Debunking The Myths Of This Childbirth Method

Women are faced with a great deal of unsolicited advice, horror stories, and downright false information about giving birth.  This can be especially frightening to a first-time mom looking for comfort and reassurance before labor begins.

Childbirth is a beautiful and natural process, but many women experience complications during their pregnancies and may need to receive medical intervention to help the process along.

Due to any number of reasons, a woman may have to have her labor induced.  With this can come feelings of disappointment, anxiety, and fear.  And the last thing a new mom needs is the judgment of others for having to go through an induction of labor.

There are many myths swirling around about labor induction, the most insulting of which is that induction is “an easy way out” of the pain of natural childbirth.  For women who are told by their physicians that they must be induced, comfort and support – not judgment – is needed. reported on some of the myths that women face about induction:

Myth:  Inductions are the safest way to deliver.

Fact:According to The Mayo Clinic, if you’ve had previous cesareans, “major uterine surgery, your placenta is blocking your cervix (placenta previa), or your baby is lying breech or transverse in your uterus,” an induction may not even be an option. There are risks with a natural delivery, of course, but with a medically coaxed delivery you could experience uterine rupture, infection, bleeding after delivery, or low heart rate. which equates to lower baby’s oxygen and heart rate levels.

Myth:  Contractions will be sporadic

Fact: Contractions with an induction may start out sporadic, but as things progress they’ll likely become more regular (and more painful).

When an induction takes place, contractions often begin much sooner, with little preparation by the body.  Medications used to induce can actually cause contractions to be more intense, longer in duration, and closer together than in a natural birth.

Myth:  The risks are minimal

Fact: The baby’s lungs are the last organ to develop. According to Fit Pregnancy, if you’re scheduled for an induction before the lungs have reached maturity (around 39 weeks), your baby may need to some time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) while their lungs mature.

On his website, Dr. Chris Kresser details the possible complications of induction by medication, especially the most commonly used drug, Pitocin:

 Pitocin-induced contractions will be longer, more forceful and much closer together than a woman’s natural contractions. This can cause significant stress to the baby, because there’s not enough time to recover from the reduced blood flow that happens when the placenta is compressed with each contraction. The net effect of this is to deprive the baby of necessary suppliesof blood and oxygen, which can in turn lead to abnormal fetal heart rate patterns and fetal distress.Pitocin can also cause complications for birthing women. Evidence suggests that women who receive Pitocin have increased risk of postpartum hemorrhage.

With these risks, a physician would not simply schedule an induction because a woman “is tired of being pregnant.”  Sadly, this is another misconception that some women face when they say they are being induced.

Myth:  You deliver faster than with natural labor

Fact: While the length of labor varies with every woman and every pregnancy, an induced labor — which is initiated via synthetic hormones to stimulate uterine contractions — can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. There’s no way to know how your body will respond to the medicines used until you’re in the throes of induction.

Myth: Subsequent babies will be born quicker if your first was via induction

Fact: The length of your labor all depends on how “ripe” your cervix is, how much your contractions have progressed, how far the baby has moved through the birth canal, whether or not your water has broken, and a list of other things all doctors look for when attempting to “guess” when you’ll be holding your baby in your arms. And although a long labor is more common with first-time mothers, it’s not guaranteed to be any faster with subsequent pregnancy inductions.

This myth is easily dismissed due to the fact that every woman, and every labor, is different.  No matter the means of onset, duration, and intensity of labor can vary whether it’s your first child or you’ve had several.

Myth:  It will be less painful

Fact: Because Pitocin can bring on strong waves of contractions, there’s fewer breaks between them. And while you can experience painful, quick contractions during a “natural” labor, too, a medical induction tends to overemphasize the already painful parts of labor and delivery.

To the contrary, the forced onset of labor by induction does not allow for the natural process that takes place in the weeks leading to birth, such as softening of the cervix or partial dilation.  Induction, especially by drugs like Pitocin, can lead to a more intense labor due to the sudden onset.

The fact is, most women do not electively choose to go through induction to begin labor.  In cases of illness in the mother like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, or infection, or because the baby has stopped growing or appears in distress, induction is necessary for medical reasons alone.  For women who feel ashamed for having to be induced, or feel judged by others, these facts speak for themselves.

The anticipation of giving birth can be both joyful and frightening, and women who must be induced should not have to face judgment or shame put upon them by those who don’t understand the medical facts.

Was it necessary to schedule an induction to give birth to your child?  Did you face unsolicited advice or judgment from others who didn’t understand why you couldn’t give birth “naturally?”  Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.