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It is interesting. Stay with me, I've got a ramble on this topic.

Let me first say before I go into this that I'm a fan of as natural of an approach as possible and personally plan to avoid induction at all costs. I have a couple of close friends who had natural births/homebirths recently and they are my heros. I think mamas need to be well-educated on the kind of birth experience they want, take good care of themselves (although I just ate a dairy queen blizzard-ooops)
and do their research so they can't be talked into interventions/tests etc. that they don't want or that don't make sense.

That being said, here is another perspective- just to add it.

I work in the healthcare industry (although in an office type job) so I get to see a lot of what goes on behind the scenes. It seems to me that docs try to basically do 2 things. They try to minimize risk (ie: poor patient outcomes) and they try to maximize patient happiness. When they have patients lobbying them for an induction, a brand name drug or what have you, they tend to give in unless there is a risk reason not to. They get happier patients that way.

Some docs make the decisions they make (such as induce at 40 weeks) because they feel that the risk of having a baby that is not ready to come out is really low but at the same time they can make the mom who has been lobbying them for an induction happy by doing an induction.

On the other hand, a mom who really wants a natural child birth and is against induction usually wont get pressure from the doc to get one until she goes 41+ weeks and the OB starts getting nervous about the risk issues again with declining efficiency of the placenta, etc. etc.

The weird thing about being an OB is that it is one of the highest areas for lawsuits and because of that the malpractice insurance is super expensive and can even be unobtainable in some geographic areas. In my view this has resulted in OBs practicing by the statistics and trying to cover their behinds in any way possible. I also know of a few OBs who have quit their practices because of lawsuits and poor outcomes of various kinds. They also have to deal with frustrating moms who smoke, drink, do drugs etc. during their pregnancies. In some ways, I don't know how they do it.

All that being said, let me throw out one quick story. One of the women who works with me has a daughter-in-law who was due yesterday. Her son is getting married this weekend. The daughter-in-law was really planning/hoping to have her baby before this much awaited wedding. When the daughter-in-law went in for her appointment yesterday (on her due date) begging to be induced, the doctor told her "no" because the baby hadn't "dropped" into the pelvis yet. This was a sign to the OB that maybe the baby wasn't ready yet. He actually said to her, "see you next week". The mom is not happy but this seems to me to be a case where the OB is doing the right thing despite much pressure from mama.

OK, enough rambling on this. I just think that there are good OBs and OBs that aren't so good... but any way you look at it- it's a hard job to keep everyone healthy and happy at the same time.
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