Pros and Cons of Inducing Labor
Imagine a woman who has been pregnant for over 38 weeks. She is carrying 25-30 extra pounds around, her back hurts, fatigue is taking over, her feet are swelling, and she just doesn't know how much longer she can take it all. Then her doctor mentions those two magic words - pregnancy induction. It sounds like the answer to her prayers, but what are the pros and cons of inducing labor?
Having been induced with both of my pregnancies, I can give you first hand experience of the good and bad side of pregnancy induction. I was extremely fortunate that both of my deliveries went well without any complications, but that doesn't mean every induced labor will go as smooth. Read further to discover the pros and cons of inducing labor as well as reasons why induction is sometimes medically necessary and the potential risks that goes along with it.
Medical Reasons to Induce Labor
There are times when it is medically necessary to induce labor. Below are several examples of when a doctor would suggest a pregnancy induction.
- Two weeks beyond the due date
- Baby's growth slows or not at expected pace
- Water broke but lack of contractions
- Infection in the uterus
- Decrease in amniotic fluid
- Issues with the placenta
- Medical condition that puts mother or baby at risk
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Pros of Inducing Labor
There are several pros to having a set date for the delivery of your baby. It is definitely a matter of convenience and takes away all of the guesswork out of when the baby will arrive. Let's take a closer look at the many pros of inducing labor.
- You know the exact date and time to arrive at the hospital. Knowing this information gives you plenty of time to mentally prepare for the arrival of your new baby. Another plus is not running around packing that overnight bag in the middle of a painful contraction.
- You can let family and friends know the delivery date. This information is helpful for those loved ones who may need to take off work or rearrange their schedule so they can be with you at the hospital on your big day.
- You can make child care arrangements for older children. Knowing when you are going to be in the hospital gives you the chance to set up plans with the person who will be watching your children instead of giving a 5 minute warning before you drop them off.
- You can stop worrying about the long drive to the hospital. Many women, including myself, have nightmares about delivering the baby at home or on the way to the hospital because of living so far away. With an induced labor, those fears are erased.
- You can schedule the delivery with your doctor of choice. If your doctor works within a group practice, the doctor who is on-call will deliver your baby when you go into labor. By inducing your labor, you can schedule a day that your preferred doctor will be available.
- You can avoid delivering on a major holiday or other day of importance. My first son was due on December 22nd, but my doctor agreed to induce my labor a day early. Two days later, I was released from the hospital and got to enjoy Christmas at home with our new baby boy.
Inducing Labor Video
Risks of Inducing Labor
There are several risks or complications associated with inducing labor. Be sure to discuss the below risks in full detail with your doctor.
- Possible C-section
- Health issues for baby
- Adverse reaction to medicine
- Greater chance of infection
- Umbilical cord issues
- Uterine rupture
- Bleeding complications after delivery
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Cons of Inducing Labor
Along with the pros, there are several cons when it comes to inducing labor. Not only does the bad side include physical reasons but also emotional ones too. Before you jump the gun on pregnancy induction, take a minute and consider the below cons of induced labor.
- You will not know what going into natural labor feels like. Having been induced with both of my pregnancies, I have always felt somewhat cheated out of the excitement of going into natural labor. If this is something that would bother you, inducing labor is not the way to go.
- You may feel panic or have anxiety before the scheduled delivery date. Although you will have plenty of time to mentally prepare before you give birth, you will also have plenty of time to freak out. You will obsess over everything being perfect and wonder if you are really ready for motherhood.
- You could be in labor for 24-48 hours. Your doctor will warn you that an induced labor could take longer than a natural labor. Thankfully, this con did not apply to my inductions as it only took 14 hours with my first son and 5 hours with my second.
- You are not allowed to eat during the induction. If your labor is not progressing as rapidly as you expected, you could go without food for a very long time. I can still remember being super excited about finally being able to eat after the births of both of my sons.
- You may feel more intense labor pains than a natural child birth. Many women complain that the medicine which induces your labor brings on more intense contractions than a natural birth would. Since I have only been induced, I can't comment on whether this con is true or not.
- You may be at risk of complications during an induced labor. As with any medical procedure, there are potential risks of adverse reactions to the medicines or possible C-section from your labor not progressing like it should. Be sure to discuss all of the possible complications with your physician.
Pros vs Cons of Induced Labor
Will know the exact day of delivery.
Will not know what natural labor feels like.
Loved ones can schedule off work.
May feel anxious or sense of panic.
No chance of delivering at home or in car.
May experience longer labor than natural birth.
Can arrange child care for older children.
Not allowed to eat during induction process.
Schedule your preferred doctor for delivery.
Labor pains may be more intense.
Avoid delivering on holidays or important days.
Health complications for mother or baby.
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Did you have or are you considering an induced labor?
Induction of Labor
The choice to induce your labor should not be taken lightly. Talk to your doctor and discuss all the different pros and cons associated with pregnancy induction. Most doctors, unless it is medically necessary, won't even consider inducing until at least 39 weeks. After a thorough evaluation of your health and situation, your doctor will only perform an induction when the benefits outweigh the possible risks.
I hope this information on inducing labor has helped you to make a decision on whether pregnancy induction is right for you. If you have any questions or comments about the induction process, feel free to leave these in the comment section below.