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Experts Speak Out Against Induction

Written by Pathways Magazine   
Tuesday, 01 March 2011 00:00

According to Dr. Marsden Wagner, author of Born in the USA, a critical look at the U.S. maternity system, “Federal studies that analyze birth certificates tell us that the percentage of U.S. births that happen Monday to Friday, nine to five, is rapidly increasing; even emergency c-sections are more common Monday to Friday, nine to five…” This isn’t caused by global warming or the effects of the moon…we are looking at a procedure called induction.

Jonathan R. Weinstein, M.D., FACOG, states, “Induction has to be the biggest reason for the rise in [cesarean] rate in the United States, likely only second to your doctor’s fear of being sued despite trying to do the best thing for you and your family. Elective induction can be convenient for both the mom and the doctor but buyer beware. If your cervix is not ripe (dilated and thinned out) prior to an attempted induction of labor you have up to a 90% failure rate for your induction which usually translates to you getting a [cesarean section].”


Roger Freeman, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, Irvine, said the results of the Zhang study (a retrospective study conducted between 2002 and 2008 in which researchers found that 44 percent of women in the study population had their labor induced and that the cesarean delivery rate was twice as high for such women) are consistent with previous studies which have suggested that the way labor is managed is contributing to the upward trend in number of cesarean deliveries performed. Freeman said that induction is clearly a contributor, and suggested that physicians avoid elective induction, which can elevate the rate of cesarean delivery and prolong labor without offering the potential benefits of clinically indicated induction.

— Joni Nichols


Pit to Distress

The cesarean rate would not have climbed from 4.5 percent in 1969 to over 30 percent today if it weren’t for hospital practices that, in themselves, increase the odds of an adverse outcome. But did you ever imagine that some practitioners actually invite these adverse scenarios, in order to have grounds for performing this all-too-common major abdominal surgery?

There is an unethical hospital practice that has been leaked to the general public recently. It is a doctor mandate called “Pit to Distress.” According to NursingBirth.com, a blog created by a L&D nurse hoping to get the word out on what’s going on in hospitals, Pit to Distress is “the intention… to turn up (or “crank” as is the current L&D slang) the Pitocin in order to induce hyperstimulation/tachysystole of the uterus so that a women is experiencing more than 5 contractions in a 10 minute period. This action, sooner or later, will cause fetal distress, as research has shown that a baby needs at least a 1 minute break in between contractions where the uterus is at rest in order for the baby to continue to receive adequate oxygenated blood flow from the placenta and not have to dip into his reserve.” The resulting fetal distress leads to a cesarean section in what might otherwise be a normal, healthy birth.

Here are some ways to ensure you have the safest, most satisfying birth possible:

  1. Inform yourself about the risks and benefits of Pitocin. Know that Pitocin has only been FDA-approved for the medical induction and stimulation of labor, and using it is not a decision to be taken casually.

  2. Know your rights. The decision to accept any medical intervention is always yours.

  3. Choose your practitioner carefully.

  4. If you do agree to Pitocin because you are convinced it is a medical necessity, consider asking your practitioner to administer the smallest amount possible. Then use visualization to imagine your body opening for the baby. Breathing deeply will keep you calm in the process, while ensuring your baby has enough oxygen.


Pathways Issue 29 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #29.

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