Once you reach full-term in your pregnancy, you're feeling huge and ready to get your baby out ASAP, it can be tempting to schedule your labor like you would a dentist appointment, so you can know exactly when and what to expect. But scheduling an induction is not a guarantee that things will go exactly how you expect them to. Does inducing labor mean you're getting a C-section? Not exactly, but research shows it increases the likelihood of delivering via C-section than just waiting for your body to take it's natural course would.
There are certainly instances when induction is the safest route for both babies and mamas, though. According to Mayo Clinic, scenarios when induction is recommended include being more than two weeks past your due date, when your water has broken but contractions haven't started on their own, you have an infection, your baby isn't growing properly, you've experienced a placental abruption, or other medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure that may place your baby at risk.
But if you aren't experiencing any of these conditions, it may be best to avoid an induction. According to the American Conference of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG), in the past decade the number of inductions, and c-sections, have doubled. Their study concluded that induction in a first time mother increased her risk of C-section by 23.8 percent, higher than it would be for spontaneous labor.
Similarly, Fit Pregnancy noted that due dates are notoriously inaccurate, meaning scheduling an induction too early (usually before 39 weeks) could mean that your baby will need to stay in the NICU until their lungs develop fully.
Since most doctors opt to induce at 38 weeks, it's important to be aware of the risks for both mother and baby, as well as the increased risk of delivering via cC-section. Fit Pregnancy also noted that Pitocin, the primary drug used for induction, speeds up your contractions, requiring constant fetal monitoring, restricted mobility for the mother, and increased likelihood of medical intervention.
Although there are certain cases when induction is the safest route to go, knowing the risks is an important step in making the most informed decision for you and your baby.