Birth Induction – Myth Busting
by Gail J. Dahl, Award Winning and National Bestselling Author of “Pregnancy & Childbirth Secrets”
In some women, does labor never start? No! There is no woman in recorded history who has not gone into labor on her own. Myth Busted!
Does the placenta age or somehow stop functioning or have a best before date? No. There is no evidence that the placenta ages or stops functioning in a healthy woman. Your placenta is as new as your baby. It functions perfectly until and after your baby is ready to be born. Myth Busted!
Does anyone or any machine know the exact day a baby is ready? No. Your due date is only an estimated due date. The ultrasound cannot give you an exact date without an error rating. Errors are often made on the conception date. Only the baby and your body know the exact date your baby is ready to be born. Myth Busted!
Can the doctor or midwife tell how much amniotic fluid is available to the baby by looking at the mother? No. The ultrasound and the eye are unable to determine the exact level of amniotic fluid available to the baby. Some babies are born with very little or no amniotic fluid. The body is able to compensate for this situation. Myth Busted!
Are some babies too small or too big? No. No one and no machine is able to determine the weight of your baby before your baby is born. This is never a good reason for induction or cesarean. Myth busted.
Does a birth induction compromise the mother’s and baby’s health? Yes. In many cases forcing the labor compromises the health of mother and baby due to the familiar cascade of medical interventions needed to deal with the induction drug’s repeated failures. It is always better to wait for the body to start labor spontaneously and for the body and baby to experience labor. There is no scientific or medical evidence that supports any benefits from forcing labor by any method or means.
Birth Induction and Your Choices
A woman’s body is beautifully designed for pregnancy and childbirth. The body will signal when the baby has finished developing. By not inducing the birth, your client may be able to experience a drug free childbirth and the all the benefits that come from it, including being able to successfully breastfeed the baby and to recover rapidly from childbirth.
There is no scientific or medical evidence that has proven that induction methods are necessary at any stage of the pregnancy. Women choosing drug free birth will mostly be unable to experience this when their labor has been induced. Many health problems and challenges face a pregnant woman who has been induced on the wrong date.
A due date is not a due date, it is an estimate, only. Some babies are ready sooner and some later. Most babies are ready ten days after the estimated due date, but many need more time. There is no scientific evidence that shows any benefit to forcing out the babies who need more time for development. All the evidence shows the life threatening dangers of premature birth.
Induction undermines a woman’s belief in her ability to give birth and makes a drug free birth difficult, if not impossible. Women are not told of the consequences of inducing birth and the cascade of medical interventions that may be necessary as a result of the continual failure of the drugs and methods often leading to cesarean or a baby who has difficulty breathing.
You will read some of the most current research on induction in my book, “Pregnancy & Childbirth Secrets”. I believe it is best to put this knowledge in the hands of the clients and allow them to come to a decision with current research on this subject. She can ask the caregiver, “What happens if we watch and wait?”
I have heard so many stories about why the baby has to come out right now, like the placenta is aging, your baby is too small, your baby is too big, your baby is too old, you are too old, the amniotic fluid is low, etc. The fact is the placenta is just as new as the baby, it does not stop functioning, there is no best before date. Your baby is just the right size for your baby. Your baby is well taken care of and is finishing the final development of the lungs, immune system, and many more finishing touches we are just becoming aware of. If you are an older mom, you most certainly want your labor to begin on its own as the labor will be safer and gentler for both you and the baby.
Birth inductions are killing mothers and babies. This message is going in front of the United States Senate in 2008 to alert the country to the dangers of this completely unnecessary procedure.
More Answers on Inductions:
I would like to know if there was actually postdates or if there was a slight possibility of an error in their estimated due date which is a common error. How can you ever be sure? An ultrasound does not have the ability to predict an estimated due date. When your client is requesting no inductions and no unnecessary medical interventions, I would feel that you would want to support their choice of birth.
Was that baby late or just not ready yet? That doctor has no ability to accurately determine the amniotic fluid level. There is no dip stick. An ultrasound is reliably unpredictable in measuring the fluid level or the estimated due date. The fluid level cannot be measured by eye. There is no scientific or medical evidence that fluid level would support an induction at any stage of a pregnancy. Some babies are born with almost no amniotic fluid whatsoever. The body is able to compensate for this unusual situation. An induction on any date will make the labor more painful and difficult. In this birth, the problems started with the induction. After twelve years of research I have found no scientific or medical evidence that there is any benefit whatsoever in inducing birth at any stage.
For the women who request a cesarean section, many of these would have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse sometime in their lives. Some of these women also experience panic attacks on a daily basis. Should these mothers be allowed a cesarean if that is their choice? Most definitely. Do these women benefit from experiencing labor? Most definitely. During labor the stress hormones are being laid down in the baby’s lungs and the cesarean babies who do not go through labor do not experience this, leading to breathing and other problems later in life.
Some of these women, who would prefer to order a cesarean than experience birth find that developing their birth plan and researching caregivers and birth settings helps them to deal with the fear of being abused again, some not yet ready to re-experience their initial trauma will opt for a cesarean section to regain a feeling of control. If your client requests a cesarean section and shows a high fear of labor or delivery, this can be their personal situation. These women have been through enough and if that is what they need, that is what they need.
I understand you want to support a woman’s choice, whatever it is. What I am concerned with are unnecessary inductions and the associated trauma caused by this procedure and the women who have agreed to induction without being fully informed of the alternatives available. One of the best alternatives to birth induction is waiting until the body and the baby signal that they are ready by going into spontaneous labor.
I believe we can have more positive birth experiences if we allow women to start labor spontaneously instead of using dangerous chemicals or methods to artificially start labor. Women and babies are dying from the new trend of using the drug, Cytotec, to artificially start labor. This is a serious matter for the health of our mothers and babies. There is a committee going in front of the US Senate in 2008 to talk about the dangerous practice of using Cytotec to artificially start labor. The drug company itself has said do not use this product on pregnant women. I have seen the warning and the graphic design that is stamped upon the packaging. Cytotec is a drug only meant for non-pregnant women with arthritis.
What is happening? Some doctors and some midwives are using it anyway on pregnant women and are completely ignoring the printed and graphic warning on the packaging. Some mothers who are exposed to Cytotec during pregnancy are dying. The baby often dies as well as the drug causes the woman’s body to rupture from within. Imagine losing your child and grandchild in the same day because someone was impatient for things to get going or a mathematical formula said the baby was ready, when it wasn’t. This has happened to a very good friend of mine. No parent expects to bury their child and their grandchild on the same day.
Watching and waiting will usually give the best result. The best health benefit to the mother and baby is waiting until the body spontaneously goes into labor on its own.
Copyright 2015, Secrets by National Bestselling Author, Gail J. Dahl “Pregnancy & Childbirth Secrets” This article may be reprinted or posted for the purpose of childbirth education if references are included. The information contained in or provided through this publication is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be, and is not provided as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your midwife, physician, nurse or other qualified health care provider before you undergo any treatment or for answers to any questions you may have regarding any medical condition.