What Constitutes an Induction?

I recently have a mom who was beginning to take homeopathic tinctures to get her labor going. I asked her why she was considering this induction. She was taken aback by my question. She had no idea she was about to begin an induction. This is not to say she should not have been doing so. Nor do I believe that in most cultures there are things done and items consumed to help get a mom going if she is at the end of her pregnancy. But it made me aware that sometimes we do not know what an induction means.caulophylumcomplex

When you do a web search of induction of labor you will find things like this:

Induction of labor

Web definitions:(obstetrics) inducing the childbirth process artificially by administering oxytocin or by puncturing the amniotic sac.

ACOG states:

Cervical ripening is the first component to labor induction. If the cervix is not sufficiently dilated, then drugs or mechanical cervical dilators should be used to ripen the cervix before labor is induced. Once the cervix is dilated, labor can be induced with oxytocin, membrane stripping, rupture of the amniotic membrane, or nipple stimulation. Misoprostol, a medication for peptic ulcers, is a commonly used off-label drug that both ripens the cervix and induces labor. The ACOG guidelines indicate that inducing labor with misoprostol should be avoided in women who have had even one prior cesarean delivery due to the possibility of uterine rupture (which can be catastrophic).

We understand the risk of medical inductions. The domino effect can often cause a surgical birth to be the outcome when it is rushed and not done gently. But I want you to consider things outside of the medical induction as induction. I believe anything outside of your normal activity or what would be normal for most, is an induction method. And I would then suffice that anything that is not common or natural for your normal activity is a means of inducing.

So, having sex- great sex- can give you prostaglandins (semen) and oxytocin or nipple stimulation (orgasm) – therefore it is not an artificial or unnatural method of induction. Going for a nice walk is normal. Having good oils in your regular diet would also perhaps help to ripen your cervix and would fall in that normal realm. But taking castor oil is probably not something your body is used to having on a regular basis. Taking evening primrose oil is probably not in your regular diet either- although it is not an induction method but can ripen your cervix. Eating papaya, pineapple and eggplant is normal foods- and they are found to be natural cervical ripeners.
Taking a homeopathic like sites like www.gentlebirth.org state:
Cohosh (in my experience) can make lots of uncomfortable toning contractions and false labor sometimes with the risk of raising the blood pressure. Because of this, I suggest another option which is taken orally. Nutritional Formulas make Matrigin. A similar medicine is made by Weleda with a different name-Dolisos Caulophyllum Complex. It is a 5 remedy homeopathic concoction that has reduced the length of labor in a double blind study in France (The Dolisos Study). Women started taking it at the beginning of the ninth month.I have used it for preventing postmaturity and ripening the cervix in a few women who would seem to benefit from that. The remedies in the combination are Arnica, Caulophyllum, Cimicifuga, Pulsatilla and Gelsemium. Perhaps clients seem to fit to the personality/fears/symptoms of a certain remedy, in which case it is better to give a single remedy if a remedy is even warranted. Cimicifuga fears she will die in childbirth, for example. I have turned to caulophyllum in a putzy labor.

But although some folks may take items like arnica for bruising or injuries, it is doubtful that most of you would the other homeopathics on a regular basis. If it is not something you have taken before, remember you could be hyper sensitive to this.

So realize although something may be homeopathic or natural in a sense, it may still be a means of induction. It is not just about breaking the bag of water, putting Pitocin in a woman or giving a medical method of cervical ripening for it to be the only method of inducing a labor. And any method of induction may not be without risks.

This reminded me of weaning a breastfed baby. Many do not realize that putting a pacifier in the baby’s mouth or offering a bottle of breast milk or formula is weaning. You do not need to offer solid foods for it to be weaning.

Make an informed decision.  Do your research. Understand the benefits. Know the risks. Take your birth decisions back and make the right ones for you and for your baby.