Guidelines for Labor Induction

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Find Out the Facts Before You are Induced

Labor inductions are anything but a rare event these days. The reasons for labor inductions can include anything from a suspected large baby to high blood pressure to going past your due date. Be sure you know all of the facts from a variety of resources before you know whether or not you need to be induced.

Rates of Reported Labor Inductions Vary

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) report in their latest guidelines for labor induction that 22% of all births were induced. It is likely that the rate of induction may be even higher since Childbirth Connection’s Listening to Mothers’ Survey from 2002 reported that between 44-49% of women participating in the survey had their labors induced.

Valid Reasons for Labor Induction

The ACOG guidelines list a number of health concerns that may warrant an induction for mothers including high blood pressure (otherwise known as pregnancy-induced hypertension), gestational diabetes, premature rupture of membranes, problems with the growth pattern of the baby and passing your due date. They correctly indicate that even with an indicated risk, care providers should evaluate the mother’s and baby’s health, whether or not her cervix is ripe and how many weeks the mother has been pregnant prior to making the decision for labor induction.

Questionable Reasons for Labor Induction

Unfortunately many of the women today are being induced without an indicated risk. Some of these could include a suspected large baby or simply going past your expected due date. The authors of the ACOG guidelines even list the travel distance distance from home to place of birth as a potential reason for induction. While the travel distance is certainly something to consider, unless the mother has a history of labors that last less than an hour and she lives an hour or more from her place of birth, travel distance is typically not a valid reason for an induction of labor.

Other questionable reasons for labor induction would include choosing the care provider you want to deliver your baby or choosing to have your baby born on a certain day.

Factors to Confirm Before You are Induced

If you are planning to be induced, you will want to have some good information up front about how to increase your chances of having a vaginal birth. Ask your care provider about evaluating you using the Bishop’s score. This measuring tool looks at several cervical factors and the baby’s station as well as other components such as your gestation and how many previous births you have had. Knowing your Bishop’s score can help both you and your care provider plan for a labor induction that ends with a vaginal birth versus a cesarean.

Natural Ways to Induce Labor

Another piece of information that may be missing from the labor induction options from your care provider are the natural ways to induce your labor. These methods include acupuncture or acupressure, herbs and doing nipple stimulation. Some of these methods also work to increase the strength of your contractions once you are in labor in the same way that pitocin is utilized.

As expectant parents, don’t forget that you are entitled to know about the full range of your options to start labor as well as if you have any indicated risks for an induction.