I am a doula and frequently tell my clients (prenatally or during an induction or during labor) about the benefits to the baby of going through the labor process vs. having a scheduled cesarean. Reading another thread I realized I don't know what the research says about whether those benefits (lower risk of breathing problems, specifically) are more evident in spontaneous labor than in induced labor. I.e., if I say to someone facing induction "well, at least your baby will have the advantage of going through labor!" is that accurate?
I'm interested specifically in studies rather than anecdotal evidence. Thanks!
Here as mama to W (2/04), R (5/06), D (7/09), and J (12/9/12!), co-parenting with my DH
I WOH part-time, am a doula & childbirth educator, home/unschool, and hope we are nearing the center of chaos
hmmm can't think of any studies off the top of my head. i wonder if any of the midwifery texts have information. i remember reading about it but have no clue where i saw this information now that i'm thinking of it.
Midwifery student , Mama to my 4 amazing kids.
This isn't a study so much as medical and scientific fact, but the benefit you're probably looking for isn't that the labor itself is good for the baby so much as the fact that what actually starts labor is a protein released by the baby's lungs once it is coated in surfactant. Baby needs this surfactant in its lungs to breathe properly and reduce the risk of infection. When the surfactant is in place, that is when the protein is released and the mother goes into labor. So it isn't really the labor that's good for baby's breathing but the surfactant which starts the labor, so by letting the mother go into labor naturally, you know that the baby's lungs contain the necessary surfactant to breathe properly. Delivering the baby earlier than this can put the baby at risk because the lungs are not mature. I don't think I've ever heard of anything saying that the labor itself is good for baby's breathing. Descent through the birth canal pushes fluid from the baby's lungs and prepares it for breathing, but that is another thing entirely.
Mama to a bright 7 y/o girl and an exuberant 3 y/o boy Loving unschooling, 2x and natural living in Hawaii.