The end of pregnancy can feel like it’s never going to end. As a pregnant mom, you’ll feel tired, sore, uncomfortable, and anxious to meet your new baby.
Pregnancy is rough on a woman’s body so it’s understandable to feel ready for it to be over.
While there are many cases where labor inductions have been safe, there are also some risks associated with them.
Before you rush to your computer to find ways to induce labor on your own, check out this overview for everything you need to know.
What Is Labor Induction?
Labor induction is when a woman’s uterine contractions are stimulated during pregnancy. This will take place before labor begins, in the hopes that the mother will have a successful vaginal birth.
A doctor may recommend a labor induction if there is a concern for the health of the mom or baby. When a baby is past their due date, labor inductions often occur to prevent and dangerous complications that can arise.
If your two weeks past your due date and labor hasn’t begun naturally, you may need a labor induction to get the baby out safely.
Another reason for induction is if your water breaks but labor hasn’t started. When your membranes rupture and you aren’t in labor, you’re open to infection which can be very risky for you and your baby.
Other reasons for performing an induction include infection, a fetal growth restriction, not enough amniotic fluid, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, placental abruption, or other medical conditions.
Elective Labor Inductions
There are some cases where you and your healthcare provider might choose to induce labor for a non-medical reason.
Let’s say you’ve had two other children who were delivered naturally in a very short amount of time. You’ve since moved far from the hospital or birthing center. Your doctor may schedule you an induction so you know you’ll arrive in time before your baby appears.
In almost all elective inductions your healthcare provider will make sure you are at least 39 weeks along. This will help mitigate any risks that could happen with a baby born prematurely.
Birth Injury Caused by Labor Induction
According to the Mayo Clinic, about 75 percent of first-time moms who are induced will have a routine and successful vaginal delivery. For the other 25 percent, these women might end up needing a C-section.
Risks of having a labor induction include a low heart rate. Oxytocin or prostaglandin are medications used to induce labor. When administered, these medications may cause excessive contractions which can lower your baby’s heart rate and oxygen supply.
When a labor induction is performed you may open yourself up to more infections. Prolonged membrane rupture, for example, can increase the risk of infection for both the baby and the mom.
Uterine rupture is another rare but serious risk. If you’ve ever had a C-section or abdominal surgery, your uterus could tear along the scar line. An emergency C-section would be needed or the uterus may be removed all together.
After induction, the mother may also suffer from more serious bleeding. This is because your uterine muscles may not contract after giving birth.
One of the most serious risks is having prolonged labor. Slow labors or labors that fail to progress are one of the leading causes of birth injury. If a baby spends too much time stuck in the birth canal they may lose oxygen which can cause birth defects.
Risky Labor Induction Methods
There are plenty of old wives tales out there regarding labor inductions. A desperate pregnant woman who is anxious to meet her baby will usually admit to searching through some of these methods to help move things along.
One way people have suggested for inducing labor is to drink a glass of wine. There’s no proven reasoning behind this and in fact, you may do more harm than good. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests that no amount of alcohol is safe for your unborn baby.
Herbal remedies are also very popular methods of inducing labor. Castor oil is a popular recommendation. This is a natural laxative and although it may work for some people, for others it can cause dehydration. Dehydration can have serious effects on your newborn baby.
Primrose oil is another popular choice. Pregnant women will take an oral supplement or apply it vaginally. This hasn’t been proven as an induction method and none of the herbal supplements you get over the counter are approved like a drug would be by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Nipple stimulation is another common method. This has actually been shown to cause longer, more painful contractions that don’t progress labor.
Walking is another popular induction method. While it may put pressure on the cervix due to gravity, it may also just end up tiring out the mother. Moms need all of their energy and strength during labor and delivery.
Enjoy a moderate walk for exercise and fresh air but don’t go too crazy overexerting yourself in case you go into labor later that night or while on the walk.
How to Induce Labor Safely
While many wives tales regarding labor induction aren’t actually factual, there are some ways that you can naturally induce labor safely.
These may not work for everyone and there’s no guaranteed method but these are very low-risk activities that are good for you anyway.
Getting a pedicure can not only give you a confidence boost but it may also help you go into labor. Because of the pressure points triggered during the process, this low-risk method may actually spark labor contractions.
Intercourse is another popular method for inducing labor. While there’s no guarantee this will work, the prostaglandins in semen may soften the cervix.
Can Labor Induction Cause Birth Injury?
Most of the time a labor induction is a safe and routine way to bring a new baby into the world. There are several reasons why it may make sense medically for a mom to induce labor.
When done correctly, labor inductions can save the life of a mother and her baby.
If a mother experiences a failed labor induction, mom and baby could face some serious birth injuries. If a labor induction fails to progress for any reason, problems can arise here too. Oxygen deprivation and excessive bleeding are both risks that can cause injury to a mother and newborn baby.
Birth injuries are serious and can have lifelong effects. If you’ve ever suffered a birth injury, get some guidance and reach out to a birth injury lawyer for some help and a free consultation.