Many moms now don't even make it to their due dates, and it's not because their bodies go into labor. Inducing labor is so common now that some women have doctors who start their labors before their due dates have even arrived. In fact, this growing trend has led many women to ask for inductions so they can plan the birth around their schedules.
While there are reasons for inductions, it many cases it's best to let the baby call the shots on when the pregnancy ends. Inducing early out of convenience or because that's a doctor's standard policy doesn't make sense because babies are still growing vital organs and learning how to use them in those last days in the womb. Lungs can be compromised easily if a baby is born too early.
Women often try to induce naturally if they fear the doctor is going to force a medicated induction on them soon. They use castor oil, spicy foods, or other tricks to try to start labor. However, mom's body won't respond unless it's ready, so while mom can hope to go into labor before Pitocin is introduced, it's not always possible.
Just because inductions are common doesn't mean they are easy, and women should know that there are crazy parts to the process. From the intensity of the contractions to the outcome of the procedure, many women have been surprised about what inductions offers. Before allowing an induction, women need to know what other moms find insane about the experience.
15 Jumping The Gun
Many women are surprised to find that despite a due date, doctors tend to want to induce early, especially if the baby is due on the weekend. Doctors used to induce so early that a new recommendation was put in place that said babies should be allowed to go to at least 39 weeks unless an emergency occurred. This was put into place to protect babies' lungs.
Some doctors don't heed this advice, and moms-to-be are often surprised to find themselves hooked up to Pitocin before their nine months are up.
It's okay to ask a doctor why inducing so early is necessary, as well as to demand an explanation if they are vague. Unless doctors have a reason, mom has research on her side. Plus, many women actually go over their due dates the first time around. They are closely monitored, but as long as the baby is okay, they shouldn't be forced into labor.
14 Drug Misuse And Crazy Risks
Before Pitocin, many doctors will use Cytotec to try to get mom's labor going. Cytotec can be taken orally or put in mom's lady bits to start labor. Sometimes it works and other times Pitocin is still needed because it doesn't. Here's the crazy part: Cytotec is not meant to be used to induce labor.
Cytotec is approved as a medication to treat ulcers, not bring on labor. It's commonly used for inductions, but many women take it not knowing the risks. Women who take Cytotec are more likely to experience uterine rupture, a condition that can kill both mom and the baby quickly.
Most hospitals don't allow moms to have vaginal births after C-sections(VBACs) due to the one percent increase in uterine rupture. However, they will voluntarily give women Cytotec, a drug known to cause the same problem, just to get labor moving. There's not much crazier than that.
13 Contractions From Hell
Fun fact: Pitocin contractions are not the same as regular contractions. Regular contractions are painful, obviously, but the body's hormones are giving mom what she needs to produce contractions she can manage.
When Pitocin is administered, mom's contractions intensify. Besides the contraction-causing hormones running through her body, mom now has a synthetic version of oxytocin coursing through her veins, and there's no way that's not going to affect her pain level.
Women describe their labor being much more intense than they expected due to Pitocin, and women who were already having contractions report a spike in pain when the synthetic hormone is introduced. It made mom much more uncomfortable, and finding positions where mom could manage her pain became harder.
Due to increased pain, many women who are hoping to avoid epidurals cave to receiving them because things just get so intense. Managing the pain on their own with Pitocin in the mix feels impossible.
12 Thanks For Nothing
Speaking of epidurals, ever heard a woman mention that they don't always work? That's a possibility in any situation, but for a woman who has Pitocin running through her veins, the epidural not working feels very personal.
Women have reported receiving epidurals, only to have half of their lower half go numb while the other half did not. Others say the epidural had no effect, and that their horrible Pitocin-induced contractions continued to attack them throughout labor and delivery.
There are other drugs mom can try, but many of them will make mom drowsy or less responsive, making it harder for mom to take cues from her body or feel like she is completely aware of what is going on. However, these drugs may be better than dealing with insanely hard contractions. Once the Pitocin is in mom's system, it can't be removed, and some nurses and doctors will just keep loading mom up on the stuff until the baby arrives.
11 Mind Games
Women who have their labors induced by medical means don't just experience physical effects. Moms who needed Pitocin or Cytotec to get labor started may experience depression or anxiety. The reasons vary, but reports of induction sadness are real.
For some moms, the fact that their bodies didn't go into labor without assistance makes them feel bad about themselves. For others, inductions change the birth plans they wanted. An induction means mom will likely need help with pain management, and she will also be vulnerable to more interventions.
Because interventions can lead to surgical birth, a mom who wanted to avoid a C-section may find herself devastated when the induction fails and surgical birth is the only option. These feelings are hard to cope with while recovering from having a child and trying to get used to being a mom, but they are common among women who are induced.
10 Shocking Experiments
Before mom needs to be medically induced, she may try some crazy options to try to bring labor on without help from drugs. The Internet is full of ways to get labor started, but most aren't actually proven to work, and some come with substantial risks.
Drinking castor oil is a favorite of many moms-to-be, though it tastes horrible and can cause more than a baby to come out of mom's lower half. Castor oil can bring on hard contractions and explosive diarrhea, so it's a risk. Doctors advise against it because the contractions are so hard and the straining from stomach pain is so severe that it can be dangerous for the baby.
The only proven effective way to bring on labor without medication is by stimulating the nipples, usually by using a breast pump. This is effective in many cases, but it comes with risks. Stimulating the nipples releases plenty of labor hormones, but it can make contractions dangerously close together and strong, causing the baby distress. Doctors don't recommend using this technique unless mom is in the hospital being monitored.
9 Pure Relief
Though medical inductions come with risks, and most moms have mixed feelings about them, other women report feeling pure relief when finding out they were going to be induced.
Women who are planners may like the idea of having a date set for things to start moving, and women who hate being pregnant will enjoy circling a date on the calendar and knowing when it will be over. Some women just also like the element of surprise being gone. They worry less about their water breaking in the middle of the grocery store once they know they will be induced. Other moms are just glad to pick a date when they know their doctors will be available. It's hard to deal with whoever is on call.
However, putting a date on the calendar means nothing to a baby. A child will still come when he wants, and he can surprise mom before the induction date if he chooses.
8 NICU Time
Before the recommendation to let babies gestate at least 39 weeks, many babies were being taken even earlier. Though doctors know the lungs are last to develop and still immature in infants, they were taking the risks and hoping all would go well. For many babies, it came with a cost.
Babies taken too early may have to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit(NICU) because they can't breathe on their own or maintain their own body temperature. It's a scary experience and one that will keep mom and baby separated more than either of them will like.
Underdeveloped lungs can also increase the risks of other respiratory problems, and being born too early leaves children vulnerable to many developmental and health issues. If there's no reason to induce, don't chance a NICU stay for the little one. Meeting him early isn't as important as meeting him when he's fully developed and ready.
7 Hurry Up, Slow Down
For some women, all their bodies needed was that little extra push to get them started. Women whose bodies are on the verge of labor anyway may find the addition of induction drugs pushes them into crazy fast labor mode.
Women report feeling like the Pitocin kicked in, the contractions came crashing down, and then the baby was suddenly in their arms. Though it was painful, for some women it's quick, and they end up pretty happy with the short labors they are offered.
One woman also reports induction medications working quickly and in a rather loud way. Given Cytotec to induce labor and then released to roam around, mom was sitting in a restaurant with her husband when her water broke very soon after being given the Cytotec. When it broke, it made an actual popping sound that drew attention from the entire restaurant. Her labor was fast and smooth, but the restaurant floor was covered in fluid.
6 Early Cocktails
Pitocin is the main drug moms imagine when thinking about induction. They will probably receive Pitocin at some point during labor, but there is also the possibility that they will receive other induction interventions first, and moms report not being prepared for this craziness because no one warned them.
Besides Cytotec, there is Cervidil, a cream that can be placed on mom's lady bits to try to ripen the cervix. This is often given before Pitocin to make sure the cervix is ready to dilate before the contractions come on, and mom may be required to stay in the hospital a night before so the Cervidil can work.
Sweeping moms membranes is also a popular method for trying to get labor started, and it hurts. The doctor does this during a physical exam, and mom will feel pain while it is happening and possible cramps after the fact.
5 Bring On The Number Two
Many women worry about pooping during labor, and there's a good chance that their fears are founded. Around half of all women who give birth poop during the process, and though doctors and nurses are used to this, moms worry endlessly about pooping on the person trying to deliver their children.
Being induced is not going to make holding the poop in any easier. It's nearly impossible in the first place, and having harder contractions that will likely be closer together means mom probably won't have much choice in the matter. Because we use the same muscles to push out a baby as we do to poop, number twos during labor are hard to avoid.
Pitocin will likely lead to an epidural, and that will at least lead to mom not knowing she's pooped on anyone. With an epidural in, mom likely won't feel herself pass stool, and that's a bit of a mixed blessing.
4 Not Fast Enough
Despite being induced, women still find themselves feeling pressure to deliver quickly. Because drugs like Pitocin can put a baby into distress due to the intensity of the contractions, doctors like to see women get induced and then deliver as fast as possible. They will often give more Pitocin to a woman who isn't moving fast enough.
The problem is that labor is not controllable. If a woman isn't ready to birth, no amount of synthetic oxytocin will make her, and it definitely won't make her birth quickly if her body isn't on board with the plan. Babies come when they're ready, and inductions that work are the ones that are performed when mom's body is already showing signs of impending labor.
Adding to the already stressed feeling of having so many drugs coursing through the system, mom will start to feel pressure from hospital staff when her body doesn't work on their schedule. It may stall her labor or cause her to worry throughout the process.
3 The Plan Goes Awry
Inductions don't always work, and that's a fact. People assume that because they are performed so often they must be effective, but they are likely one of the contributors to the astronomical rise in C-sections over the last few years.
When a woman is induced with Pitocin, she's on the countdown. There's no going back, so if her body doesn't respond by producing a baby, the baby has to be retrieved. This is a lot of pressure, and it's too late to figure out that mom wasn't ready once the Pitocin is in mom's system.
Because of this, many women who are induced end up with surgical births. They come into the hospital hoping for a low-drama vaginal delivery and end up in an OR being cut open, oftentimes after they have already labored for hours. This change in plans is so crazy and shocking that many women have trouble coming to terms with it and suffer from birth trauma after the fact.
2 How Big Is This Kid?
Imagine being talked into an induction because everyone is concerned about the size of the baby. Mom has been told that he is so big he won't fit through the birth canal if she is allowed to be pregnant any longer. Feeling like induction is the best plan, mom lets herself be induced. When the baby comes out, he is less than eight pounds.
Women can actually give birth to very large babies. There are times mom's hips won't accommodate or the baby's body is in a bad position for a vaginal delivery, but for the most part our bodies do a good job of making room for a kid of any size.
It's also true that sonogram measurements, the kind they use to determine if mom's baby is too big, are often wrong. They can be two to three pounds off, meaning a woman who was told her baby is ten pounds has a child who is seven pounds after a painful induction and a possible surgical birth because of the induction.
1 All For Nothing
In the end, it's hard to tell if an induction actually works or if mom's body would have taken care of going into labor without help. That's something many moms find to be crazy about the whole experience. After being induced, many are left in horrible positions, receiving vacuum-assisted deliveries or C-sections because their bodies just weren't ready.
Other women are given a little help in starting labor, and suddenly they have a baby after a smooth vaginal delivery. Would that labor have occurred anyway in a couple of days without all the risks the drugs present? Probably.
That's the risk moms take when being medically induced. It should never be done for convenience or alarmist reasons, and women need to do their research and ask tons of questions before agreeing to inductions. In the end, it may not lead to the birth mom wanted for her or her baby.