Pressure to Induce

10.16.09: 39 Weeks Pregnant

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The past week has been a battle. Every day has been a struggle for just a little more time to let my body go into labor on its own.
I’ve been in and out of the birth center and the hospital every other day for monitoring due to my high blood pressure. And at each visit, there’s been an enormous amount of pressure to induce labor. But, with all of my blood work, urine tests, nonstress tests, and ultrasounds coming back “perfect,” (no preeclampsia) and my blood pressure being only borderline hypertensive, I just couldn’t help but feel like inducing immediately would be jumping the gun a little bit. The argument for induction is that my blood pressure could spike unexpectedly, and that it's better to err on the side of caution and deliver the baby now to avoid the potential risks that have been cited:
  • “Your placenta could fail.” (Thankfully, an ultrasound showed a perfectly healthy placenta, functioning as it should... right now.)
  • “You could have a seizure.” (Seizure happens to be a risk from induction, too.)
  • “Your blood pressure is putting stress on your body and the baby.” (I'm concerned about the stress that an induction would put on my body and the baby.)
  • “You could develop preeclampsia, start spilling protein, your kidneys could fail, or your liver could fail." (All of my lab work to test for these problems has come back completely normal, knock on wood.)
I know that there are medically indicated reasons for inducing, and high blood pressure is one of them. I know that all of our caregivers want the best possible outcome for us-- a healthy mom and baby. And, I don't mean to be cavalier about the situation. But, I have a deep-seated fear that forcing by body and the baby to go into labor before they’re both ready is asking for trouble, and worry that the induction itself would not be without risk. Maybe I’ve read too much about the risks of induction and the statistics on the slippery slope of interventions that usually follow, often leading to an “emergency” C-section. ("Women who are induced...are increasing their chances of a C-section by 50 percent.") And, I’ve experienced an induced/augmented labor before, and am not especially interested in doing it again. I feel healthy. The baby is kicking up a storm. And I just can't help but feel that if I could just let my body do this on its own, we'll have a better outcome.
I’m officially due in three days. And yet, I already feel several weeks overdue, just because the pressure to have this baby has been so immense. I spend every night lying in bed hoping the baby will come on his own, and every day trying every old wives’ tale in the book to try to bring on labor naturally. I did eventually agree to the “stretch and sweep,” which was unsuccessful because my cervix is too closed, and then an application of prostaglandin gel to soften my cervix, which only served to keep me up all night with bad cramps, a backache, and a feeling like I was going to vomit at any minute, but was ultimately unsuccessful, too. It only shows me that my body is just not ready to go into labor yet. And that forcing it to go into labor when it’s not ready increases the likelihood that an induction would fail.
I’ve been doing everything I can to bring my blood pressure down: eliminating salt from my diet; listening to meditation music; resting as much as possible; massage; and trying to just mentally and emotionally let go. And I’ve been monitoring my blood pressure at home (so has the entire family, as you can see above.) And it seems to be working… at my last two appointments, my blood pressure has been lower, and that has thankfully bought me more time to let nature take its course. Now if it would just…
Join's Managing Editor Dana Rousmaniere each week as she blogs about her third pregnancy.