCE, FAAN, and Charlotte DeVries)


I developed gestational diabetes, and at thirty-seven weeks my doctor started talking about inducing if I didn't go into labor in the next week or so. I asked why, and she told me that she always worried about being late with gestational diabetes.

I looked at the information in the Cochrane Library and talked to my aunt, who's a childbirth educator. I knew my baby wasn't in danger, and neither was I.

But I felt so pressured by my doctor. I didn't want a medical induction. I wanted to go into labor naturally. I asked her what would happen if we just waited. She told me that my baby might be too big if we waited until my due date, and then I would need a cesarean. 

Again, I researched and found this wasn't true. I asked my doula if she had ideas for encouraging labor to start naturally. At her suggestion, over the next two weeks I did visualization and went twice a week for acupuncture. 

At thirty-nine weeks I went into labor on my own. I arrived at the hospital eight centimeters dilated after three hours of labor. And my baby was seven pounds!


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