Inducing Labor

“I want this baby out of me!”

It’s a common cry we hear from women in their later stages of pregnancy. No wonder: they feel big and heavy, they’re peeing three times an hour, having trouble sleeping, and dealing with indigestion after every meal.

So when her caregiver asks, “Would you like to have your baby today?” it’s like dangling a piece of chocolate cake in front of someone who is on a diet.  It’s an enticement that many moms understandably cannot refuse.

But as with any medical intervention, there are risks to inducing labor, especially when there isn’t a medical reason for doing so.  Knowing the facts can help a pregnant mom and her partner sort out what they need, what they want and what is best for their baby.

Medical Reasons to Induce Labor:

You might think it’s a great idea to be able to start your labor whenever it’s convenient, or you’re just tired of being pregnant, or so that certain family members can be there for the birth. But the makers of Pitocin and Cervidil, two common labor-inducing drugs, both state that their drugs are only to be used in cases where there is a medical reason to induce labor. Here’s what Par Pharmaceuticals’ Patient Information says about Pitocin:

Elective induction of labor is defined as the initiation of labor in a pregnant individual who has no medical indications for induction. Since the available data are inadequate to evaluate the benefits-to-risks considerations, Pitocin® is not indicated for elective induction of labor.

In other words, inductions are not to be done for convenience but for a medical reason only.  Click here to read the World Health Organization’s view of inducing labor and the various methods that are available.

So what are some of the medical reasons to induce labor? According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), there are a number of reasons why an induction would be medically necessary, including these five:

  1. Pregnancy has gone for more than 42-weeks
  2. The mom has pregnancy-related high blood pressure
  3. There is an infection in the uterus
  4. Mom has placental abruption (this might result in a cesarean birth)
  5. The water broke and labor has not started

The Risks of Inducing

Is Your Body Ready for Labor?

Why Not Induce Before 39 Weeks?

Drugs to Induce Labor

Non-Medical Ways to Start Labor