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Is it really possible to just not go into labor?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I am at the most "natural friendly" group in town. We have been seeing the midwife group and are planning to give birth at the "natural friendly" hospital. After two early babies (one very early baby at 34 weeks and my second was 38 weeks), I was never worried this could potentially be an issue, but with no baby in sight and two days until my due date, I am getting worried about a push to induce. The group's policy is to induce by 41 1/2 weeks. My blood pressure has been good (last week it was 100/60), baby seems to be doing very well, etc., so I'll bet I could talk them into 42 weeks. Apparently, the head OB of the practice, who ironically does not believe in early elective inductions, says that in his experience, if the woman hasn't gone into labor by 41 1/2 weeks, it usually isn't going to happen. What? Has anyone heard of this?

The frustrating thing is that I do not feel like I am going to go into labor any time soon. At all. Lots of B-H contrax that stop completely when I go to bed, and I have lost some of my mucus plug, but really no signs of labor like with my two other girls. I am sure this is Murphy's Law and that because I am invested in a natural birth this go round, I am having some kind of mental block preventing me from going into labor. My cervix is very favorable, but has been like that for 6-7 weeks now. Should I ask them to strip membranes at 41 weeks (next week)? I am not crazy about the idea, but would rather that than a pitocin induction.
post #2 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mouey77 View Post
Apparently, the head OB of the practice, who ironically does not believe in early elective inductions, says that in his experience, if the woman hasn't gone into labor by 41 1/2 weeks, it usually isn't going to happen.
No, I've never heard that stat. As a matter of fact, if left to their own devices, very few women go past 42W. 41.5W isn't some crazy cut-off where if you don't go by that date, you dont' go on your own. Honestly, that sounds pretty stupid.
But you'll note the part I've bolded, "IN HIS EXPERIENCE" - well, that's part of the problem! He should look to epidemiology - SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH aka "Evidence" on which to base his practice - not his own personal observations.

And, if his "policy" is routine induction at 41.5W, then of course he doesn't see women go on their own if the pass that date - cuz they can't, cuz he doesn't let them. I mean, duh!

In any case, don't stress yourself too much. I think only really extreme stress would inhibit the onset of labor - I don't think we have that much control over it. So I wouldn't blame yourself for having a 'mental block.'

This wait sucks! it just plain sucks! I went to 41W4D - after being convinced I wouldn't even reach 40W. Not knowing & just waiting can be miserable & there's really no way around that. I actually went to a therapist b/c I was so stressed & she said, "Is there any way you can be more gentle with yourself?" I liked how she phrased it. I figured if I'm feeling 'betrayed' by my body for going so late, even though I realize that's illogical & stupid to feel that way, the least I can do is not beat myself up for having those feelings on top of it all!

Yes, I'm sure it's possible that some women really never go into labor & then the baby dies, but that is so, so rare & so unlikely with everything else going well.

If you hit 41.5, there are lots of tips on how to handle it - you can always say, "Oh, c'mon, just one more day. DH has a big project at work, so Wed would be better than Tue." Schedule an apt for the pit induction & then 'forget' to show up. Call Thur to apologize, re-schedule for Fri, etc. Probably easier & less stressful to pretend to go along vs. actually arguing with them on the merits of induction vs. expectant mgmt for post-dates pregnancy. You can have that debate after babe is born!
post #3 of 22
Ina May Gaskin says she feels comfortable to "let" moms go even up through 43 weeks. I think her point is good that if everything is "okay", why mess with it.

Having said that, I had an induction scheduled for 41 weeks because of my past history of big babies and on my mw advice. I went into labor at 40W 5 days and got my homebirth.

I am 100% for natural birth, but I think being an educated mom helps you make those tough decisions and that shouldn't be discounted.

I was also told by 2 mws that my uterus may be so stretched it may not go into labor (2 different pregnancies). I was induced with the first one this was said of and had a homebirth with the other.
post #4 of 22
I'd also like to add that MegBoz is right! Having given birth 2 months ago....the wait was agony. There were many sobbing fits, especially after I scheduled that induction. It felt like a slap in the face. On the form it said the reason for induction was "maternal exhaustion" which was an utter lie! I felt I was making a very informed choice and while I didn't want the induction, I needed to do the right thing in my situation.

Thank goodness I didn't need to be induced.
post #5 of 22
IMHO, stripping membranes isn't really going to hurt, and it may help put you into labor, which would save you some anxiety. I'd say go for it. As for babies coming or not coming eventually, ALL of them come eventually, but the rate of complications does go up the longer you go past 41 weeks. Risk of stillbirth at 41 weeks is 1.5/1000. At 42 weeks it's 2/1000. At 43 weeks it's 2.5/1000 with an infant mortality rate of 6/1000. There are many things to consider. It's possible that a very small number of women do NOT go into labor for whatever reason, and the baby dies in utero, and results in a stillbirth. There are other complications - increased risk of abruption ? - that result in a higher mortality rate too. So eventually you get to a point where the risks of inducing are less than the risks of letting the pregnancy continue. Ultimately, you as a mom have to make that decision. From an epidemiological point of view that equilibrium point is reached somewhere around 42 weeks, though as they get better at inducing, that will slant things towards 41 weeks. However, from a PERSONAL point of view, the risks of stillbirth with both inducing or waiting are very small, so it should be up to the mom what to do. Current estimates are that you'd have to induce over 500 women at 41 weeks to prevent one stillbirth. If the risks of inducing (which include discomfort, potential cascade of interventions, continuous monitoring etc etc) for YOU outweigh the risks of waiting, it's a no-brainer I think.
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
The midwife today was very kind and actually said she is not even worried yet about induction. She reminded me that my body is following "the norm" this pregnancy, and my two other early labor/deliveries were actually more unusual than this go round. She did check me today, which I may refuse if I go in next week, and I was 90% effaced, 3 cm, anterior, soft, head at 0, so it seems like it should happen any day now!

My guess is that for the head OB it becomes a liability issue for him if he doesn't have some kind of postdates induction policy?? Thanks for the reassurances! I am trying to keep the faith!!
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by kltroy View Post
As for babies coming or not coming eventually, ALL of them come eventually...
Did you never hear that story of the woman whose baby literally didn't ever come out? She lives somewhere in the middle east and the baby was just never born. They found it in her uterus, completely calcified, about 30 or 40 years later.

I really wouldn't be worried though, mouey77. I was just sort of amused because I know that it isn't true that they "ALL...come eventually". Clearly it's not an example that your doctor might be right. That's the only case of a baby refusing to come out that I've ever heard of. The woman is considered a real medical mystery. I agree with the PP's that 41 and 1/2 is not a magical time and babies definitely do come after that.
post #8 of 22
No, you won't stay pregnant forever if you don't go into labour by X arbitrary time determined for doc's convenience or peace of mind WRT his insurance policy.

I had DD at 43+1 weeks, my mom was induced with both my brother and me at 42 weeks, so likelihood is she would have gone a bit later too, and her mother had my aunt at 46(!) weeks, a VBAC no less! Barring serious anomalies, like 1 in a billion sort of thing, all women will go into labour sooner or later. For a small percentage that's later than most HCPs like to 'let' them go and because of the ability of HCPs to bully/pressure/guilt pregnant women into inductions very few women actually go on to go into labour naturally at the date that is right for them/their baby, leading to this self-fulfilling belief that they 'can't' go into labour by themselves.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plummeting View Post
Did you never hear that story of the woman whose baby literally didn't ever come out? She lives somewhere in the middle east and the baby was just never born. They found it in her uterus, completely calcified, about 30 or 40 years later.

I really wouldn't be worried though, mouey77. I was just sort of amused because I know that it isn't true that they "ALL...come eventually". Clearly it's not an example that your doctor might be right. That's the only case of a baby refusing to come out that I've ever heard of. The woman is considered a real medical mystery. I agree with the PP's that 41 and 1/2 is not a magical time and babies definitely do come after that.
This did come to mind when I read the thread title. However, her baby had died before labour had a chance to begin and she knew that. Which is why she didn't go into a hospital or a clinic. There was a lot going on in that woman's mind to more than likely sway her body into retaining her still baby.

Anyhoo, obviously very rare either way.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
if the woman hasn't gone into labor by 41 1/2 weeks, it usually isn't going to happen. What? Has anyone heard of this?


How can people so educated be so ignorant? It's such a conundrum.

There might be a rare case like the woman in India mentioned. But what happened before 40 weeks was standardized??? How did all those ladies even manage to have babies without keeping obsessive track of what week they were in?

I think it's reasonable to keep tabs on baby's health in the womb as you get into the later weeks. But 41.5 wk. is not a magic number.
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
I think he must know better! He just doesn't want the liability.

I just had not heard of such a thing, and literally everyone here IRL has been induced at the 39-40 week point for one "reason" or another.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plummeting View Post
Did you never hear that story of the woman whose baby literally didn't ever come out? She lives somewhere in the middle east and the baby was just never born. They found it in her uterus, completely calcified, about 30 or 40 years later.
I saw that on discovery health or something like that. She had an ectopic pregnancy and the baby went to term. There was no way it was coming out vaginally. She was in a crowded labor ward for days and women were dying left and right in there due to unsanitary practices and infection. They wanted to do a c/s on her and she fled the hospital. Good thing she did or she'd have died too. The baby died in her and calcified. She adopted children later. It was a pretty amazing story.
post #13 of 22
Baby number 2 went to 43 weeks, born at home, natural labour.

I know someone who went to 44 weeks and still no sign of labour, she agreed to a section (first baby was a section due to failed induction post dates). So, who knows?

I guess just like everything else there are a few women where hormones just don't work properly or something and as a result, they just cannot go into labour.

The above lady is the only one I know who waited forever for it and it just didn't happen, everyone else I know of get to 41 weeks and then decide they cannot go into labour without intervention.
post #14 of 22
I have had two 44 week babies. My cycles are wonky, so I can't pinpoint ovulation and suspect they weren't actually gestationally that far along, but all the more reason to refuse induction if everything looks okay imo. The last one looked more like 39 weeks when she was born. Had I agreed to an induction at 41 weeks she could have well had some issues.

The first one, I did agree to an induction by arom because the ultrasound showed some possible birth defects and I was already 4cm. She did spend several hours in NICU for breathing problems but otherwise was okay.

About membrane stripping... I've had it done with all four of my "late" babies and I don't think it really did much. With the last one she did it the day I had the baby (had tried a few times before but I wasn't dilated enough), but I had already been having prodromal labor the night before, so it may have given my body a nudge over the edge but didn't start labor. I really don't think I will consent to it again.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plummeting View Post
Did you never hear that story of the woman whose baby literally didn't ever come out? She lives somewhere in the middle east and the baby was just never born. They found it in her uterus, completely calcified, about 30 or 40 years later.
.
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. No, it's not true that ALL babies will eventually come out. Howver, it's re-ee-eeally rare, and the more pressing concern, as other PPs have noted, is something else happening to threaten the life/health of the baby before labor starts. That's why we have monitoring nowadays, which you can choose to do or not.
post #16 of 22
Just looking through my bookmarks and found this...
http://birthlove.cyclzone.com/pages/ten_month_mama.html
post #17 of 22
As a women with a naturally wonky cycle, I think it is a bit extreme to say that seven days after we expected your child to arrive is the cutoff, you need induction. Heck, I can even count the number of times good old AF showed up 7 or even 10 days late. So if you don't have a "normal" 28 day cycle, then maybe you arn't really at full term yet. Maybe you will be full term next week, or even the following week.

I'm all for the go along and avoid method. Just keep putting off the induction until YOU feel you want it. Say "I need to talk it over with DH, I'll get back to you," and just don't get back to them. Avoid their calls (easier with caller ID), and just overall give them the runaround. I say maybe at 42 weeks, I might consider some natural methods of induction, but don't worry, I think the vast majority of babies will trigger labor when they are good and ready. (Usually around 40w+3, or so "they" say.)
post #18 of 22
I don't agree with the OB's opinion in the original post, but I went 41+2 with my first and just didn't go into labor. Absolutely no signs of it starting, and the baby stopped moving.
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tizzy View Post
I don't agree with the OB's opinion in the original post, but I went 41+2 with my first and just didn't go into labor. Absolutely no signs of it starting, and the baby stopped moving.
How scary! I should amend my earlier statement to say that if there are any problems showing up, like decreased baby movement, I would be all for induction ASAP. Or at the very least a u/s to determine if there are any issues that are of concern. I hope your little one came out alright! Were you induced?
post #20 of 22
I went into labor at 41+6. I had had one day of BHs (ever) two weeks prior, and lost a bit of mucus plug 5 days before. That's it for pre-labor signs. I was barely a fingertip dilated and 60% effaced for the 3 weeks before. My midwife and her backup OB would have been comfortable letting me go to 43 weeks with NSTs.

I do know one girl who was finally sectioned at 44 weeks after two completely failed induction attempts a week apart. The baby was obviously postdates, placenta calcifying, baby had lost a ton of weight and was wrinkly, etc. That's the only case I've ever heard of where mom says "I just never went into labor" and I don't inwardly roll my eyes.
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