Well, if it is, the answer is clear : No, no, and yet again no.
The research-based evidence ( now that in itself is a topic for a blog someday, now, isn’t it…) is out and clear (not that most obstetricians pay any attention to it anyway). And even if there hadn’t been any studies done at all, not one, about inducing labor – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that, for the most part, babies born to healthy mothers will come when they are ready. And to be so presumptuous as to think we know best the time that a woman’s body should go into labor – and a baby be born – is – well, it’s pompous, arrogant and… well, presumptuous. Baby is resting, growing, getting itself in order – in order to be born – and we decide to blast the kid out because it’s getting to be the weekend, or because there is room in the schedule in the hospital roster, or because the drug companies are banging at the door waiting for payment forlast month’s inductions.
We will discuss what it means to be a healthy mother some other time. But I can tell you this right now: one does not learn how to become one by waiting in a waiting room for a half hour or more, and then getting seen by one’s “care” provider for six minutes, which is generally the amount of time pregnant women in this culture are seen by their obstetricians ( you know, the ob they have chosen who will most likely not be the one on call the night they go into labor anyway…). Nor is it by seeing a medical midwife – a mEdwife, for eleven to fifteen.
But then, time is money, as we all know.
Induction almost ALWAYS leads to a cesarean section. We all know this, and yet, we induce upwards of 40 percent of the time in this country. Why? Because it is convenient and lucrative for doctors and hospitals and because almost every woman who has been given a “due” date begins to feel as if she is SOOOOO ready to have this baby already that she will agree to having pig or bull semen stuck up her hoo-hoo (a medical term for sure – or, as I think Oprah Winfrey used to say — oh Oprah, you are so wonderful in so many ways except when it comes to understanding the importance of natural birth – vajayjays) – or ingest chemicals or drugs. When she has been duly convinced that her placenta is going to age/poop out/kill her baby she then becomes fearful, and will allow almost anything to be done to her to “get her baby out alive.” And when she is told that she is having an eleven pound baby, well, you had better induce right away, right? Little Cole was only eight twelve, but his mother was scheduled for a section because the ultrasound said he was going to be over eleven pounds. Bad ultrasound, you were very wrong that time – and have been SO many other times as well.
And what difference does it make – big babies can have little heads and little babies can have bigger heads and it is all about the heads and head position ( next blog! because all of that chubby stuff that adds weight to babies squishes when it comes out – babies were designed to be born!!
If a woman’s body is ready to have a baby, the woman will go into labor. If she is not in labor, there is no green light in her body, and it is like trying to get a square peg out of a round hole. If the baby is ready to be born, it will work together with that body and the signals will line up and the hormones will change and the cervix will ripen on its own. When I was training to become a midwife, I once asked one of my revered mentors, who had attended thousands of births, how long she would wait for a woman’s body to go into labor, she replied “Until the woman’s body goes into labor.” The longest I have waited is, let’s see, three weeks and two days ( Hi Leslie, such a lovely ten pound fourteen ounce VBAC you had…) no – wait – Bonnie, you were five weeks past the date that the ultrasound gave you as your due date, weren’t you — and you birthed on the one day you hoped your baby would not be born – twenty minutes to midnight on Halloween! Lovely home birth for you, though, wasn’t it… a big, beautiful baby boy.
As midwife Gloria LeMay reminds us, inductions and sections go hand in hand.
Kind of like bull semen and cervixes?