So, this is something that I experience a couple times each year, and I never know what to do...
I should start by saying that I had both of my babies at home, with a midwife, and in the process became really well-educated on the subject. Whenever I hear some one saying something that I know is against evidence, but is recommended by the dr, I don't know how far to go.
Here is an example. My friend's daughter (whom I barely know) was past due with her first baby. My friend texted me to tell me that they were planning an induction at 41 + 3 because the dr was concerned that the baby would be too big for her to deliver.
The first thoughts that ran through my head were the following:
1) Inductions have a higher rate of c-section and forceps use.
2) The average length of a first pregnancy is 41 + 3!! (I looked up the study where I read this to confirm that I remembered correctly.)
3) Estimated weight at the end of pregnancy has a TWO POUND margin of error (and, seriously, how much bigger could the baby get in another week?)
Then I thought...what do I tell my friend? I thought about this for days....and ended up just texting her back to say that I was praying for a peaceful delivery. I really don't know the daughter, and didn't know all the details, probably.
Well, they did the induction.
The baby was only 8.5 lbs. I personally know four women who had eleven-pound babies without needing stitches (and the mom and the grandma both keep talking about how big he is...)
The mom avoided a c-section, but had a deep episiotomy and hemmorhoids from pushing. I really believe that if her doctor had just waited for her body to be ready, she would have avoided these injuries. I feel really guilty now for not saying anything, but I also didn't want to invade her privacy.
Where do you draw the line? If the mom in this situation was your best friend, would you have offered unsolicited advice? What if she was a stranger you overheard at a coffee shop?
Sorry, I should have been clearer--not Monday morning quarterbacking, but saying something beforehand. In this case, maybe I could have replied to my friend (three days before the induction) with the statistic bout first pregnancies, on average, being 41 weeks, 3 days, and inductions being risky for interventions.
Of course, after the fact, "Congratulations" is the only thing one should say.
Please do not take this the wrong way, because I truly believe you have the best intentions, but their birth is NOT YOUR BIRTH. Not everyone has the desire for a home birth. Not everyone has the desire to have an unmedicated birth. Not everyone has the desire to go to 42 weeks. Some people want epidurals, they want to be induced, they want to do whatever the heck their doctor says. It's what they know and it's what they're comfortable with. Could she have possibly avoided an episiotomy? Maybe. You will never know.
I had a completely unmedicated birth and was not induced and ended up with a tear all the way from my cervix to my anus. They were stitching me up for an hour and a half after the birth. I'm still healing 8 months later. I also had hemorrhoids. My baby was only 7lbs 1 oz...I can't even imagine what an 8.5 lb baby would have done to my poor lady parts! My sister also had a completely unmedicated birth and she had an episiotomy because she was starting to "starburst" tear. Her midwife had only ever done two episiotomies before hers so she was definitely not episiotomy-happy. She also had hemorrhoids following the birth. Everyone's birth experience is different and there is no way for you to say that your friend's induction caused those problems.
With all of that being said, I think inductions happen way too often for "big babies". I have known people to give birth to ten pound babies vaginally with no problems. I personally would refuse an induction for a "big baby" because I am educated on the subject and know the risks of an induction. So I really do understand why you feel the way you do and why you would be concerned for your friend. But the bottom line is she is not you and she deserves to make the decisions that she feels is best for herself and for her baby. The ONLY people I would offer unsolicited advice to are my best friend who is more like a sister to me or my actual sisters, but only because we are all very close and share the same views about birth. Anyone other than that...a friend, a family member, a stranger...it is absolutely none of my business.
i dont think it is wrong to supply information, just be non-judgemental and not pushy.
If she was interested in discussing it, I'd warn her gently that induced labors hurt more and they don't always go as smoothly as spontaneous ones especially in first time moms, and try to give her the idea it is really up to her whether to do it or not.
You should say nothing unless asked for your advice. It's not your baby, your body or your birth. It is simply not your business to inform others what they should be doing.
Thanks for your input everyone. As I said, I kept out of it, but was having a moment of "what if" and second-guessing my decision.
Oliversmommy, I am cringing reading about your birth injury. I hope you heal fully and soon!
If this was a very close friend of mine, I wouldn't hesitate to offer information or sources for information (like: "there's a great book by xyz called abc that has some really good information pertaining to inductions) and if the friend seemed interested I'd take it as far they wanted, and if not, I'd it go. I wouldn't be pushy or nosy and I wouldn't say anything about pain - not everyone who gets pit experiences contractions that are more painful then without. Saying something like, "I did some research when preparing for my own births about induction that I found interesting. Did you know that the average pregnancy is actually over 41 weeks and only about 15% of babies are born on or before their due-date?" If the conversation takes off, great! If not, drop it.
I can relate. I have a REALLY hard time hearing stuff like that, too. I've never said anything though, despite WANTING to and wishing I knew a way to get through to someone. (wait, I think one time I might have asked my cousin if she had considered another option, but I can't recall the specifics of the conversation) BUT....the thing that always makes me feel better is that sometimes people have to experience things on their own to come to a place of wanting to change/educate themselves/etc, whatever it might be. (not that all those people are necessarily "wrong" in the first place, but that just experiencing something firsthand is obviously different from hearing it from someone else, especially with a subject as touchy as birth, where another persons thoughts might be a turn-off instead of a motivator.) Hopefully their births go well and everything works out fine, but maybe it will be a learning experience all the same. I know I was that way...I was "fairly" natural minded with #1, but it wasn't until after I had experienced an induced, medicated hospital birth (a very positive experience with zero complications, overall) that I realized I simply wanted something different. (and then I became a full-on UC'er! LOL) And so began my journey to becoming passionate about pregnancy and birth!
I don't anymore, but I can see if I can find it. My CBE/doula mentor uses that statistic in her workshops regularly. I think it might be 15% before, 5% on and 80% after.
I've always heard 5% on the date, too. It sticks in my head because my brother and I were both born on our dates- spontaneously.
The best thing to say is anything supportive, in my opinion, whatever her choice is.
I had a birthing pool at home and laboured peacefully there 2 weeks after my due date, but there were serious complications and I ended up being taken away in an ambulance where they thought the machine for reading the blood pressure was broken because my blood pressure was so high. In hospital or out of it, I would have gone through the same, but the 'ideal' doesn't always pan out. We're very lucky to both be here. I went for a planned section the second time and my resting pulse was so high that the anaesthetist was extremely worried about me having a heart attack. I went into labour a week before the planned section and I was very glad to have a team of doctors on hand, working hard to keep us both safe.
I know women who have had fantastic experiences at home, in hospital, natural, with and without drugs and having sections. I also know women who have had the very worst of sorrows during delivery. These were not caused by interventions.
I feel it is our duty as women to support other women going through this and for me this support has to come in the form of respect for their choices.
My mother in law's sister lost a baby to 'overlaying' during co-sleeping. She must have been very worried at my decision to cosleep with her grandchildren, but she did not even tell me of the tragedy in the family until my babies were no longer babies because she respected my choice and trusted me to try to do the right thing.
If a friend asks for advice, I would help by leading her to sources of good information, otherwise I'd leave her to feel confident in the decisions she's making with her health care providers.
The way I've dealt with this with long term friends is talking a lot about this stuff BEFORE it's actually affecting us. I figure if the seed to doubt/believe in something is planted, then it will do what it does, and I've done my part. After that, I mostly butt out. However, this is my first time being on the receiving end of advice, and now I really know just how scary it is when you know someone is looking at you critically and saying all or nothing of their opinions. Eeep.
I usually approach this type of situation with curiosity. I might say something like "How are you feeling about the induction?" or "How are you feeling about the doctor's suggestions?" I would let the other person lead the discussion afterwards, and I would provide my own thoughts if asked or if the person was feeling uncomfortable with the induction but didn't see any other options. I would acknowledge that it is a hard decision to make, regardless of what conclusion she came to.
I think that not offering to share information is a bad thing for all of us, as a society. How does information get transmitted if no one opens their mouth about anything for fear of offending someone? How is someone supposed to know that something is even an issue if no one ever mentions it? When I was pregnant for the first time I had no idea what circumcision was. I wasn't online and I didn't have much in the way of print resources, had no idea that it was a question to even ask because I didn't know what it was. If I'd had a hospital birth my son would have been circumcised because ignorance, in a lot of cases, means that whatever people around you are doing and saying becomes the default. It doesn't even occur to you that there could be another way. So I don't assume that people have the access to information that I have, and I don't assume that they don't want it. I would be really upset if I'd gone ahead and allowed a circumcision and then later found that I had friends who knew something about it but didn't say anything because "it's best to just be supportive of the person's choice."
A better thing to do is to say something like, "Hey, I've thought and read about this sort of thing for a long time, and have some information you might not have and might be interested in having. Let me know if you want to talk."
It's a complicated situation, one that I am not good at dealing with either. I have 2 acquiantances who had babies within the last week, both went in at 41 weeks for an induction and both ended up with C-sections. I don't know them well enough where I felt like I could or should make a comment when they mentioned going in to be induced. They weren't asking for my input, and we don't have a close relationship. With a very close friend, I would be much more straightforward. I really like the previous suggestions of asking questions, so that you can get a better idea about their feelings and if they would be receptive to additional information.
This is a slightly different situation, but the article speaks to me a lot regarding not only breastfeeding, but other reproductive and childbirth choices other women make and that ultimately I need to shut up and listen instead of proffering unwanted advice