Monday, May 31, 2010

Shocking news about labor induction and preterm birth rates

Labor inductions may be boosting rate of earlier births 

In fact, it's a "likely cause" of earlier births and lower birth weights.  No shit.  Seriously.  They had to do a study to figure out that the more labor inductions there are the more early births (and accompanying complications and risks) there are.  Ya know what else increases as the induction rate increases?  Medical interventions.  And medical bills.

Oh, and one more thing.  As far as I've seen, all the MSM reports on this simply report the study group as pregnant women in the US.  In fact, the study specifically focused on white pregnant women in the US.  But, ya know, since white is the default, that seems like an irrelevant detail, doesn't it?

Read more here.


  1. Anonymous6/01/2010

    Yeah, I didn't get this either. Isn't an induced birth earlier by definition? I mean they wouldn't be inducing you if you were already in labor, and you haven't started labor naturally if they're inducing you, so... All my friends who have had babies in the last two years were induced except for one. I thought that was just the norm now.

  2. Both of my sister's births were induced at around 35 weeks, for different reasons. It does seem to be the norm now, and I wonder how much of it has to do with managing the workload so that all of a doctor's patients don't go into labor at the same time, which could happen if they let them go on their own schedules.

  3. Anonymous6/01/2010

    Anon- It certainly feels like the norm. I had lunch with another mom expecting her 2nd and she was telling me what day she was having her baby and I asked if she was being induced and she looked at me like I was crazy to ask - of course she was!
    Sometimes I feel really awkward in situations discussing birth because mine was natural and you feel like you have to constantly defend your choice, which is completely ridiculous.

  4. Mayflowers6/01/2010

    Well, it seems like a well-intended but vicious circle. I think we perceive more fetal monitoring to be a good thing because it can catch dangerous situations. But there are so many false positives that we end up with trends like lots of really early inductions. But that leads to the whole group of problems associated with early birth such as low birth weight and developmental problems. So the overall outcome spread over all the births is negative even though in a few isolated cases the constant monitoring does prevent major problems. So then the question is, is the much better outcome in the few cases worth the slightly worse outcome in the many cases? Do they balance out? Probably not if you're one of the many cases where early birth was harmful and unnecessary.

  5. I'm almost afraid to ask what the object in the picture is.

  6. Sady,

    Those little balloons are used to ripen the cervix, or something like that. So one goes on each side of it and then exerts some pressure, maybe? There are diagrams of inserted ones if you Google "labor induction." Looks kind of like a torture device.

  7. A further problem is that due dates are overwhelmingly calculated by measuring the fetus, which, because of stuff like, y'know, natural variation across populations, isn't very accurate.