Labor Induction: The Low Down on Natural Approaches from a Midwife-MD

According to recent data from the latest Listening to Mothers III national survey of 2400 mothers who gave birth in US hospitals from mid-2011 to mid-2012, women are being pressured by their healthcare providers to have inductions. Many women, in their desire to avoid induction, which sometimes also means changing plans from birthing center or home birth to hospital birth, will try to self-induce labor rather than endure a hospital induction. At least 64% of nurse midwives in the US, based on surveys, support the use of natural methods of labor induction.

As a homebirth midwife and also a family doctor licensed to practice obstetrics, I have worked hard to help women avoid unnecessary inductions. Sometimes this has put me at odds with what the medical profession says I “should” be doing – but if things are ever going to change in how obstetrics is practiced, then those of us who can must take a stand for a woman’s right to choose what she feels is best for her and her baby – even though this may be in conflict with conventional obstetric practice.

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