There's no one, "right" way to give birth, and depending on a pregnant woman's unique circumstances and medical history, the sky is, essentially, the limit. But regardless of your plans, it's important to know the different kinds of childbirth and how they may or may not impact you. So, difference between an induced delivery and a non-induced delivery? Turns out, there's a few key differences you might want to know before it's "go time" and you make your way to the nearest hospital and/or birthing center.
The most obvious difference between the two birthing styles is that one happens sand medication, while the other involves medical intervention. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), "labor should be induced only when it is more risky for the baby to remain inside the mother’s uterus than to be born." While most women don't prefer to undergo an induction, sometimes it has to happen for the benefit of both the mother and the soon-to-be baby. Medical complications like hypertension, pre-eclampsia, infections, or the separation of the placenta from the uterus may make an induction a necessary part of your birthing plan, and could possibly even end with a medically necessary C-section.
While there have been varying reports that state an induction increases the risk the possibility of a C-section, every woman's body responds differently. In other words, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of an induction, and discuss possible outcomes with your doctor, before a decision is made one way or the other.
When you give birth without medication and/or medical intervention, oxytocin is released to stimulate contractions in the uterus, which increase gradually over time. If you're going for a non-induced delivery, Fit Pregnancy urges you to stay home as long as possible before heading to the hospital. Being in comfortable surroundings at a time when there's not much the doctors can do to speed your labor along may help you stay relaxed, therefore easing you, and your body, into the later stages of labor. With an induction, however, synthetic oxytocin is required to jumpstart labor and to keep the contractions going over time. Likewise, induction contractions are said to be stronger and more intense, while, generally, non-induced contractions are more mild and, again, gradual.
Regardless of whether or not you choose and/or need an induction, going into labor before you reach 39 weeks gestation (read: full term) and/or when the fetus' lungs have yet to fully form, isn't ideal. If there's a medical emergency, however, your doctor will want to discuss the possibility of induction prior to the 39 week mark, which may be a multi-day process depending on how your body responds to the medication. According to The Mayo Clinic, some of the reasons you may not be the best candidate for an induced delivery include having had a previous C-Section, the fetus is in a breech position and/or sideways, or there's an umbilical prolapse. So again, multiple factors go into whether or not an induction is medically necessary, safe, and the best way to bring a baby into the world.
Knowing what an induced delivery entails shouldn't alarm you, make you afraid, or keep you from asking the necessary questions. Instead, it should remind you that it's important to know what's involved if you're in need of one. For both a medically-induced labor and a labor sans drugs, things like hiring a doula, utilizing prenatal education, and choosing a supportive birthing environment are key to ensuring labor and delivery go as smooth as possible. Coping techniques like meditation may help with the pain, though an induction may leave you bedridden, so hospital staff can monitor your progress more carefully, whereas with a non-induced delivery (that's going according to plan with no medical issues) usually means you can get out of bed, walk around, and use a birthing ball or other positions to help with pain.
Whether your delivery will be induced or not, try to refrain from listening to any horror stories from mothers who've "been there, done that," and in either camp. Childbirth rarely goes as plan, so things can happen regardless. As long as you and baby stay safe and healthy, it shouldn't matter how you deliver.
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.