The Holidays are not a reason for induction

Posted 24 Dec 2022

Hey, have you noticed that there seem to be more babies born around the holiday season? No, you aren’t seeing things, this is because induction rates rise around the holiday season, specifically around  Christmas and New years. It’s a really common trend, and it’s kind of scary when you think about it.

Let’s talk about why the rise in induction rates.`

With the holiday season around the corner, women may be recommended or feel pressure from family members or their caregiver team to schedule an induction.

Some of the reasons can include:

  • The added stress that comes with the holiday season and the pressure this puts on women near the end of their pregnancy
  • Suggesting their induction be scheduled in sooner to ensure their chosen obstetrician is available 
  • They don’t want to spend the holidays in a hospital
  • Don’t want their baby born on Christmas Day or New Years’ Eve
  • Fear of staff shortages over the holiday season

But here’s the thing, inducing labour carries its own set of risks and complications, and induction increases the likelihood of further medical intervention as it creates a cascade effect. 

For example, administering Syntocinon to induce labour tends to bring on more painful contractions. This is because contractions come on more intensely and the brain doesn’t simultaneously release copious amounts of endorphins as it would with spontaneous labour (endorphins are the body’s natural pain relief). This then increases the likelihood of women requesting an epidural which restricts movement and it can go on, possibly resulting in a cesarean.

 Research has demonstrated that babies born through spontaneous vaginal labor experience fewer short-term and long-term complications, such as asthma, obesity, and diabetes, compared to babies delivered through induction or C-sections.

Prior to considering induction for the sake of convenience, it’s paramount that we place the utmost importance on the well-being of both the mother and the baby. Equipping women with comprehensive information enables them to make well-informed decisions. Our commitment is to ensure the best possible outcomes while respecting each individual’s choices.

Furthermore, the normal range of labour is 37-42 weeks, and baby knows when they are ready to enter the world. Due dates are in fact guess dates and only about 5% of women will give birth on their due date. Babies grow at different rates and women may give birth on either side of their due date. 39 weeks being the median gestational age in Australia. This means if their due date is inaccurate baby could be born before they are ready. 

The Holiday Season is not a good reason for induction.

Inducing labour is a serious decision that isn’t to be taken lightly, and to only be done when medically necessary. As a society, we need to have a birth culture shift and it’s time for  healthcare providers to have more open and honest discussions with women and their birth partner’s about the benefits and drawbacks of induction, and make sure that it’s only being done when it’s truly necessary. The convenience of the holiday season doesn’t trump the health and well-being of mother and baby.

There are several steps that can be taken to inform women about the risks of inductions and support them in feeling empowered to have a natural birth and make a more informed decision about their birth. Some of these include:

  1. Providing accurate and unbiased information: It’s important for women to have access to accurate and unbiased information about the risks and benefits of induction, as well as the option of natural childbirth. This can help them make informed decisions about their childbirth experience.
  2. Encouraging open and honest communication: Women should feel comfortable discussing their childbirth options with their healthcare providers and have a safe space to ask questions and do what is best for them and their babies. 
  3. Offering support and resources: Women should have access to resources and support to help them prepare for natural childbirth, such as childbirth education classes example Hypnobirthing Classes, support groups, pregnancy coaches and doulas.
  4. Respecting women’s choices: Let’s empower women to make their own decisions about their childbirth experience and have their choices respected by their healthcare providers.

By taking these steps, we can work towards educating women about the risks of inductions and supporting them in feeling empowered to make a more informed decision about their birth. It’s important to prioritise the health and well-being of mothers and their babies and to respect the choices women make about their childbirth experience. It’s time we make a culture shift and educate the importance of how the holidays are not a medical reason to induce.

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