Started Taking EPO... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 03-14-2006, 06:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I'm officially 36 weeks now and so I bought myself some Evening Primrose Oil and started taking it today!

I have never taking it before for pregnancy (I used to take it for PMS though) and I am just so nervous that it's going to start things! LOL Not that I would be sad about that, since the doc said last Friday that my fluid was a little low and he was hoping we'd get another 2-3 weeks in. I Do NOT want to be induced again (I was induced for both my other ones) so I thought the EPO would be a good idea I also tend to have long labours 18 hours for my first and 14 hours for my second, I was hoping the EPO might help shorten that a little. I am just taking them orally for now, maybe in a week's time I might start taking them vaginally.

I have read that it won't "start" anything that isn't really ready to start, what is your experience with this...should I be ready just in case?
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#2 of 22 Old 03-14-2006, 06:21 PM
 
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I don't know much about EPO, and wonder what its benefits are? I hear that you are glad to have it but I am not sure why.

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#3 of 22 Old 03-14-2006, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've read that it helps soften the cervix and get things ready down there. Guess that appealed to me!
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#4 of 22 Old 03-14-2006, 06:38 PM
 
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I've taken it before.

I believe it helped my cervix prepare for labor. It won't start anything unless your baby and your body are ready, and then labor would have started anyways!

I am taking it, hopefully it's helping. I tried to reach my cervix and it was up too high to reach. I could only just barely touch the edge of it, but it did feel pretty soft/mushy, which is good. Last time I was able to get ahold of it, it felt pretty closed though. I don't plan on having any internal exams from the CNM, don't need the aggravation!

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#5 of 22 Old 03-14-2006, 10:33 PM
 
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I've been taking it since about 34 weeks now. MW said to take 1300 mg for the first week, then twice that the second week and on. I don't do internal checks...so can't really tell you if it's working or not...but I haven't had any negative effects. I figured it was worth a shot to have a nice mushy cervix vs a hard one when that time came.

I'm also taking 5-W from Nature's Sunshine. And THAT I can tell a difference! It's a uterus toner that you take the last 5 weeks of pg. and it causes you to have more mild contractions to tone your uterus so that when you do go into labor that that muscle is nice and strong and doesn't have to work so hard or wear out so fast. I've been having lots of nice strong BH. It's really good for DH and I to use to figure out what will work when the real thing happens too. Cause they are stronger than they used to be...I can kinda get a feel for what is helpful and what is annoying.

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#6 of 22 Old 03-15-2006, 02:33 AM
 
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I took it for 3 days and I started having the runs really bad. I stopped and my tummy feels much better now. Im going to try again in a few days because Im not quite sure if it was the epo or not. i was taking one twice a day. If it makes my tummy upset again I will just insert it vaginally. My midwife suggests inserting I *think* 3 capsules at night before bed (could be 2, I have to double check), as far up as you can get them.
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#7 of 22 Old 03-15-2006, 02:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by positiveoutlooks
I took it for 3 days and I started having the runs really bad. I stopped and my tummy feels much better now. Im going to try again in a few days because Im not quite sure if it was the epo or not. i was taking one twice a day. If it makes my tummy upset again I will just insert it vaginally. My midwife suggests inserting I *think* 3 capsules at night before bed (could be 2, I have to double check), as far up as you can get them.
I don't understand the thought behind doing this on this thread. Noone here is at 40 weeks yet- why rush things before your body is ready, especially inserting things into the vagina, which seems to be a big nono (how do you know the EPO is sterile?) To me, this is the same as just trying to get induced before you're ready, no matter how you do it.

I'd personally not take it unless it was a case of running out of time and facing a medical induction. I suppose I do not understand the rush, wether using "natural" or "medical" means- it's all drugs, in the end, that are trying to get your body and baby to do something it's not ready for.
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#8 of 22 Old 03-15-2006, 01:32 PM
 
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As Kat said, EPO won't start labor -- it just conditions your cervix a bit to soften it up and even then it doesn't do that for everyone. So if you feel you're in the "safe" time then go for it. Personally I agree it's good to wait til closer to 40 weeks but that's just me. There was a thread about this a few months ago and THAT freaked me out -- the thought of starting it prior to 36 weeks is just irresponsible, IMO.

But once you're past 36 weeks and if you want to take EPO, there's nothing wrong with it. And so long as your waters are still intact there's nothing wrong with inserting it vaginally. Just don't stick it in your cervix, and wash your hands before handling it.

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#9 of 22 Old 03-16-2006, 12:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jenny-g
I don't understand the thought behind doing this on this thread. Noone here is at 40 weeks yet- why rush things before your body is ready, especially inserting things into the vagina, which seems to be a big nono (how do you know the EPO is sterile?) To me, this is the same as just trying to get induced before you're ready, no matter how you do it.

I'd personally not take it unless it was a case of running out of time and facing a medical induction. I suppose I do not understand the rush, wether using "natural" or "medical" means- it's all drugs, in the end, that are trying to get your body and baby to do something it's not ready for.

For me, the reason I've begun taking it is simply because I have gone over 3 weeks with baby 1 and 2. My cervix was tight until the third week with no effacement. During labor every centimeter of dilation took over an hour. I pushed for 2-3 hours. Also, I stalled out with every baby at 6-7 centimeters. Nothing really wrong with that. I mean, I just work hard for my babies. On baby #3 I began taking EPO (can't remember when) and Labor Prep (by Tri Light Herbs) and I went into labor on my due date, had a fast, almost painless labor, with a 9 lb. baby! No one can convince me that the EPO wasn't a wise choice for me.

Now, with baby #4, I am having a hospital birth. You better believe that I am going to do all I can to assure my baby doesn't get any lab made crap because I am over 3 weeks! I am starting EPO and Labor Prep now to try to protect myself and my baby from other possible options. It's not like after the first capsule of EPO you go into labor. It is gentle and prepares your cervix. It does NOT induce labor!

It's NOT "all drugs in the end". EPO is different than Pitocin! One is a building block for prostoglandins (sorry sp. wrong?), while the other is a harsh, chemical introduction to labor!

Hope this helps you understand!
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#10 of 22 Old 03-16-2006, 02:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mommyNluv

It's NOT "all drugs in the end". EPO is different than Pitocin! One is a building block for prostoglandins (sorry sp. wrong?), while the other is a harsh, chemical introduction to labor!

Hope this helps you understand!
Um, what do you think is in EPO that "prepares" your cervix? Chemicals. As in, molecules made up of atoms in a specific way to make a particular substance. As in the active substance *in* EPO that "preapres" your cervix. I would not liken it to pitocin. I would liken it to a mild progesterone gel that you'd put on your cervix. Would you accept progesterone gel from your doctor to put on your cervix from 36 weeks on just to "prepare yourself a little bit"? I'd guess that most people on here would say "NO!!". You are fooling yourselves if you think you aren't doing the same thing, except now with an unstandardized, non-sterile oil.

Now, that's not saying there aren't any valid reasons for ever using this. My point is using this FOUR WEEKS BEFORE TERM because you're sick of being pregant (I'm not saying this is your personal case) is just as bad as doing other mild chemical things to stimulate - prepare- whatever- labor because you're impatient, not because there is any medical reason to do so.

I'm also not convinced that the material INSIDE the caplet is sterile. Nighten, I really disagree with you on this one assuming it to be so. I think there really needs to be a good darn reason to introduce any foreign matter into the vagina while pregnant, and being impatient at 36 weeks ain't one of them. I know some people get advice from their midwives to do this, but I"ve seen some REALLY bad advice from midwives on here- just like doctors, they are not always right.

Just because something is natural DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING! This drives me nuts on these boards. It's all chemicals, and they all work by interacting with the body. You need to be careful with "plant-natural" based chemicals just like you have to do with purified "drug" chemicals. Something is not magically better for you because it's "natural". The benefits of "natural" remedies is that, often, it's simply the only way to get the beneficial chemicals in them, as it's not profitable to actually take them and make them into drugs due to the whole pharmaceutical industry profit-based nonsense, and doing that is a really complex and expensive process. I wonder how difficult it would be to analyze and seperate out all the compounds in RRL tea, for example, that affect any uterine nerve receptors. Probably damn difficult.

I hope this makes you understand. We need to be responsible for ALL substances we take in, no matter how natural they may be. In most of our cases, our cervixes know exactly what to do. I would not prompt them before their time using EPO or cervidil or *anything*.
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#11 of 22 Old 03-16-2006, 03:15 PM
 
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Jenny, calm down. EPO is a natural substance -- we all know it contains chemicals of some sort -- no shit. EVERYTHING DOES. We're not idiots. And you're not the ultimate authority. Neither am I!

And I'm with you on the being cautious about what you introduce into your body while pg, but in the end it's a personal choice and you weigh the pros and cons for YOU alone, and beating people upside the head with your disapproval doesn't help anyone right now.

I know, I've been guilty of it myself from time to time. And I've also been victim of it too. So I know. Let it slide -- I'm happy with 36 weeks or beyond for delivery. Most women are. Some aren't. You're in the some aren't. That's fine! Hope your baby stays put for 40 weeks then! But there's a HUGE difference between introducing a MAN MADE substance in attempt to RUSH delivery (cervidil triggers contractions), and introducing a natural substance that will help EASE delivery (EPO softens -- it does not OPEN) for most people on these forums. And rightfully so!

I'm not saying the natural stuff = automatically safe. That's stupid. I'm just saying there's a difference, Period. And I think you're being pretty harsh here. If we were at 24 weeks, I'd be standing right next to you pounding my head on the table too. But we're at 36 weeks and babies are considered full term anywhere from 37 to 43. And EPO doesn't typically start softening your cervix overnight. It takes time and in my case, my cervix is closed up tight but nicely effacing. I don't need EPO. But if it were not effacing properly, you'd bet I'd suck down some EPO. (Not vaginally, I'm not a fan of sticking anything up me but I understand that's the most effective way for some women and I don't berate them for that choice.)

So lighten up hon. Take a walk. And it's totally fine if you don't want to use EPO. But don't crucify others who make a different choice right now. It's not the end of the world and in many cases, is actually a helpful thing.

There are some people who swear by certain spices as triggering labor (thus the whole eggplant parmesan craze) -- are you avoiding all those things? Are you avoiding walking? It can trigger labor. Sex? Ditto. See my point? Your baby will come when it's ready.

EPO at this late stage -- when most women's cervixes are ALREADY in motion, preparing -- does not cause labor, nor does it put your child at risk. It provides additional help in some cases, is all. Just like walking can help stretch your perineum and tone your muscles -- but if you are at risk for preterm labor, you avoid lots of walking. If you're not at risk, it can actually be helpful.

And it sounds like your problem is simply timing, and I respect that. And it's your right to not use any tools at all to make labor or delivery easier on you or your body, either now or later.

But right now is a touchy time for us all so try to be less hostile about it if you can, okay? A little understanding can go a long way. I have to remind myself of this daily.


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#12 of 22 Old 03-16-2006, 05:30 PM
 
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Gee... if it's SOOOO dangerous to use vaginally, I guess I'm really screwing up by swallowing the darn things. They're INTENDED to be taken ORALLY, and are thus subject to all the safety measures and scrutiny anything that is intended for human consumption are subject to!

Geesh, do you make your partner "sterilize" his "parts" before you let him near you?

I think you are just a little bit over reacting.

Take a nice, sterile, "approved for pregnancy" CHILL PILL please.

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#13 of 22 Old 03-16-2006, 07:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KittyKat
Gee... if it's SOOOO dangerous to use vaginally, I guess I'm really screwing up by swallowing the darn things. They're INTENDED to be taken ORALLY, and are thus subject to all the safety measures and scrutiny anything that is intended for human consumption are subject to!

Geesh, do you make your partner "sterilize" his "parts" before you let him near you?

I think you are just a little bit over reacting.

Take a nice, sterile, "approved for pregnancy" CHILL PILL please.

Kathryn
I hope noone on here is under the impression that things approved for human consumption are sterile. Because they are not. It's much safer to take something not sterile orally vs. vaginally. Any medications to be approved for vaginal use go under very different standards than for oral use. Perhaps there is a misunderstanding about that on here. I think it is very reasonable to say to not medicate yourself with anything, vaginally, while pregnant, unless it was specifically made for that use. Does anyone make a brand of EPO that is approved for vaginal use? That might be something useful for people on here to know. People on this thread were discussing using them vaginally, and that's what I am reacting to. Of course, there are natural remedies that are bad to take during pregnancy orally too..

I'm not saying everything needs to be sterile to go into the vagina- I mean, duh. I"m a big proponent of helping along the healthy bacteria! And hopefully your partner shares the healthy bacteria. If I found out, however, say, if I was GBS negative and he was positive.. you better believe I"d take precautions to prevent that transfer. I don't think any of us want to introduce any unwanted yeast, fungus, or bacteria into the vagina when pregnant.

My other point is that, unless there is some sort of a real problem, your baby is at term when your body decides it's time for it to be born. Saying anything 36 weeks on- when we *know* our due dates are often incorrectly assigned- is as bad as saying every woman who goes to 41 weeks has a postdate baby. Nighten, you're correct when my beef here is trying to "help along" the process when it does not *need* to be "helped along". It's very different if you're going postdate and have to deal with the Evil Pressure that is the Postdate C/S or loss of homebirth, or you have a history of a specific problem. But a lot of the negative experiences people have with standard OB care is that they are pressured to have interventions, even mild ones, even *tests*, of any kind for no reason- this is the same thing. If you're all for that, fine. It's the inconsistency of saying in one case it's unthinkable, and in the other case, it's all happy and flowers because someone's midwife said so.

I know that hospitals and OBs consider labor starting after 36 weeks (well, mine says 37) as "term". But when has anyone on here listened to them , when they say the same thing about "postterm" being only 41 weeks? If you're due date is off by two weeks, which can certainly happen, you might be dosing yourself with a medication, perhaps in your vagina, when you are only really 34 weeks. My point- why? Do you not think your body is capable of preparing it's own cervix? Of course, the answer in some cases is- heck no, and it does need help. Assuming you need this for no reason is just as bad as deciding your need your membranes stripped for no reason. It's the "no reason" part that bugs me, and the assumption that EPO is "natural" and not "man-made" that makes it safer bugs me (You think EPO pills grow on trees like that?? ).

The addition of "natural" supplements not being monitored adds a further complication- the dose in them could be very different, they could have impurities, etc. You don't know because they don't have to be tested. I think it's important to spread information about that if people don't know. At least "man-made" medications are tested, you know the dose, and you know exactly what is in them. It would be wonderful and helpful for all of us if consumer reports would dedicate an issue to pregnancy, and would test some herbal medications and issues like this one, as they've done with other issues in the past. They have found very mixed results looking at other herbal supplements, including issues such as mercury contamination ("natural" calcium) and very inconsistent dosing, and also did a wonderful and positive study on fish oil suppliments. They should do more stuff like that. -j

ps: re: eggplant parm. Sounds wonderful. For eating. Not putting in the vagina. You see my point? Do people usually eat evening primrose seeds? Nope. So why would one make a concentrated form of them and put it in your vagina and assume it is safe, when it's not even a generally recognized as safe food?

p.p.s. do tell me that they say the same thing about cadbury mini-eggs. Because if that's true, I'm going into labor to-morrow.
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#14 of 22 Old 03-16-2006, 08:43 PM
 
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Hmm it's interesting because after I typed out that whole not a fan of sticking things in my hoo-hoo, I realized I've been using a vaginal balm for weeks now on my perineum and that's technically hoo-hoo territory (btw, I use hoo-hoo laughingly. It makes me snorfle to type it).

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#15 of 22 Old 03-16-2006, 09:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jenny-g
ps: re: eggplant parm. Sounds wonderful. For eating. Not putting in the vagina. You see my point? Do people usually eat evening primrose seeds? Nope. So why would one make a concentrated form of them and put it in your vagina and assume it is safe, when it's not even a generally recognized as safe food?


I <3 U!!!!!

(p.s. is it completely wrong that eggplant parm STILL sounds positively mouthgasemous? )

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#16 of 22 Old 03-16-2006, 10:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KittyKat
They're INTENDED to be taken ORALLY, and are thus subject to all the safety measures and scrutiny anything that is intended for human consumption are subject to!
No they aren't!

"Under DSHEA, a firm is responsible for determining that the dietary supplements it manufactures or distributes are safe and that any representations or claims made about them are substantiated by adequate evidence to show that they are not false or misleading. This means that dietary supplements do not need approval from FDA before they are marketed. "

"Also, manufacturers do not need to register themselves nor their dietary supplement products with FDA before producing or selling them. Currently, there are no FDA regulations that are specific to dietary supplements that establish a minimum standard of practice for manufacturing dietary supplements."

"At present, the manufacturer is responsible for establishing its own manufacturing practice guidelines to ensure that the dietary supplements it produces are safe and contain the ingredients listed on the label."

Quote:
I think you are just a little bit over reacting.
I think she posted some valuable fact-based information for the original poster who asked a QUESTION about EPO. Just because you have decided to use it regardless of that information doesn't mean Jenny was overreacting by providing it.

There is no such thing as being "over informed."

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#17 of 22 Old 03-17-2006, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Goodness! Sorry girls. I didn't realize this was going to cause such a debate

I thought I explained pretty good why I started taking it. Because my doctor is already talking induction. I don't know if I would/could actually take them vaginally anyway but I say it's my choice if I did decide to.

I don't mind a little "information" but if it was presented a little nicer that would be great!
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#18 of 22 Old 03-17-2006, 09:54 AM
 
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I took it with my DD and seemed to respond really well... only a week or so later I began early labor. It definately irritated my bowels... ewwwww... I think that might have been part of the effect because I have an extremely sensitive uterus.

OTOH, I also at pounds and pounds of pineapple. I couldn't look at one for MONTHS after my DD was born!

My advice would be, if you've never taken EPO while pregnant before, be conservative. Both in terms of dosage and wen you start. Because you don't know how it could effect you. I won't begin until after 37 weeks because I want this baby to stay put as long as possible. I also will be taking the minimum dosage that my m/w and acupuncturist recommends.

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#19 of 22 Old 03-17-2006, 04:29 PM
 
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Jenny, I think I've figured out what's going on here... you're the only person who could possibly know what's going on with anyone's body, isn't that it?

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#20 of 22 Old 03-17-2006, 07:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by eilonwy
Jenny, I think I've figured out what's going on here... you're the only person who could possibly know what's going on with anyone's body, isn't that it?
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#21 of 22 Old 03-18-2006, 05:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by eilonwy
Jenny, I think I've figured out what's going on here... you're the only person who could possibly know what's going on with anyone's body, isn't that it?
Well, *that's* a positive comment. I'm glad to see some jumping on me for not being nice for, you know, discussing the facts about some things. Yeah, I get fed up with the whole "it's natural, so it's ok" argument, because that argument is ignorant and just plain wrong. And I"ll stand by that, because I actually care about people possibly hurting themselves by either not being informed, or being deliberately mis-informed by whatever entity- whether a formula company, OB, midwife, suppliment company, whatever.

If you want to get a c/s to just not have to go through labor- be my guest. If you want to induce because your OB is going to be on vacation, have a great time. This discussion was not about what is going on with any particular person's body- it was about the safety of EPO and the reasoning behind using it when it's not indicated for any reason, including deciding, out of the blue, that 36 weeks is term although most of us do not give birth at that time. I think that's a totally valid argument and important to discuss, and it's sad that instead of discussing something like this in a useful way, you get snippy/defensive and leave little useless messages like the one above.

If the theory behind EPO is that it stimulates prostaglandins, and that kind of gentle ripening is being used to bring forth a more gentle induction process (which I believe the original poster was describing), well, then why not use a very low dose of a vaginal prostaglandin gel? That is meant for vaginal use, where you know the exact dose and can control it, and perhaps ramp it up over time? The fact that her fluid was low- if it's because it's leaking- really, REALLY means that putting something on the cervix that's not intended for vaginal use, and isn't sterile, could be a big issue!

I"d be really interested in knowing if anyone has heard of this type of more "gentle" induction process, and if it could help someone facing a more standard type of induction. I also wonder about the rates of pitocin use, in terms of how quickly they ramp it up for people.. is that standardized? Is there a way to buy more time to have it happen much more slowly? I wonder how much this has ever been looked into. I'm guessing not so much, but I don't know the history of it at all. Of course some people have to face the induction process out of medical necessity.. it would be nice if they could tailor that to the particular situation, and give someone more time if possible!
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#22 of 22 Old 03-18-2006, 06:43 AM
 
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The point that I was trying to make is that your posts here come across as seriously antagonistic 90% of the time (if not more). If you're trying to impart information, you can do it without being nasty and inflamatory. I know it's possible, because I do it all the freaking time, even with the internet changing the way that things come across to people. It's not what you're saying (though your "understanding" about the way that EPO works versus a vaginal prostoglandin gel is lacking, imo) but the way that you're saying it ("you're fooling yourselves," etc).

In your opinion, being "sick of being pregnant" is no reason to try to induce labor before your personal idea of term. Well, before you go spewing misinformation and anger (and I think that most women who are 9 months pregnant get enough of that without reading it online) at these women who just "don't care" about starting a cascade of interventions, you might want to take into account that you don't really know more about what's going on inside of, for example, my vagina than I do. You *can't*. You can say, "In many cases, when babies are born before the mother goes into labor spontaneously on her own, the babies have problems because they needed to be in longer." You can say, "As far as I know, the safety and efficacy of evening primrose oil inserted vaginally next to the cervix for the purpose or ripening it during late pregnancy has not been thoroughly established; I'd do some more research before I did anything like that." You don't have to tell people that they're essentially trying to hurt their babies, because that's just not true of anyone here. You don't have to say "if you want to plan a c/s because you think it's cute/funny/easier/whatever, be my guest," nor imply that anyone who would do such a thing is foolish/selfish/abusive/etc.

So now I will write something helpful: There is a huge difference between the actions of vaginal prostoglandin gel and evening primrose oil. EPO cannot ripen a cervix that isn't already ready for labor. By "ripen" I mean "allow to become soft and relaxed." EPO's purpose in late pregnancy is to help the cervix to soften, but many other things have to be in place for that to happen. If your body isn't ready for your cervix to soften (i.e. you're not actually term and you don't have an "incompotent" cervix or a history of seriously preterm births), absolutely nothing will happen when you use vaginally inserted EPO except for a big stain on your panties when you wake up. This isn't the case with vaginal prostoglandin gel, which works via a different mechanism. VPG can actually *cause* not only cervical ripening but shortening & dilation of the cervix as well as (in fewer cases) actual contractions in women for whom even pitocin would be ineffective. (Yes, there are *many* cases where pitocin, a synthetic version of the natural hormone oxytocin, will not induce labor-- not only do you have to have it in your system, but your uterine receptors for the hormone must be plentiful enough to stimulate labor, and they're generally not before 37+ weeks.)

I'll say it again: no matter how much you use, no matter how hard you try, if your body isn't ready, your cervix will not change under the influence of EPO unless there's something wrong. I used EPO vaginally for the last week of my pregnancy with BooBah (week 38, until my water broke), but when she was born my cervix was still 4.5 cm long and locked up tighter than Fort Knox, despite the facts that a) I'd had a vaginal delivery only 19 months earlier and b) it's much more common for a woman's cervix to stay partly open after a vaginal delivery, or to open late in pregnancy when there's a whole person sitting on your cervix than it is for the cervix to remain so tightly closed that the word "fingertip" is a very generous estimation of dilation.

One more thing: as to the idea of dates "being assigned incorrectly," that assumes a great many things, and lots of them aren't true for lots of us. Please don't assume that you know how any of us came to our "due dates;" you don't.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
eilonwy is offline  
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