jars of herbs in a row on a shelf

There’s no such thing as a “natural induction”

It’s tempting to just “get this show on the road” and have the baby already! Especially if you’re suffering from S.T.O.P. Syndrome (Sick and Tired Of Pregnancy). Or maybe your care provider is threatening an induction or repeat cesarean if you don’t have the baby by a certain date.

So you might think that a “natural induction” is the way to go.

Let me make something very clear: An induction is an induction is an induction. So called “natural” methods are STILL an intervention to bring the baby before the baby is fully done.

In my doula career, I’ve actually seen a lot more complications and downsides from “natural” induction methods than I have from medical inductions.

If you are considering an induction, I encourage you to drop any ideas about there being a difference between “natural” and “medical” and look carefully at ALL available induction methods. Some factors to consider:

Effectiveness – In an induction is truly necessary for medical reasons, you want something with a higher effectiveness, which I would define as higher rate of vaginal birth and lower rate of cesarean. Many of the “natural” methods have much lower effectiveness. Consider what the next step might be in the event that attempts at a “natural” induction don’t work well.

Benefits The induction method needs to match the need. You can use an induction method to cause contractions, but if the cervix is still hard and closed those contractions are not likely to make much difference. If the cervix is already soft, using a cervical ripener will not make much difference. This is where consulting with your care provider can help.

Risks Nothing is without risks. I’ve seen clients have allergic reactions to cohosh, get horribly dehydrated from diarrhea after taking castor oil, and end up with vaginal infections from inserting EPO vaginally!

Cost – certainly would be great if health care cost wasn’t a factor. Unfortunately, money IS an object and it is something to consider.

Inductions are not inherently bad. They can be a useful and necessary tool for a healthy and safe birth at times. But they should be used with careful thought, consultation with a familiar care provider, and the most appropriate method – whether natural or medical – should be used.

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