With both of my pregnancies, I had to have my labor induced. On both occasions, my water broke over a month early. After waiting and waiting, my body just wouldn’t start having contractions on its own. Thus, I was induced with the drug called Pitocin. Before having a baby, it’s important to be informed about how Pitocin can impact your delivery.
Reasons to Induce Labor
In my case, I experienced preterm premature rupture of membranes (in other words my water broke early). Due to the loss of the protective barrier, both myself and my babies were at risk of infection. With my first, I waited about 24 hours before inducing labor. Other than not having contractions after your water has broken, the Mayo Clinic gives several other reasons to induce labor. For instance, you might be induced if “you’re approaching two weeks beyond your due date, and labor hasn’t started naturally.” Placental abruption, lack of amniotic fluid around baby, a deteriorating placenta, high blood pressure and diabetes are all reasons a doctor might induce your labor.
According to autismtoday.com, Pitocin is a synthetic form of the “natural hormone oxytocin which stimulates the gravid uterus to contract.” Pitocin or “Pit” is a common drug used in hospitals. In fact, “81% of women in US hospitals receive Pitocin to either induce or augment labor.” Yet, even though it is widely used, like any drug, there are side effects. In addition, when Pitocin is used, women often have a more painful labor. In turn, they often opt to have an epidural. The epidural leads to more assisted deliveries. In my experience, this chain of events unraveled in a similar fashion. I was given Pit. I had an epidural. Then, my baby’s heart rate went down. I was given more Pit and ended up having an assisted delivery (with my first child).
Why Should You Induce Labor?
While there are many medical reasons to induce labor, in many cases, it’s better wait for your body to do so naturally. However, many women are electing to have their labor induced. According to Time.com, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) “recommend against elective inductions in the early term, or anytime before 39 weeks.” Inducing labor leads to more C-sections too.
I’m glad Pitocin is around to help women and babies who are at-risk. My kids are happy and healthy. However, in a perfect world, I wish I would have gone into labor naturally.
More from Melissa:
First Person: My Water Broke Early
Premature Baby: How to Be Prepared
A Mom’s Perspective: Adjusting to Life with Two Kids