Google+ Baby Marohn: The Fine Print on Labor Induction

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Fine Print on Labor Induction

Sometimes there are medical reasons to induce labor, however, in the U.S. there has been a steady rise in "convenience" inductions. To me, convenience inductions are not just planed by the mother, but the doctor as well. I have noticed a growing trend of inductions around holidays or personal holidays for the doctor. Personally, I do not believe that labor should be induced for any reason other than a true medical reason, and Thanksgiving is not a true medical reason.

In my noticing how labor inductions are increasing, I started to wonder: Are doctors telling the mothers the fine print? Below will be the answer to many questions about inductions.

1. What is induction?
  • Labor induction works in several different ways. One way to is introduce synthetic hormones into the mother. Some of these drugs are put into IV's and some are inserted into the cervix. The most common of these drugs are Pitocin (an artificial form of Oxytocin), Cervidil, and Cytotech (both Cervidil and Cytotech are an artificial form of prostaglandin that are supposed to ripen the cervix).
    Another way is to strip the membranes. The means to manually separate the amniotic sack from the wall of the uterus.
    Lastly, there is rupturing the amniotic sack.
2. What should I expect with a medication induction?
  • You may think to your self that Pitocin contractions would be the same since Pitocin is the synthetic hormone of Oxytocin (the labor starting hormone the occurs naturally),however, that is not true. When the body releases Oxytocin the hormone comes in busts, which causes contractions that start at the top of the uterus which gently (and slowly) pull the cervix open. With Pitocin the synthetic hormone is given in an continuous IV, and can make contraction become very intense causing the uterus to contract all at once.
    For Cervidil contracts can become extremely strong extremely fast. However, with the way that the Cervidil is inserted into the cervix, it can be removed quickly and contractions will normally decrease or stop all together.
    As far as Cytotech, look at my post in October about that drug.
3. What are the risks?
  • When labor induction is done with medication continuous fetal monitoring is required, in some cases continuous fetal monitoring does more harm that good. A more serious risk with medicated inductions would be lower oxygen reaching the uterus and placenta, therefore the baby gets less oxygen. Another risk would be mother and baby could be at an increased risk for infection. There is an increased risk of a c-section. Then there is a very fatal risk of uterine rupture.
So my point is, when your doctor presents you with the option of induction to fit into your busy schedule or the doctor's schedule, maybe you should think twice.

March of Dimes

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