Understanding Labor Induction

Labor induction is an interventional approach by a medical provider to stimulate uterine contractions to intiate labor before it occurs naturally. Inducing labor can be achieved with pharmaceutical drugs that ripen the cervix as well as by manually breaking the water sac. According to Wikipedia, as many as one-quarter of women in Western countries have their labor medically induced with drugs.

The Risk of Inducing Without Medical Cause

It is not uncommon to hear a pregnant woman who is 38 weeks pregnant beg for labor induction due to discomfort. While this can be safely and successfully done in many women, there is a significant risk to stimulating a birth before it naturally occurs unless there is a medical reason to do so. Elective labor induction to relieve discomfort or better fit a mother’s schedule can mean delivering a baby before the baby is fully developed and ready. For example, inducing labor just one week before the 40 week due date could impact the mental development and lung maturity of the fetus, as this can often take place around week 39.

Elective labor induction can involve the following risks for both mother and baby:

When Labor Induction is Necessary

When it comes to medical intervention to speed your labor and delivery date, always follow the guidance of your obstetrician. There are several situations in which the benefits outweigh the risks for inducing labor. You may need to schedule a labor induction if you have the following:

Consult the Professionals of Prenatal Care in Cumming

At North Point OB/GYN, we know that if you are in the very late stages of pregnancy, you are very uncomfortable and you are anxious to meet your baby. However, we always keep the health and safety of you and your baby as our top priority when scheduling your labor and delivery. If labor induction is medically necessary, we will carefully explain what you can expect and continue to provide excellent care during and after your delivery.

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