There once was a man and woman who decided they were ready to be parents. They were so excited to meet their bundle of joy.
At the woman’s 37 week appointment, the doctor could read the excitement written all over her face. He offered to bring her baby into the world the following week. He told her to be at the hospital by 6:30 in the morning and she’d have a baby in her arms by the end of the day. That was it. End of conversation.
I am that woman. I gave birth at 38 weeks pregnant on December 10, 2008 to a healthy baby boy.
I was never informed of the risks that come with an elective induction.
I remember my mother-in-law mentioning the increased risk of cesarean, but I thought surely my doctor would have informed me if that were true. Surely, she must have it wrong. I now know that she didn’t have it wrong and I should have listened to her. She did birth 5 babies, after all. And my doctor? He didn’t inform me, because it wasn’t in his best interest.
To say that I’m still mad about it would probably be an understatement. Luckily, mostly everything went according to my doctor’s “well laid plans.” The only scare was when Bryson’s heart rate dropped quite suddenly, which I now know isn’t rare during induction.
And now? Less than 3 years after my induction at 38 weeks pregnant, study after study has shown that the 38th week is extremely important. So important, that most insurance companies and hospitals will no longer induce until the 39th week. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Childbirth Connection and March of Dimes, state that a baby needs at least 39 completed weeks in order to fully develop their brain and other vital organs.
Why are we so impatient? I know mother’s who struggle to keep their babies in the womb. I know a mama that has beautiful triplets now. She fought to keep them safe in her womb, but they were born at 27 weeks. Fortunately, they are now healthy and thriving. I bet if you’d ask her though, she would have done anything to carry those sweet babies to term.
So, why are we “evicting” our babies the first chance we get? What is so wrong with letting our babies choose their own birth dates? Are we just not informed? Do we not care? Are we that tired of being pregnant? Are the risks worth it?
And the size thing? Don’t let your doctor try to tell you that your baby is getting too big to birth. Seriously, their estimates are guesses, at best. I’ve read time and time again where women have been told their babies were getting too large and were talked into inductions, only to have 7 or 8 pound babies. Seriously. Our bodies were designed for birth.
Now, let’s talk about 40 weeks. Doctors act like there is an expiration on pregnancy when you hit 40 weeks. At my 39 week check-up with Bella, my doctor stressed that if I didn’t have her by the next week, they would have to induce. Here’s the kicker, we are not overdue or post-term until we reach the 42nd week of pregnancy! 40 weeks is the average- not the expiration date. When you reach 40W +1, you are not overdue and that isn’t a reason to induce, contrary to what your doctor will have you believe.
A recent study showed a link between Pitocin a drug used during inductions, and ADHD. I hope that subsequent studies prove this one false. I really do.
I’m not here to judge. I just want women to be informed. Whatever decision you make, as long as it is an educated and informed decision, you can stand behind it. The problem is that our doctors, the people we trust with our care and our baby’s care, are not willing to inform us. We must inform ourselves and each other.
If you want to keep reading and learn more, here are some informative articles and pages:
- Induction of Labor: What You Need to Know at Childbirth Connection
- Early Induction: Why All the Hype? at Giving Birth with Confidence