What happens if my baby is overdue? Should I be induced?
The 1st thing to note is that only 5% of women go into spontaneous labour on their due dates,
so really your due date is a guestimate at best, for various reasons.
2nd you should ask your doctor how long they are willing to let you wait before they want to induce you.
3rd you should decide how important it is to you to give your baby more time to come out when they are ready.
4th you can ask your care providers “is this an emergency or do we have time to discuss it?” just a gentle reminder to them that you want to be involved in the decision making process
5th you should be informed about the pros and cons of induction so that you can then answer the question “Should I be Induced?” for yourself.
The standard reasons given for recommending induction of labour are primarily when there's concern for a mother's health or a baby's health.
• Approaching two weeks beyond the due date, and labor hasn't started naturally, after 42 weeks it is thought that there is greater risk to the baby.
• Water has broken, but labor hasn't begun. When the water has broken a baby should ideally be delivered within 36 hours, because of the higher risk of infection.
• There is an infection in the uterus.
• Baby has stopped growing at the expected pace.
• There's not enough amniotic fluid surrounding the baby.
• The mother has diabetes or a high blood pressure disorder.
• The placenta peels away from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery — either partially or completely.
• The mother has a medical condition such as kidney disease.
Often the reason given for recommending induction is to reduce the chances of stillbirth. Whilst stillbirth is understandably one of the biggest concerns for all involved, statistically the risk is usually low and needs to be balanced against the risk of inducing labour, which include:
• Induction could have a knock-on effect of increasing the chances of needing an assisted birth, having a tear or even ending up with a C Section (25% of women who are induced while the cervix is not ripened, may need C-Sections).
• Induction in most cases also make contractions stronger and more intense earlier on, often resulting in a greater need for pain relief. This can often end up with the mother either being advised to take the epidural or eventually requesting it, which then severely limits the chances of her moving during the rest of her labour or birthing her baby in an alternative birth position. Therefore, the mother experiences a cascade effect of intervention and her birth turns out very different.
• The medications used to induce labor — oxytocin or a prostaglandin — might cause abnormal or excessive contractions, which can diminish a baby's oxygen supply and lower their heart rate.
• Some methods of labor induction, such as rupturing the membranes, might increase the risk of infection for both mother and baby.
• Labor induction increases the risk that the uterine muscles won't properly contract after giving birth, which can lead to serious bleeding after delivery.
• Uterine Rupture is a rare but serious complication in which the uterus tears open along the scar line from a prior C-section or major uterine surgery. An emergency C-section is needed to prevent life-threatening complications. In a worst case scenario, the uterus might need to be removed.
In summary, being informed, weighing your options up with your doctor and getting a second opinion should you be offered an induction before or on your due date, should all be part of the process you go through when making such an important decision.