This is a question SO many women face at the end of their pregnancy, and everyone should consider the benefits AND the risks.
Most often inductions are considered when you are 'over due'. Please read this article on Evidence Based Birth to learn about post dates and when the average baby is born. Also this article about "when does labour need to be induced?" .
40 weeks and 5 days is the average. Also we don't know that EVERY woman ovulates day 14 of their cycle, we actually know that they DON'T... there are many variations.
A woman who ovulates day 17 of their cycle, and conceives day 18 would be 4 days PAST that average 40+5, they would then be 41+2.
Add on genetic predisposition to carry post dates, any external stress factors, high BMI, small measuring baby, and a host of other things, and that could mean your body isn't truly ready until 42 weeks (or later!)
There are some benefits to induction:
or.... are there? In research this article, I cannot say that I actually found ANY benefits to induction of labour.
These could be presented, but argued:
- my labour started, and wouldn't have otherwise (ok, yes, I myself *Lara* had my water broken at 42 weeks because the every other day ultrasounds and non-stress tests and scare tactics about my baby being stillborn were getting old. Also I wanted to have my home birth, and that was the last day I was 'allowed'. To this day I still wish I knew when I actually would have spontaneously began labour.)
- my baby is measuring big ( ultrasounds can be off 1lb in either direction, it isn't an exact estimate in baby size)
- you WANT to be induced - if you are 'Done' with being pregnant, and emotionally ready. You don't want to risk having that 'big baby' or going 'overdue'. It is a choice, and it IS yours to make.
There are many risks with induction:
-hyper stimulation of the uterus ( when using Pitocin) can cause stress to the baby.
-additional interventions needed (ex.constant fetal monitoring, highly likelihood of needing forceps or vacuum)
-need for additional pain control (Pitocin can make contractions stronger)
-failed induction leading to emergency caesarian (often because of failure to progress)
Things to consider:
a: we don't have a perfect scientific view of how long is the average pregnancy (because we induce people for post dates MOST of the time)
b: what the outcome of post dates babies are because we don't let it happen often enough to REALLY know and research
c: your body does know when to go into labour. Baby position and your bodies readiness DOES matter. Inductions are a great tool if medically warranted, but the definition of that is loose.
Questions to ask:
-personal history - mothers, sisters, aunts, how long have they carried, did they have inductions. Ask about and see what your family has found genetically.
-medical providers thoughts - is your midwife/ob willing to let you go beyond 42 weeks, if so, what would that look like. Many midwifes will not have you deliver at home beyond 42 weeks. Many OB's are not even comfortable waiting beyond 41. DO YOUR RESEARCH. If avoiding induction is something important to you then choosing a provider that supports your wishes matters. You need to feel like your team is on board with your desires, not fighting you.
-cervix favourability - an induction is more likely to be successful when you cervix is favourable, meaning anterior, soft, pliable. If your cervix is high, and closed, your induction is likely going to be much more difficult for your body to jump on board.
What I really want to hit home for you with this post is that its a choice, you can educated yourself on the research and options and have discussions with your birth team about what you want to do for you and your baby.