As promised, this will be the first in what hopefully becomes a long line of posts about pregnancy, childbirth, and other issues affecting childbearing women and families. I feel like having years to prepare for pregnancy and birth always leaves us infertiles feeling a lot more educated than the average quickie preggos, so I'm hoping that along with using this blog for share private things about my private parts, I can also help educate those who stumble across my site and spread my passion around even more. I know my blog has already transitioned away from infertility quite a bit and I gave a warning post, so hopefully everyone enjoys this random bit of information. Since there was an article published today in the New York Times about March of Dimes new campaign "Healthy Babies Are Worth The Wait", I figured it was a good time to open up the discussion.
I know for me, since pregnancy has been the main goal for so long, it's kinda hard to think about actually wanting it to end early, but having been privy to the most emotional, inner thoughts of many pregnancy women, I know that at some point, it really does start to feel impossible. Between aches and pains, desire to finally meet that baby, feeling like a boat, and all the people constantly telling you how you look like you may pop, asking when you're finally gonna have that baby, and giving you tons of (usually unwanted) advice about how to get labor going, I know it has to get harder and harder with every passing day to resist the temptation your doctor is likely giving you (telling you to do) at every single appointment. Even some of the most popular pregnancy books on the shelves make induction seem like a big, shiny gift where you get to pick your baby's birthday, enter the hospital in a zen calm, and everything will be rainbows and sunshine. Rarely, if ever, does anyone give you both sides of the story, including all the risks involved.
Before I talk about the risks of induction, I'd like to talk about some of the "medical" reasons given by doctors on why you should induce. Very frequently, women consider their due dates to be set in stone. I actually hate that we called it an due date, like it's an assignment and you'll be counted off somehow if it's late. Medically, it's referred to as the estimated due date (EDD), or in older books, the estimated time of confinement (EDC), yet still so many doctors choose to overlook that "estimated" part of it. Only 5% of babies actually come on their due date, so it's really not an accurate estimate at all in most cases. Even the strongest willed of women are scared into induction when that 42 week mark comes along. Suddenly, the doctor won't "let" you go any farther. The book Born in America by Marsden Wagner, MD reviewed research published in the 80s that found "no significant increase in neonatal mortality rates after 42 weeks and only a slight increase after 43 weeks (pg 94)," but still inductions have been on the rise ever since. Another small study in the 90s of 1800 women who went beyond 42 weeks once again showed no increase in neonatal mortality and no increase of complications. Now, only about 3% of pregnancies will go beyond 42 weeks and only about 10% of babies that are more than 43 weeks get into trouble. So all across our country, women are being induced all because of a 0.3% chance that something may go wrong. That is not evidenced based medicine being practiced. That is the practice of convenient medicine.
A major concern has been that the placenta ages, though no one seems to have any research to back this up. I know of women who have had calcifications on their placentas at 37 weeks and some who had huge, healthy placentas at 43 weeks.
That's all I have for now and must return to work again now. I leave you with a lovely 44 week birth story. Stay tuned for a whole post about Pitocin, another on epidurals, and one on books to read and ones to burn (or avoid all together.)