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Detailing the potential dangers of labor induction

Expectant parents in New York City typically cannot wait for the arrival of their little ones. In some cases, that term is taken literally, as many parents long for the delivery process to begin, both to welcome their newborns and end the physical stress that pregnancy can put on a mother. In such cases, a doctor may feel like inducing labor is warranted. Labor induction is extremely common in the U.S., with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report it as occurring in 23.3 percent of all single birth cases as recently as 2012.

Yet simply because induction is a popular delivery assist option does not necessarily mean that it is a good thing for both mothers and babies to endure. Labor is typically induced by administering Pitocin, which is a synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin that causes uterine contractions during labor. Yet the incorrect use pf Pitocin can lead to an unborn infant experiencing serious complications, including:

  •          Cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heart rate)
  •          Fetal hypoxia (a lack of oxygen)
  •          Hepatic necrosis (liver failure)

These complications can lead to serious brain or liver damage, cerebral palsy, and even death. Similarly, high doses of Pitocin can result in a mother experiencing arrhythmia, uterine rupture, a subarachnoid hemorrhage, or death.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has released guidelines regulating labor induction. While it recognizes that there are certain medical conditions (hypertension and preeclampsia, to name a few) that may warrant inducing labor, there are others that should deter clinicians from making this decision. These include instances where placenta previa, umbilical cord prolapse, or a transverse fetal position have been recognized. Mothers who have had a previous myomectomy or are dealing with active genital herpes should also not be induced.  

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