Thanksgiving is behind us and Christmas is right around the corner. Everywhere I look, anticipation of the upcoming holidays is around us. In every child's eyes you will see impatience and awe as they await the day when they will finally get to open up the packages under the tree and see what they have received. Every year it is the same thing, we must wait until the right time to see what magical item we have received.
Unfortunately, this time of year does not always allow for patience for babies to come at the right time.
Due to care-givers not wanting to miss out on their own family celebrations, families wanting the new little one home for the holiday, or simply because of the additional tax break involved with delivering prior to Jan. 1st, more and more babies are being induced for non-medical reasons (See info here). Bringing baby home a few days to a couple weeks early may not seem like a big deal, however according to the March of Dimes, inducing for non-medical reasons has led to a large uptick of late-preterm births which can cause more medical concerns for the baby. In addition, induction of labor can make a much more difficult labor for the mother and for the baby (see here).
If you are considering an induction, or your care-provider is bringing the topic up, make sure you know all your options. Ask lots of questions including:
Is this induction medically necessary?
What are the risks to me and my baby during the induction? (there are always risks)
What are the risks to me and my baby if we choose to not be induced yet?
What are the alternatives to being induced?
What medications/methods will be implemented to induce me, and what are the risks?
What alternatives methods are there, and what are the risks with each one?
By asking questions you will be more prepared for your induction if it is truly medically necessary, or you will be more informed to be able to comfortably decline an unnecessary induction. Also, do some research on what your care provider is telling you as the medical reason for induction. Find out about your Bishop Score here, adequate amniotic fluid levels here, baby size estimations here, and safety of late-preterm delivery of babies here.
Just as we must constantly remind children that they need to wait until Christmas day to open their presents, the best thing we can do for our babies and for mothers, is to wait until baby is ready to be born. The waiting can sometimes be frustrating, but the end result of having a healthy mother and baby is well worth the small wait.