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  • Writer's pictureKaleem Joy, Licensed Midwife

Birth Inductions- Are They Really Needed?

Nurse putting medication in IV

Birth Inductions are so common in the hospital setting for a variety of reasons. Here are a few to get us started:

1.     Post dates: up until recently postdates was 42 weeks. Next it was 41 weeks and now many are being induced at 39 weeks.

2.     Pre- Eclampsia or PE: elevated blood pressure at or above 140/90 begins the cascade of interventions from medication, induction and even surgery.

3.     Baby is growing to big: to avoid a baby who they think may be too big and have difficulty being born vaginally if allowed to grow, they recommend induction

4.     Baby too small: some babies may have a challenge growing if nutrition is not a focus or the placenta is compromised. Induction is the recommendation to birth baby before baby is term.

5.     VBAC: many practitioners want a women planning a VBAC to deliver before she is term or 41 weeks.

6.     Convenience of the provider or your tired of being pregnant


What is an induction for birth? There are a variety of interventions which can be included in an induction depending on provider and what your body is doing.


Foley Bulb induction: If for instance the cervix in not ripe or soft or open more than 1 cm, there can be a tube inserted into the opening which has a balloon attached to it. Once the tube is inserted the balloon is inflated with water. There is another balloon on the tube outside of the cervix which is also inflated with water.  This is called a foley bulb induction. It causes weight and pressure on the cervix by gravity which helps the prostiglandins to increase and the cervix to respond and open. Often you can go home and return when it falls out around 4-5 cm.


Prostiglandin gel: This birth induction may be applied to your cervix to ripen it. It can start crampy short contractions to help get the engine running. Sometimes you can go home and wait for contractions to get regular, sometimes they will keep you in the hospital to monitor you.


Pitocin IV: This is the synthetic drug especially for birth inductions that works to mimic your natural occurring oxytocin. They start with a low dose and increase it at regular intervals until you are contracting every 3 mins. It usually is for the whole labor, birth and after as well. You will have a monitor on continuously to assess your contractions and your baby's heart tones until your baby is born.Pitocin is abnormally controlling your birth and babies can be overwhelmed by it and have distress. The synthetic oxytocin does not go through the blood brain barrier to tell your body to create help for discomfort in the same way your natural oxytocin does.


Natural Inductions: Herbs such as Black cohosh and cotton root tincture. Homeopathics such as Caulophyllum and cimicifuga. Castor oil mixed in chocolate ice cream with almond of peanut butter. Cervical stimulation. Using a breast pump to increase oxytocin and bring on contractions among several other natural ways that midwives have used for centuries. Some can be done on your own and others are best with your midwife who can monitor your baby and your progress and adjust as needed. Usually once your labor gets going you won't need these any longer.


Birth Inductions can be a useful tool in the right situation when mom and baby both require the support and a cause for complications when used unneccesarily.


The heart of this blog post is to notice the reasons for induction and that it's no walk in the park to have one. Inductions are a complete management of your labor in a hospital setting. In an out of hospital setting it is the kick start to your body taking over and finishing the birth.


The key here is prevention for Birth inductions so they are not really needed. They bring a host of possible and often probable complications including surgery. Prevention of the need for an induction is where we will head from here.


In my Childbirth Education classes and the full Bundle of Joy Program, you learn about nutrition, supplements, movement and increasing a flexible pelvis. You gain insight to understanding tests and ultrasounds benefits and risks. You gain awareness of the truth about birth and your ability to be strong, capable and have progress in an empowering mindset. Education is the beginning to help you have the information to prevent the issues of high blood pressure or baby in unfavorable position or premature baby or to prevent a repeat c/section too.


When your body grows enough extra blood to support the pregnancy, your blood pressure does better. When your iron levels are above 10.5 you bleed less. When your pelvis is flexible and fluid allowing your baby to be in an optimal position, labor can move forward well and you feel strong and courageous. When you have trust and support instead of fear or worry, your mind helps your hormones to work better. That is just normal physiological birth. When you leave your babies cord alone until after the placenta is born there is less bleeding and baby transitions smoothly. And.. and .. and.. there is so much more to learn.


Inductions are not something to opt for as birth is a transformational experience and is meant to positively change your life and your babies. The cascade of events which occurs are with inductions is numerous. My phrase is “ if you complicate birth, birth becomes complicated”. Birth is a normal part of life and it lives within you. Your baby is expecting a normal natural non-interventive birth. Are you? Start by enrolling in my Bundle of Joy Complete Premium Program so you can have the support of a midwife and the education to help you make informed decision. May you be empowered to create the experience you would love. Kaleem❤️

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