All this makes it very tempting to bring labour on early, and many believe that induction isn’t much of a risk. Obstetricians often contribute to the feeling that the pregnancy may just as well end a week or two earlier, or that it is possibly even safer or easier for Mom and Baby.
Between your excitement and heightened sense of expectancy, it may seem like a good idea to end pregnancy early. However, it’s best to allow Mother Nature to take her course if all is well with both Mom and Baby. It might take patience, but it will pay off in an easier birth, a calmer baby and much less risk to both Mom and Baby. Even just a week or two of ‘induced’ prematurity can lead to an increased risk to baby after birth.
Labour is induced with synthetic oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone your body creates naturally to get labour started, and by taking synthetic oxytocin, you’re interfering with your body’s ability to manufacture oxytocin naturally. This could lead to difficulties breastfeeding and bonding, and behavioural difficulties in children.
Respiratory complications, jaundice and difficulty stabilising vital functions like temperature and blood sugar levels are far more likely if babies are born earlier than they should be.
Of course, if your baby does need special care, which is often the case after induction of labour, your hospital stay is likely to be very expensive. Pregnancy normally lasts between 37 and 42 weeks. The important thing is that it comes to a natural conclusion within this ‘normal’ range. As a general rule of thumb, first pregnancies often go over one’s due date; second pregnancies are frequently a little shorter than first pregnancies; and third pregnancies are often very unpredictable.
However, research shows that the most accurate estimated date of delivery (EDD) is the one given at the early pregnancy sonar examination (between 10 and 16 weeks). This often correlates quite well with the date one calculates using the last menstrual period. It is also very common for the estimate to be brought forward as pregnancy progresses, leading to the illusion that a mom-to-be has reached her due date when in fact she hasn’t. This can lead to totally unnecessary induction of labour or caesarean section, as well as a minor but significant degree of prematurity.
Think, read and discuss before you simply accept the recommendation of an induction just because you feel a little uncomfortable, there seems no good reason to continue the pregnancy or your doctor suggests it without a really good reason.