The Pros and Cons of Birth Induction
Birth induction, also known as induced labour, is a medical procedure used to initiate or accelerate the onset of labour. It is usually recommended in situations where the health of the mother or baby is at risk, or when the pregnancy has gone beyond its due date. While birth induction can be beneficial in some cases, it also comes with its share of pros and cons.
Pros of Birth Induction:
Reduced Risk of Stillbirth:
Some studies show that birth induction reduces the risk of stillbirth. There is the possibility that inducing labour after 41 weeks of pregnancy reduces the likelihood of stillbirth, which is a significant concern for many overdue, expectant mothers. The earlier the induction, the lower the risk of stillbirth.
Control Over Delivery Timing:
Induced labour provides the expectant mother and medical team with more control over the timing of delivery. This is relevant in cases where the pregnancy has gone beyond its due date, and the risk of complications increases as time goes by. Inducing labour allows for a more predictable and planned delivery.
Another advantage of birth induction is that it can lead to a faster delivery. This can be beneficial in situations where the mother or baby’s health is at risk, and a quick delivery is necessary. Induced labour can also reduce the length of the first stage of labour, making it easier and less exhausting for the mother.
Relief From Pregnancy Symptoms:
Pregnancy can be uncomfortable, so birth induction will bring relief from the symptoms associated with late-term pregnancy. These symptoms include swollen feet, back pain, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety about when labour will start.
Cons of Birth Induction:
Increased Risk of Cesarean Section:
One of the most significant disadvantages of birth induction is that it increases the risk of cesarean section. This is because induced labour can lead to stronger and more frequent contractions, which can cause fetal distress or failure to progress in labour, both of which can necessitate a c-section.
Inducing labour can lead to stronger and more uncomfortable contractions than those experienced during natural labour. This is because the hormones used to induce labour can cause contractions to be more intense and closer together. This can make labour more difficult and even painful for the mother, and may require pain medication or epidural anaesthesia.
Higher Risk of Infection:
Induced labour can increase the risk of infection, as the medical team may need to break the amniotic sac or use instruments to help the baby move down the birth canal. This can introduce bacteria into the uterus, increasing the risk of infection for both the mother and baby.
Limited Mobility During Labor:
During induced labour, the mother may be required to remain in bed, attached to monitoring equipment, which can limit her mobility and make it more difficult to manage discomfort and cope with labour. This can lead to feelings of frustration and helplessness, which can make labour more stressful and less satisfying.
Birth induction can be a helpful tool in certain situations, but it also comes with its share of pros and cons. It is important for expectant mothers to discuss the risks and benefits of induced labour with their healthcare provider to make an informed decision about whether it is right for them. Ultimately, the decision to induce labour should be based on individual circumstances and medical need, rather than convenience or preference. Dr. Sara Wickham’s book Inducing Labour or Why Induction Matters by Dr. Rachel Reed will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision about birth induction.
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