Birth Experience

Birth Management & Interventions – Induction

12 Comments 02 March 2010

What is the Induction of Labor?

Induction is the forced initiation of labor through synthetic oxytocin.

One in five hospital births are reported as induced labors.

In 1999, the Green Journal review reported three out of four inductions were elective, meaning they are requested by the mother. That means 75% of all induced labors are not for medical reasons. Research shows there an increase of cesarean section rates for induced patients.

Induction can happen several ways.

One can be induced by a synthetic oxytocin such as Pitocin, by a practitioner breaking your bag of waters, a gel, or other natural methods such as acupuncture, acupressure, blue/black kohash and by drinking castor oil.

The most common drug used to induce labor is Pitocin.

Pitocin plays a factor in about 60% of labors today. It is commonly administered through IV drip which contains women to the hospital bed (no showers/baths or walking around). Through iv, the amount of Pitocin entering your blood stream can be increased and decreased.

Pitocin causes contractions to become stronger and closer together. The increased intensity of contractions may lead to the use of epidural aesthesia and/or cesarean section.

“Think of the dichotomy: pitocin is administered to speed up labor, but the increased level of pain requires medication that slows it down. In addition, pitocin often has no effect on cervical dilation even though the contractions are much stronger.”Amy Kreger, Associated Content

Elective Induction, Medical Induction & Augmentation

Medical induction is used when the birth of the baby is considered necessary for the health and well being of mother and child.

Reasons for medical induction include fetal distress, pre-clampsia, and uterine infection.

For instance, if a woman’s water has broken, induction with induction may be recommended after 12 hours if labor has begun. With home birth midwives, 24-48 hours is the recommended window including supervising mom and baby’s vitals (blood-pressure, heart-rate, fever).

Another reason for medical induction may be if baby is past due (between 40-42 weeks or more). This increases complications due to baby’s size in the uterus, placenta calcification, and increases the risk of stillborn.

Elective induction is the induction of labor with no medical indication to do so, but by choice, commonly referred to as “scheduling” birth.

*please note: the Pitocin label reads…”Pitocin is not indicated for elective induction of labor.”

Augmentation is a term used to speed up labor once contractions have begun naturally. Again, Pitocin is widely used to augment labor.

“Your practitioner will start you off with a small dose (of Pitocin) and gradually increase it until your uterus responds appropriately. How much you’ll need depends on the quality of your contractions so far, how sensitive your uterus is to the drug, how much your cervix is dilated, and how far along you are in your pregnancy. As a rule, you’re shooting for three to five contractions every ten minutes.”Ann Linden, CNM – Baby Center

Induction risks

Induction with the help of Pitocin may start, speed up and intensify labor, increasing the chance that pain medication might be used.

The use of forceps and vacuum assisted deliveries is also increased.

Additionally, the rate of cesarean section is also raised by two or three times in the presence of induced labors.

These are some of the risks of Pitocin to Mom as stated on the label:

  • Hypertensive episodes
  • Uterine rupture
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Pelvic hematoma
  • Postpartum hemorrhage
  • Vomiting

BEWARE of Cytotec! The drug Cytotec has been used to induce labor but is not approved by the FDA for this use. Side effects of the drug include uterine rupture, severe bleeding, hysterectomy, and/or maternal and fetal death.

For baby, Pitocin can cause:

*this is a controversial claim, as some say this drug cannot pass through the placenta

  • Neonatal jaundice
  • Permanent CNS or brain damage
  • Neonatal seizures
  • Premature ventricular contractions
  • Bradycardia

Natural Induction

If one must induce due to medical reasons, it is my personal advice to suggest natural forms of induction first. Taking a natural remedy is like giving your body a little push or an “encouraging word” as if to say, time to get things going!

Natural forms of induction include:

Acupuncture, Acupressure, Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, Evening Primrose Oil, nipple stimulation, exercise, sex, *Blue Cohosh,  and *Castor Oil.

These natural forms of initiating labor call upon the body’s own resources to begin the laboring process. It is, overall, a much safer process with less complication and likelihood of intervention, because the woman’s body and hormones are reacting naturally.

*use only under supervision

See Natural Induction for more information.

Birth Experience

Why Birth Experience Matters | Introduction

28 Comments 28 February 2010

“You should just be happy that you have a healthy baby.”

When a mother often reflects upon her birth experience when she finds it didn’t play out as she anticipated or hoped, she may this discuss with a close friend, family member or spouse.

If the listener responds with the aforementioned quote, they mean well.

Unfortunately, any phrase containing, “you should just be happy because ________,” often does not result in feelings of gratefulness and joy (“Gee, thanks…”).

If the feeling or issue is not resolved by forgiveness or acceptance, it continues to linger, unsolved. This can turn out to be a recipe for disaster for mom and/or baby.

Research Shows That the Childbirth Experience Affects a Woman’s Self-Esteem

“Research does show that the childbirth experience has an effect on women’s self-esteem after birth and can impact her emotional availability to her baby immediately afterwards.

Giving birth will tend to be integrative or disintegrative, depending on the support, preparation and acceptance of her feelings before, during and after the birth. Her sense of maintaining psychological wholeness throughout the labor, whatever the method or kind of birth, is key to a positive sense of self.

Giving birth is an experience of great magnitude. It naturally follows that the more intact a woman feels emotionally, the easier it is for her body to adapt to the intensity of the labor, as heightened amounts of fear can give messages in some women for the brain to shut off labor. Self-esteem is a part of health.” -Dr. Gayle Peterson

*Read the entire article at The Birth Scene

Go into labor informed on the birthing process, and what you may encounter along the way.

Why Birth Experience Matters is a series created to first inform women on common procedures known as “birth management.” The second half is full of measures you can take to increase the odds of having a positive and empowering labor.

To discover how women can have a better birth experience, I think we must delve into the medical interventions which result in a woman feeling disappointed in her birth experience.

My goal with this series is to present you with the necessary information to be able to make informed choices and/or how to avoid often unnecessary interventions during childbirth.

By learning the pros and cons of medical interventions, one can understand the effects management has on labor, and whether or not it is necessary.

Ultimately it is self-advocacy, demanding a higher standard of care, and all around more education on the birthing process, will help to ensure that women have a better birth experience.

Birth Experience Matters Chapters

Part One

Part Two


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