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Lamaze Urges Expectant Parents to Learn Reasons for Induction.

About nineteen percent of all live births in the United States are induced, double from nine percent over the last decade. More doctors and healthcare providers than ever are encouraging pregnant women to opt for induction rather than allowing labor to start on its own.

Induction is the artificial initiation of labor, often by using an IV drug called Pitocin. Lamaze International has issued a new recommendation urging expectant parents to understand their options before choosing induction.

Lamaze[TM] International suggests that expectant parents refuse induction unless there is a true, medical indication for the procedure.

"Allowing your body to go into labor spontaneously almost always is the best indication that your baby is ready to be born," stated Debby Amis, Lamaze International Education Council chair.

According to the book Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth, published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the following may be medical indications for induction:

* the bag of water breaks and labor does not begin;

* your pregnancy has reached 42 weeks;

* your blood pressure is high;

* you have other health problems that can harm your baby such as diabetes or lung disease; or

* you have an infection of the uterus.

"As a childbirth educator, I continually hear expectant parents say their doctor has encouraged them to induce labor because the baby will be too big, or it is a matter of convenience," Amis explains. "These are not evidence-based reasons to induce labor; in fact, induction also has serious disadvantages associated with it."

There is growing evidence that elective induction (induction that is done for convenience rather than medical reasons) is not a risk-free procedure.

Amis cites a study conducted by Dr. Michael Kramer, McGill University that examined 4.5 million births in the United States and Canada during the 1990s. The researchers concluded that babies born only a few weeks early at thirty-four to thirty-six weeks were three times as likely to die in their first year of life. "Physicians may induce labor based on a predicted due date that is not exact," Amis states. "If the date is only two weeks off, serious consequences may arise."

In a study conducted at the Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, researchers examined the outcomes of more than 56,000 pregnancies at forty, forty-one, and forty-two weeks. Results indicated more evidence against induction. Induced deliveries at forty-one weeks had a higher chance of labor complications and operative delivery without significantly improving neonatal outcomes. Researchers concluded that interventions at forty-one weeks gestation are unwarranted.

Induction also leads to increased medical interventions including a required IV and continuous electronic fetal heart rate monitoring. Laboring mothers may also be required to stay in bed, or in close proximity to bed eliminating their ability to change positions or walk freely, two proven methods of helping labor progress.

"Laboring and giving birth without unnecessary medical intervention increases the likelihood that you will have positive lifelong memories of your birth experience and decreases the possibilities of complications to both you and your baby," Amis explains.

A full copy of the Recommendations from Lamaze International on Induction can be found at: www.lamaze.org.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:www.lamaze.org; Lamaze International suggests parents refuse induced labor unless there is a true, medical reason
Publication:Special Delivery
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2001
Words:521
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