Monday, November 28, 2011

An Elective Induction Soapbox

During Empowered Birth Week I promised a post on my thoughts on induction.  I followed up with 10 Ways to Avoid an Induction, one of my favorite posts from recent months.  I chose the informational and helpful route regarding inductions, rather than the state my opinions and risk pissing people off route.  And, I chose to assume that if you read my blog, you are not jumping on the "yay, my doctor wants to induce" bandwagon.  I knew this assumption was not correct.  After all, this is the good old USA with our almost 35% cesarean rate and our pathetic standing in maternal and neonatal outcomes.

So, you would think I would be happy with the latest spate of hospitals declaring a ban on elective inductions prior to 39 weeks.  Over the past few weeks, I've read numerous newspaper articles (love that good birth junkie Facebook news feed!) about how early elective inductions are not good for mama or baby.  Besides the fact that I've yet to read an article recognizing the OB/GYN's role in pushing for early inductions, I have a major problem with this new trend.

Why should we applaud these hospitals for, according to the articles I read, telling mothers they need to wait until 39 to have their babies?  Surely I'm not alone in believing an elective induction prior to 39 weeks is ethically wrong of an OB.  Ethically.  Wrong.  Regardless of hospital protocol, no baby should be electively induced prior to 39 weeks.  It's that easy.

And, truth be told, I think elective inductions should be banned entirely.  Yes.  Elective inductions should be banned.  Who are you to force a baby to be born earlier than he or she is ready?  Because you are tired of being pregnant.  Wah.  Because you only get 6 weeks of maternity leave.  Wah.  Because you want to beat the end of the year for the tax deduction.  Wah.  

Because your doctor suggested it?  What is his motivation?  Why does he want your baby to come earlier than he or she is ready?  Seriously.  I want to know why all these doctors are so eager to electively induce these babies.

So yeah.  I am totally unimpressed with the new trend of banning early elective inductions.  Yes, I get it is a step in the right direction to improve birth outcomes but I think our unborn babies need better advocates than simply telling mamas and their doctors to just wait it out until 39 weeks and then it will be just fine to electively induce.

What is so wrong with putting our babies first?

*No need to tell me how your baby was induced and everything was just fine.  Most babies are induced and most babies are fine.  I get it.  But, you are kidding yourself if you don't believe that every single day in the womb is developmentally important.*

Read more:
Henci Goer's article on elective induction.  Unlike me, she is impeccably footnoted and indexed.


AKD said...

I can understand inductions in cases where the husband is in the military and is shipping out, and wants to be there for the birth of his baby (assuming it is after 39 weeks). It isn't ideal, but the birth experience is for the whole family...

Kaitlin @ More Like Mary said...

So right that every day in the womb matters. Every. single. day. Did you know that fat pads in their little cheeks are practically the LAST thing to develop. These pads help them with latching to a nipple. If the baby is born before they develop-they will never get them. I can't help but wonder if this is the reason so many babies "can't" breastfeed. Which of course leads to all sorts of other problems.

Mandi @ Catholic Newlywed said...

This is very timely for me. I am now two days "overdue" (as if a due date is precise anyway...) and my family keeps asking at what point the midwives will induce. I've told them that I will have an ultrasound and non-stress tests starting at 41 weeks and if everything is healthy, I can just wait it out, but no one seems to be happy with that answer - and I wonder why... As long as the baby is healthy, when does it matter when he/she is born? There is not an "expiration date" for pregnancy.

Mandi @ Living the Good Life said...

Right on. Every day inside DOES matter. Did you see the really amazing pic of the brain of a 37 week baby compared to a 40 week baby? HUGE difference.

The other thing that gets me is that 40 weeks is the AVERAGE gestation NOT the standard, end all be all, cut off date. Many women in my family gestate for 10 full months almost without exception. In fact the only birth that I can recall being before 41 weeks was my sister and that is because my mom's placenta ruptured and she was born several weeks early. My great grandmother and grandmother both told stories of 10 month pregnancies, myself, my niece and my boys were all at least 41-42 weeks.

Emily said...

"Wah." ... "Wah."


Anonymous said...

I agree about every day in the womb being important. Unfortunately I developed HELLP syndrome and had to have an emergency c-section at 33 weeks to save my life and the life of my son. He was only 3 lbs 10 oz at birth and he spent the first month of his life in the NICU. The preemie next to him in the NICU died while he was there. When I was told that my liver was giving out and that it was at a point where my baby was safer outside the womb than in, they tried to prepare me by telling me that he probably wouldn't be able to breathe on his own and that I wouldn't hear him cry and I wouldn't get to hold him, or even see him the day he was born. It really burns me up when I hear women complaining about being full term. I would have given my right arm to have been able to carry my son full term. I get so mad when women start complaining about swollen feet and back aches and how they wish the baby would hurry up and come, etc. I would have loved to have been able to even go 37 weeks, let alone 40.

Laura @ Our Messy Messy Life said...

Angie, I knew somebody would point out military families :)

Mandi @ CNW, love the timing! I reread my earlier induction post last night and noticed you commented about your pregnancy and your midwives induction policy. I wondered when your due date was and how everything went! Hang in there and stop answering phone calls of family members who have anything but glowing and supportive remarks for you and your baby. I'm looking forward to reading your birth story :)

Kaitlin, I did not know that! I need to go google now!

Mandi, oh yeah. That will have to be a different post for a different day :) Babies deserve how every many days they need.

Anon, I can only imagine my infuriation of early inductions and women's complaints about pregnancy if I had experienced a 33 week preemie...... So glad everything turned out fine with you and your baby!

Laura @ Our Messy Messy Life said...

I missed one!

Emily, did you read the "wah" in the appropriate whiny voice?!?

AKD said...

They are really the only instance I can think of, though, unless medically necessary for very clear reasons (not "baby is too big").

Alicia said...

I'm due by doctor's estimates on 1/24 though I hit 40 weeks on 1/31.

I'm appalled by the amount of people who tell me oh well maybe you'll be lucky and get that tax credit. You're so little that you won't make it to term of your doctor make just take the baby for you.

I don't get how having a preterm baby is "lucky." Having a baby that soon would probably cost me more than I'd save in taxes.