Inducing labor poses risks

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: October 16th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

You can’t sleep. Your back aches. Your feet are swollen. Your energy is low.

No, you haven’t just run a marathon. You’re just tired of being pregnant. It’s no wonder some women want their doctor to induce labor.

New research from Saint Louis University reveals this might not be such a good idea for mom or baby. The reason? Women whose labor is induced or take medication to speed up contractions may be at greater risk than those who go into labor spontaneously. Plus, they have more of a chance of developing a serious infection called chorioamnionitis [core-ee-am-nee-oh-NIGH-tiss] that attacks the amniotic fluid and placental tissues. It may lead to infections in the newborn baby and severe complications in the mother, such as abnormal bleeding, sepsis and even future infertility.

Risk of infection isn’t the only reason to avoid elective induction of labor. The baby’s due date might be wrong or the woman’s cervix might not be ready.

Still, your doctor may have medical reasons for inducing labor… reasons like your water broke, your baby is two weeks past due date, or you’re more than forty-two weeks into your pregnancy. Other reasons include a high-risk pregnancy that is, your baby has growth problems or you have high blood pressure or gestational diabetes.

Unless your doctor suggests induction, researchers advise letting Mother Nature take her course. They urge moms-to-be to relax and enjoy pregnancy and remember It won’t be long before middle-of-the-night feedings make the sleep-challenged nights of pregnancy mighty attractive.