Christmas is NOT a good reason for an induction
Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day, heck, any "holiday"/weekend/significant national day is NOT a good reason for induction!
Induction can be useful for mother and baby's welfare, but as childbirth becomes more "mechanicalized", and non-evidence based practices become a normalcy, it is really important your care provider provides you with the facts on induction.
Statements such as "We'll book your induction on XXth of X month." are not allowing for maternal informed decision making, and are also are ethically and morally inept.
Other "red flag" statements to be VERY wary of:
"We could have that baby out in time for Christmas."
"I'm away for holidays, so that baby better be here before the end of the week, or we'll be inducing you."
Not only are they paternalistic, non-evidence based reason for induction, but they also are framed in a way that limits discussion needed to uphold bodily autonomy and your rights to make informed decisions for you and your baby.
The decision to be induced is solely the woman's decision- it is the practitioners role to provide unbiased information on the benefits, risks, alternatives (which in the case of induction would be to allow labour to spontaneously start) and doing nothing.
Why is non-medically necessary induction such an issue?
All intervention creates a "hormone gap"- which is the difference between amounts of essential birth hormones such as oxytocin and prolactin that happen in physiological birth, and the actual hormones levels that occur in a labour/birth with intervention (lower hormone levels because of the interruption to the process). These hormones are necessary bonding hormones between mother and baby, play an important part of uterine contractions during and after birth and also breastfeeding. Dr Sarah Buckley is an expert in this domain. You'll find more
A huge issue with routine induction is the "cascade of intervention" that follows. This is because one thing often leads to more intervention, which can have increased risks. Syntocynin is the synthetic hormone given to women to stimulate labour (there are less invasive "starts" to induction including cervical gel and balloons, as well is stretch and sweeps), but "synto" is a routine drug administered to stimulate contractions. It is often used in discussions interchangeably with oxytocin (our naturally occurring love hormone which also is responsible for contraction), but synto has some risks (exactly why it should be used only when necessary) including: - hyperstimulation of your uterus - higher uptake of epidurals (which can slow labour and increase risk of instrumental use and 3rd and 4th degree tears)
- fetal distress
- increase risk of cesarean
You can find more information on this here:
(scroll to the bottom on the page for several evidence-based blogs on induction).
A normal gestation range of 37-42 weeks is expected in pregnancies. Babies don't know the significance of "important" days such as Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Eve/Day, yet Christmas Day is the least likely day a baby will be born. This isn't that surprising, given the most decent report (from 2018) from AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) showed a staggering 43% induction rate. Now, the usual rhetoric of women being "older, fatter, sicker" can't even be applied here- these are the healthiest women with the healthiest babies.
The festive season is a time to rejoice and spend with loved ones- what an awesome way to spend this amazing time of year- birthing new life- if and when baby decides it's the right day for a birthday.
From a Christmas Day Baby. xx