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Induction of labour - interfering with mother nature

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
Induction of labour - interfering with mother nature
My sister Skyped me from England and asked me whether she should have her pregnancy induced at 38 or 39 weeks, or if it was OK to wait till her due date?

Sharp intake of breath followed from me...

Now my sister is well and healthy. She ran long distances prior to pregnancy and eats very healthily.

I answered her questions both as a midwife and as her sister. I want the best outcome for her pregnancy and I want a good outcome for her labour.

When I first trained as a midwife 24 years ago, I saw little medical interference via induction of labour. This only occurred in rare situations - pre-eclampsia, very post dates - in those days Term+10 or Term+14 was quite common.

Our stillbirth/ neonatal death rate was very similar to today.

We know that post term the placenta starts to deteriorate and cannot last forever.

But surely there is a happy medium.

I went back to work as a midwife, last year, in a very large teaching maternity unit in Sydney and oh my goodness, the changes in induction rates and those caesarian section rates (50% on the private maternity ward) were not too different on the public ward.

In those 24 years I saw a rapid increase in  interfering with mother nature. Inducing at exactly term or 38 to 39 weeks. Not always the medical fault. Sometimes it is the mother and the window in her diary.

As women we have lost faith in our bodies and let the medical establishment take control.

Twenty years ago in Manchester our section rate was 15-18% and we felt almost ashamed. We wanted to reduce even that.

We know that having intervention, like induction increases the rate of epidurals and instrumental deliveries and then the rate of caesarians.

Moving to large medicalised maternity units is not the answer. My sister has the chance to birth at a small midwife led unit - Helme Chase in Kendal, Cumbria, England.

I've told her to take that option. That's where she was born. Experienced midwives are worth their weight in gold and I trust my sister to birth there.

I'd be interested to look at their transfer rate to the nearest large centre at Lancaster and the caesarian rate currently. In 2005 they had 290 births and 77 transfers.

If it's all going well and you'd like a normal birth, trust your midwife led unit. They're extremely well trained. Properly prepared for an active birth, it can be very empowering for women.

It's the beginning of your journey as a mother and parent.

Reclaim your bodies and trust in your midwife.

This is me and little sis. I was always the older very bossy sister!

I'll let you know what this space...not long now sis.

Due date the 23rd April...must get that crocheted pram blankie finished...



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