Talk to any natural birth advocate and he or she is bound to start in on the evils of labor induction. For years, the party line has been that one intervention during labor and delivery just snowballs and leads to another. While this may have a kernel of truth to it, a new report published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concludes that being induced doesn't increase your odds of the ultimate intervention – a Cesarean.
This report should come as welcome news for any expectant mom. While labor induction is hardly ideal, it's certainly a relief to know that kick-starting contractions doesn't automatically sign you up for surgery as well.
The analysis, compiled by the School of Medicine at the University of Naples Federico, Italy, studied 844 women in the maternity ward. Each of these women had uncomplicated pregnancies and full-term births. From this group, researchers found no correlation between induction and a greater likelihood of C-sections.
The researchers broke down their study even further, compiling data from women who delivered between 39 and 40 weeks and 6 days. None of these women experienced their water breaking spontaneously before labor. The study's findings have many in awe, as even women who were induced earlier – at 39 weeks – showed no greater risk for landing on the operating table.
In fact – and shield your eyes if you need to, natural birth advocates – induction at 39 weeks seemed to have several benefits for both mom and baby. First off, moms who were medically induced just days shy of their due dates experienced slightly less blood loss during birth, adding up to a total of 50 millimeters saved. Next, babies who were born to induced moms saw fewer instances of meconium staining, which is a potentially fatal situation for newborn babies. The longer your little one remains in utero post due date, the greater the risk he or she has for meconium staining, which is a fancy phrase that boils down to this: Your baby's fecal matter making its way into the amniotic sac, raising the likelihood of infections and serious complications. Lastly, babies born to induced moms were more likely to be lower in weight – but only marginally so, by about 5 ounces.
While it's reassuring to know that a dose of labor-inducing Pitocin won't ultimately land you in the operating room, that's no reason to push for your baby to come sooner. In fact, urging your doctor to perform an early delivery may have its own set of issues.
But, what do you think? Is this news calming and empowering? Share your thoughts in the comments below.