Holiday Babies and the Pressure to Induce

Sadly, one of the issues surrounding pregnant women who are due around major holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, is a pressure to schedule an induction. There can be many factors regarding this, such as your personal caregiver being out of town for certain periods of time, hospital staff trying to contain overflow, even wanting or hoping to get a tax deduction before the year runs out.

If you are one of these women due around the holiday season, consider carefully the risks of non-medical induction. If you are pressured into an induction with a medical sounding reason, be sure you ask your “Informed Consent” questions:

What is the procedure being recommended? (Such as, what type of induction would be used?)

Why is the procedure being recommended? (Is your doctor planning a trip to see family? Are the common, yet medically unreliable reasons of  “baby’s getting too big”, “fluid is too low”, “we don’t want you going post-date” being used? If so, research, research, research in order to make an informed decision!)

What are the risks of the procedure? (Failed induction, distress for the baby, greater (up to 2x) risk of surgical interventions such as cesarean, forcep/vacuum delivery, an early full-term or even pre-term baby?)

Is the reason for an induction considered an emergency? (True emergency reasons for induction of labor are very, very rare and do not include scheduling a week or more ahead)

What happens if we just wait and see? (This will also help you determine if there is a true medical need)

What alternatives could be used? (Walking, sexual intercourse, acupressure/acupuncture, certain herbs — with any and of all of these, again, do your own research and weigh the risks and benefits)

Hopefully, early on in your visits with your caregiver, backup plans and caregivers were discussed and preferably, you have met one or all of the caregivers who may be on call should your own doctor or midwife be unavailable. If this hasn’t happened, make it happen.  Be certain to have a copy of your birth plan in your chart, and extras to bring to the place of birth.

A doctor or hospital’s schedule shouldn’t dictate when your baby is born or your having to assume a higher risk of medical interventions and surgical birth. You can always politely decline the offer of scheduling your baby’s birth for non medical reasons.

Best of wishes to you through the holiday season!

For more information, please go to www.ican-online.org. As always, these statements are not intended to replace decisions made by you and your health care provider.

All rights reserved, 2010, Kimberly Hall Sebeck, Knoxville Doula

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