The Risks of Induced Labor

Your pregnancy can be one of the most wondrous journeys you have as a woman. While giving life to a human being is exciting, it is also fairly common for mothers to fear the worst, especially when they are nearing their due date. Some people get scared at the thought of childbirth and going into labor. Based on the data released by the World Health Organization (WHO), over 800 women die each day due to pregnancy and childbirth complications, which is alarming, as many of these cases are preventable. This is why it is crucial to have skilled care that you can rely on during your pregnancy.

There may be instances when your doctor chooses to induce your labor process. It could be because you are late into your pregnancy, and need to deliver your baby to prevent fetal distress and death, or because you are suffering from pregnancy-related maternal diseases such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia (high blood pressure) that can endanger your and your baby’s life. Whatever the reason, you should be aware that labor induction has some associated risks. Here are some of them:

Increased Birth Complications

Since induced labor can mean intervening with childbirth’s natural processes, it can result in birth complications. Breaking the amniotic sac or using medication to stimulate contractions can cause fetal distress, mainly since these methods often cause stronger and more forceful contractions. If not performed appropriately, induced labor can cause shoulder dystocia or increased heart rate of the baby. Often, this makes the labor process much more difficult and painful for the mother.

Use of Aided Childbirth

Induced labor can also cause babies to settle into a position that may make it harder for them to descend into the birth canal. In such cases, doctors may need to use aided childbirth. In some cases, they will give epidural anesthesia, which may result in the mother’s failure to push the baby out. When this happens, doctors would resort to using forceps or vacuum to help extract the baby, which can also cause further complications.

Increased Risk for Cesarean Delivery

Inducing the labor process does not mean that the mother can easily give birth. And this is something that doctors have to explain to the parents. Inducing the labor does not guarantee that the mother will not have to undergo a C-section. In fact, the risk is higher. For example, if the mother’s amniotic sac was manually broken, and the mother fails to deliver the baby, doctors must immediately perform a C-section to lessen the risk of infection. Studies revealed that mothers induced at 39 weeks are more likely to suffer from complications of childbirth, including stillbirth and fetal death.

Need for Intensive Care

Babies born due to induced labor may mean that they weren’t developed enough to send signals to the mother to start the labor process. And this can mean that they may need to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit for further observation and special care until they are ready and developed enough.

Babies born prematurely, even if it’s two weeks, may have difficulty breathing or feeding. They may also have trouble with their body temperature and heightened risk for newborn jaundice, which can cause further complications. When this happens, there may be a delay in initiating their contact with their parents, and this can be a stressful experience.

If your doctor advises induced labor, ask questions and clarifications. While there are risks, inducing the labor has some benefits as well, particularly when timed right. If you want to know more about your rights for induced labor injuries, click here.

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