A new study recently came out linking autism to labor induction. I will not get into the weeds right now on that particular study, but it got me thinking again about labor induction, a topic that I cover at some length in “Expecting Better.”
When I was 39 weeks pregnant, my doctor offered to schedule an induction at my due date. This is common now, although that wasn’t always the case. In 1990, fewer than 10 percent of births followed medical induction of labor; by 2009, this number had risen to 25 percent. This increase has occurred across the board, not just for babies who are overdue. In 1990, only 7 percent of births at 39 weeks of pregnancy were induced, but 23 percent were induced by 2009.
Sometimes, labor is induced for medical reasons — the baby isn’t doing well or a condition threatens mom’s health. This, obviously, makes a lot of sense, and we are lucky to have the option. But this wasn’t the case for me; my doctor was effectively offering an elective induction: I could choose to have the baby at 40 weeks, rather than wait for her to arrive on her own. And by 39 weeks I was definitely tired of being pregnant, and Penelope was plenty big. But still I said no, and here are the two reasons why.