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Inducing labour for convenience: a good idea?

Induced labour is not a new medical practice and when there are complications during the later stages of pregnancy it is often the best option for the health of both the mother and her baby. However, over the last decade inducing labour has become more common, though not for medical reasons, but as a matter of convenience.

business man at airport

Some women induce labour to make sure their working partner can be present at the birth.

Inducing labour for convenience has become so widespread in America that national statistics boards have estimated that almost 40% of all cases of induced labour are now for convenience and not medical necessity. This is not always the parents’ choice either. Some obstetricians are actually attempting to schedule their work hours by inducing labour.

Among the reasons cited for inducing labour as a matter of convenience are:

1. Giving birth before special events, such as Christmas, so these days are not interrupted and your new baby can be present.

2. Scheduling labour around either your holidays or your doctor’s.

3. Easing the mother’s discomfort if she is suffering from a lot of muscle aches and pains, among other normal pregnancy symptoms, in the final weeks of pregnancy.

4. Scheduling your baby’s birth around you and your partner’s work schedules, especially if they include travelling.

However, induced labour carries many risks. Induced labour can be carried out safely, however it does increase the chances of many complications and the need for an emergency C-section, especially if your body is not ready to give birth. Other disadvantagesof inducing labour for convenience include:

SNOWMAN Christmas ornament

Some women induce labour so their baby is present for special events, but Christmas does come every year.

1. The mother spends the entire labour process hooked up to oxytocin IVs and fetal monitors, making it more uncomfortable.

2. A high chance that your baby will be born with respiratory problems as his lungs will not yet be fully developed.

3. Labour may progress so quickly that epidurals will not work.

In the UK, induced labour for convenience is not very popular and is actually considered a big no-no. However, the American trend has begun to reach the UK and we may soon see induced labour rates going up.

What do you think? Should labour be induced for convenience? Do the disadvantages outweigh the benefits? Should it be illegal? We want to know what you think, so leave a comment and let us know.

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