5 Suspicious Justifications for Inducing Labor–Especially if You’re Due Around the HolidaysOct 30, 2023
Robin Elise Wiess said, “Thanksgiving is not a complication of pregnancy.”
Every year I share this quote as a reminder, because the Monday before Thanksgiving has the highest rates of inductions of any other day.
Yes, it’s true that there are a lot of babies due in November. Hey, it’s 9 months after Valentine's Day after all, wink wink- but that’s not a strong enough reason for the week before Thanksgiving to be so full of inductions.
The truth is, staff want to be home with their families for the holidays. So they try to get you out of the queue that could interrupt their plans before the holiday arrives. I understand the human desire to want to do this, but it’s not ethical, and shouldn’t be acceptable. There’s too much that hangs in the balance.
INDUCTIONS CARRY RISKS TO BOTH THE MOTHER AND BABY. HERE'S WHAT TO KNOW:
Induction significantly increases chances of Cesarean- 50% of inductions on 1st time moms end in C-section
Increases pain mother’s experience
Increases stress on the baby
Often makes for a very long exhausting labor
Increases chances of baby requiring a stay in the NICU (an expensive consequence which also complicates breastfeeding and bonding)
If your doctor isn’t discussing these facts with you, then he/she is not practicing informed consent, which is your right.
THE TOP (OFTEN BOGUS) REASONS YOU MAY HEAR FOR RECOMMENDING AN INDUCTION ARE:
Baby is too large
Placenta is too old or showing signs of calcification
Fluid is too low
The warped idea that beyond 37 weeks is unnecessary “extra time” for your baby
NONE OF THESE REASONS ALONE IN ISOLATION ARE SOLID JUSTIFICATIONS FOR INDUCING LABOR, IN MY OPINION:
Our bodies don’t grow babies we can’t birth except in extreme circumstances like unchecked gestational diabetes.
Placentas don’t get too old to function- without any other signs that the pregnancy is stressed.
Fluid is constantly replenishing. So stay hydrated.
Saying that beyond 37 weeks is simply extra time is causing premature babies to be born that require NICU care. Remember, estimated due dates are often educated guesses, so your actual gestation may differ from your due date.
Your age alone is not a high-risk factor. Your overall health is a much more accurate marker of your risk status.
Any of these reasons, in isolation, (without any other signs that your body or baby aren't doing well) are suspect. I’d encourage you to do research, ask questions, and make sure you understand the pros and cons of your options. You are the only person deeply invested in your pregnancy and baby- and you alone will have to live with the repercussions of an induction.
I’ll leave you with a quote by Dr. Sarah Buckley, from The Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing:
“The innate hormonal physiology of mothers and babies, when promoted, supported and protected- has significant benefits for both in childbearing, and likely into the future by optimizing labor and birth, infant transitions, breastfeeding, maternal adaptations, and maternal-infant attachment.”
Dr. Buckley is also the author of the incredible book “Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering,” which I highly recommend to all expecting mothers.
In short, if an induction is being suggested or pushed, especially for the reasons stated above, take a pause. Research. Ask the tough questions. And make sure you feel completely informed, rather than bullied.
You can always seek a second or third opinion, if you aren’t feeling aligned with your current doctor or midwife.
You can outright decline an induction, or you can simply not show up for a scheduled induction if you’re feeling pressured into one.
Lastly, if you’re interested in support to help your body gently move towards labor, consider coming to see us for a labor induction massage. You can also work the induction points on yourself to promote spontaneous labor.
These techniques will never force your body to do anything it’s not close to ready to do.
In a perfect world, I wouldn’t even offer induction massage. I’d encourage to trust in the divine timing of your baby and body’s readiness for birth. However, I know that many pregnant women are under substantial pressure by their doctor or midwife to give birth by a certain time, so we created this offering to attend to that very real need.
Are you due around the holidays?
We talked specifically about Thanksgiving, but the same applies if you’re due around Christmas or New Year’s too.
Wishing you all the best in your pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
You deserve to thrive in each phase.
With love and gratitude,
Sparrow & The Sparrow’s Nest Team
P.S. If you enjoyed this article, you may also like:
VBAC Success Story: How She Achieved a VBAC Despite an Unwanted Scheduled C-Section
40 Days for 40 Years: How Your Postpartum Care (or Lack Of) Effects Your Post Menopausal Heath
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