Does Induction Really Lead to a C-Section?
A new study debunks the belief for women electing to induce labor that they will end up with a C-section.
As pregnant women get closer to delivery, many begin taking birthing classes, creating birth plans, doing research, and getting advice from friends and family about their childbirth experiences, all in the hopes of taking charge of their own childbirth, to feel more in control of an endeavor that seems to be very daunting. What most expecting mothers don’t want is a C-section, though, and when told that induction will most likely lead to a cesarean section, many women wince at the thought of being induced. However, this week the Obstetrics and Gynecology Journal released new findings to debunk what has been said for many years related to C-sections.
Their study found that women who elected to be induced verse women who waited longer to go into labor on their own, ended up with fewer C-sections than their counterparts. It is important to note that this study looked at women who were full term (37-40 weeks), who chose induction themselves, and who have not had previous C-sections.
For women having their second child, only 3% of those who had elective induction ended up with cesarean sections, while 7% of women who waited to labor on their own resulted in C-sections. For women having their first child, of those who chose induction, 18-25% of them ended up with a caesarian birth, while women who waited for labor to start on their own, 26-29% had C-sections. (Percentages vary due to looking at gestational periods separately.)
What the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded was that, “Elective induction of labor is associated with decreased odds of cesarean delivery when compared with expectant management.”
I was extremely shocked to hear this report. For the past 20 or so years, C-section rates have been on the rise, and I’ve read and heard over and over that one of the culprits of this number going up was because of inductions. I recall crying after my 39 week appointment when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, where my OB said I wasn’t progressing much and possible talk of induction was soon to come. I didn’t want to be induced because I didn’t want a C-section, and was grateful my labor began on its own days later, and I was able to have a vaginal birth.
However, this time around, I’m measuring big. I was three weeks ahead at my last visit. I knew I was feeling bigger this time around, but I thought it was just second baby syndrome. Of course I began to worry about what my labor and delivery outcome might be because of this. My OB assured me there was nothing to worry about, and that I might just have a chunk on my hands this time, as Abby was born at 6lbs 14oz. Or perhaps baby sister was just lying oddly, causing my uterus to stretch.
We are in a wait and see pattern right now, and I was told that if I continue to measure big, nothing would be done till 39 weeks anyways. Of course I did some research and found that the College of Obstetrics and Gynecology also recommends women not be induced until 39 weeks if there was no medical reason, which makes me feel good knowing my OB is up on these recommendations. Still, though, until I read this recent study this week, I was still so worried about what induction would mean for my desires to have a natural childbirth.
I’m still hoping to not have to be induced. I’ve already decided to start my maternity leave at 38.5 weeks, instead of waiting another week because of how hard it’s already become for me physically to get through some work days since the school year began. And my last week of work as a teacher will be a lot of sitting as we have parent conferences for three out of the five days. I’m hopeful these last two weeks will provide me with rest that will not cause talk of induction to happen sooner.
Either way, my head and heart are a bit more settled after reading these findings. If I do have a bigger baby to squeeze out of my five foot frame or if my body just can’t handle the extra largeness that may ensue, I’m not as afraid to entertain thoughts of induction this time around. And who knows, this baby could come early and I won’t even need to worry about it.
Overall, I feel like this is great news for women who fret over the decision to elect to be induced between 37-40 weeks. I believe so many may view induction as a form of defeat, but hopefully now they won’t. They will now know their odds of having a C-section due to an elective induction are actually lower than those women who decide to wait it out. Studies like these are truly empowering.
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