We’re now having weekly midwife checks as they’re worried about my blood pressure (which has gone up a tiny bit) and want to keep an eye on my ankles. At one of my latest appointments Carol (my regular MW) ran through the signs of labour with me, and then told me when they’d be offering sweeps and induction.
I really don’t want to be induced so I asked her if it’d be possible to go into the hospital for daily monitoring once I go past 42 weeks instead. She made sure I realised that my placenta could degrade after that point (which I knew already) but seemed pretty positive about it. I’m very lucky to have a midwife who listens and doesn’t try to bully…but she did have a laugh and warned me that I might be begging her for one by that point. Who knows, maybe I will?…I’d like to think that I’ll give nature a chance.
The trouble with being induced is that it can bring on labour quickly and intensely and although you have all the right hormones to get baby moving, they don’t cross over the blood brain barrier. In other words, your uterus is doing what it needs to, but your brain hasn’t got the memo and so doesn’t produce the right hormones to help you deal with it. It also doesn’t allow you to produce the oxytocin to deliver the placenta naturally so yet more medication is needed for the third stage. Induced labour can take longer and lead to even more intervention in the form of things like forceps, ventouse or c-section.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading about induction (especially after my pre-eclampsia scare this week) and found a lot about the technicalities and drawbacks of induction, as well as all the reasons why you might need or be offered induction. Then I looked at the forums and found lots of women saying things like…
“I was induced so I HAD to keep still, be constantly monitored and give birth lying down on a bed…”
…which had me worrying.
If I have to be induced for the sake of the baby’s or my health then I will be induced…but I am very keen to stay mobile and give birth in an upright position. I was pretty sure that I have a choice over how I labour and birth, but that didn’t gel with what these ladies were saying.
It turns out that I was right.
I asked on a Hypnobirthing group on Facebook and my friend Lucy (and then several other ladies) confirmed that I don’t have to do anything, that I can request intermittent monitoring, mobile monitoring and upright birthing positions. They also said that a lot of women trust what the midwives and doctors say, despite wanting something different.
At the end of the day, we can ask for alternatives to any proceedure and we have the right to refuse any and all medical interventions that are offered to us. One of the key things that Luke learnt as “gatekeeper” is to ask why things need to be done, if there is an alternative to it, and if my or the baby’s health is at risk. Sometimes the methods offered (for example, lying on a bed) aren’t for the benefit of the mother and baby, but for the benefit of the medical professionals.
I am very lucky that I’ve got such knowledgeable friends and that I’ve had the benefit of doing so much reading. I can’t imagine how it must be for the women who go into labour not knowing their rights and who end up having a traumatic birth. Every woman should know about this!