- Your due date is just an estimate. The estimated due date (EDD) can be off by 2 weeks
before and/or after the date you were given. If ultrasound was used to determine your due date, after 22 weeks, it becomes less, and less, and less accurate in predicting due dates and size of your baby. So if you induce your labor, you are risking giving birth to a premature baby, or one who is not ready for life outside the womb. Your baby may end up in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for breathing problems. Your baby’s lungs may not be ready and your baby may need medication and other interventions to help them adjust.
- Your induced labor has a 50-60% chance of ending in an unplanned Cesarean section. Inductions frequently fail because mothers’ bodies are not ready for labor and do not respond to the medication that stimulates labor contractions.
- Labor will be longer and more painful if your labor is induced for the same reason as above. But also you must be hooked up to an IV, and electronic fetal monitor, and confined to bed. The possibility of standing, changing positions, and moving around to find comfort measure in labor and help your labor progress will “go right out the window”.
- If your labor is induced using cervical ripening gels, you have a risk of infection to you or to your baby, risk of uterine rupture, and, again, a 50% chance of an unplanned Cesarean section. If Misoprostol is used to stimulate contractions, there is a risk of tetanic contractions and that means, putting your baby at risk of fetal distress.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that a late term pregnancy is 41+ weeks and a post-term pregnancy is 42 weeks. So if your OB wants to induce your labor without a medically indicated reason or just because you are past your due date, then they are not following their own medical society’s guidelines. Every week is precious in allowing your baby to fully develop, and allowing your body to prepare for labor.
- In the last weeks of pregnancy:
-your baby’s brain grows at it’s most rapid rate
-mother passes antibodies to baby
-essential hormones are produced in mother’s body that prepares the cervix to open
-baby’s lungs mature preparing for life outside the womb
-baby gains weight to tide him over until mother’s milk comes isIf there is not a medical reason for induction of labor, ASK THESE QUESTIONS!
–Is there medical evidence that my baby will be safer outside of my body?
-What are the risks and side effects of inducing my labor now for me and for baby?
-What are the benefits?
-What information are you using to know if my body is ready for labor?
-What if we wait and do nothing?
-Can we have a day to talk about it and think about it?
If you and your baby are healthy and there are no medical issues, it may be better to wait for your body to go into labor on its own.
by Liza Janda
You should discuss your particular case with your own care provider.