When you and your doctor first come up with your baby’s due date, it seems a long way off. Then you learn that you are expecting your baby at full term to be born between gestation week 38 through week 42. Four weeks! That seems like a very large target, easy to hit! It is when you get closer, like week 37 or overdue, like week 41 that going into labor at the right time seems more difficult.
Once of the most common complications to a vaginal birth is labor induction. Avoid it if you can! Here is a fact sheet you can download and share with your caregiver on the dangers of induction. It can also be found on motherfriendly.org.
Some of the hazards are:
- First time mothers have twice the likelihood of cesarean birth with induction instead of starting labor naturally. (Study done of women induced at 41 weeks.)
- Women who have had prior vaginal births increase their likelihood of cesarean birth five times if their cervix is not ready for labor prior to inducing labor.
- All labor induction agents can cause uterine hyperstimulation which can lead to fetal distress.
- inducted labors are usually more painful and increase the likelihood of a mother requesting an epidural.
The fact sheet has other details including a comparison of cervical ripening agents. Why should you care about this? Many women go into labor naturally after 41 weeks. They are considered “overdue” and the topic of labor induction will come up. It is nice to have facts and studies behind your decision making process.