Posts Tagged ‘ Induction ’

Planning on Having an Epidural? Read This First!

Monday, February 10th, 2014

For years there have been the two camps of mamas-to-be: Those who want a completely natural birth, free of all drugs, and those who can’t get an epidural fast enough. Now French researchers who’ve studied pregnant mice are suggesting that there is a link between women getting an epidural during childbirth and their children developing autism.

The reason being that when you’re given an epidural, it is blocking your body’s natural release of oxytocin—which helps your uterus contract; is considered the love hormone because it helps you bond with your baby post-birth; and serves as a diuretic, reducing chloride levels. According to the Independent, chloride ions are kept deliberately high in the neurons of the fetus while developing in the womb. But in a natural birth the mother’s production of oxytocin lowers the chloride levels quickly during labor. In the pregnant mice studied, when the oxytocin was blocked similarly to what an epidural does, chloride ions continue to remain high after birth, leading to developmental brain disorders and autism.

However, the study doesn’t answer what happens when synthetic oxtytocin, called pitocin, is introduced into the system. Pitocin is usually given to a woman to help induce labor, either because she is past her due date or the doctor thinks the labor needs to be sped up in order to have a safer delivery.

Another recent study sings the praises of inducing a pregnancy (which is when a doctor gives you medicine like pitocin, or other drugs, to artificially start or speed up your contractions) as a major way to stave off the need for a C-section. Though this is contrary to a British study from two years ago that said the use of pitocin doesn’t lower the risk of a Cesarean section. Their findings stated that the use of pitocin sped up labor by about two hours, but that it did not lessen the need for a C-section or increase the number of unassisted births.

Meanwhile, an anxiety-inducing study was also recently published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, that says inducing a pregnancy can increase a child’s chance of having autism. Researchers say the method used to kick-start the labor process likely doesn’t cause the autism, but it comes from a larger underlying problem with the pregnancy. Studies have found that children are at higher risk for autism if they are born early or very small; if they are in medical distress during delivery; if they have older mothers or fathers; or if they are born less than a year after an older sibling. Autism risk also goes up if a mother has diabetes or high blood pressure; is obese; is exposed to significant air pollution during pregnancy; had low levels of folic acid; or makes antibodies toxic to the fetal brain.

So what’s a pregnant woman to do? Freak out, it seems! And of course, talk to your doctor, read up as much as you can, and make informed decisions about what’s right for you. Epidural or no epidural? To induce or not to induce?

TELL US: Are you planning on having an epidural? Why or why not? If your child has autism, did you have an epidural? Please share your stories below. 

Image of woman with newborn courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Induce Labor. Don’t Induce Labor. Which is It?

Monday, September 16th, 2013

There seems to be so much contradictory news out there when it comes to inductions.How are you supposed to know what to do?

One recent study sings the praises of inducing a pregnancy (which is when a doctor gives you medicine like pitocin, or other drugs, to artificially start or speed up your contractions) as a major way to stave off the need for a C-section. Though this is contrary to a British study from two years ago that said the use of pitocin doesn’t lower the risk of a Cesarean section.Their findings stated that the use of pitocin sped up labor by about two hours, but that it did not lessen the need for a C-section or increase the number of unassisted births.

Meanwhile, an anxiety-inducing study was also recently published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, that says inducing a pregnancy can increase a child’s chance of having autism. Researchers say the method used to kick-start the labor process likely doesn’t cause the autism, but it comes from a larger underlying problem with the pregnancy. Studies have found that children are at higher risk for autism if they are born early or very small; if they are in medical distress during delivery; if they have older mothers or fathers; or if they are born less than a year after an older sibling. Autism risk also goes up if a mother has diabetes or high blood pressure; is obese; is exposed to significant air pollution during pregnancy; had low levels of folic acid; or makes antibodies toxic to the fetal brain.

There are plenty of medical reasons to induce, such as you’re one to two weeks past your due date; you have gestational diabetes and the doctor fears the baby may be getting too big; your placenta is no longer bringing nutrients to the baby properly, you have too little amniotic fluid, or your baby isn’t growing as it should; your water breaks but your labor doesn’t start on its own; you develop preeclampsia, which restricts the flow of blood to your baby; or you have high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease.

You should note that the March of Dimes advocates that a baby is not fully developed until at least 39 weeks of pregnancy, so if you’re having a healthy pregnancy they suggest you wait for labor to begin on its own. Why? At 35 weeks, a baby’s brain weighs only two-thirds of what it will at 39 to 40 weeks, and babies born after 39 weeks have fewer health problems and have an easier time feeding and staying warm.

I’m especially interested in—okay, obsessed with— this topic because my OB induced me at 39 weeks. My water had broken at 4 am, and by 8 am, I was still just dilated one measly centimeter. I also had gestational diabetes, so she worried that I could end up having to have a c-section if all did not go well. Luckily, all did go well! In fact after getting the pitocin at around 9, I went to sleep around 10 and when I woke up at noon, I was fully dilated! The best part was meeting my ridiculously-cute son, Logan (pictured on the day we took him home from the hospital).

But now to hear that induction can be a sign that your baby may be on the autistic spectrum only makes me analyze his every move, wondering if what he’s doing is a sign of autism (I’m a first-time mom—we freak about about anything and everything!). As scary as the media makes autism out to be, though, having a child with autism is not the end of the world—far from it. I know a few parents who have children with autism, and they’ll be the first to tell you that there are incredible ups and very emotional downs with coming to terms with the diagnoses and the day-to-day challenges that affect the entire family. But life with kids with autism is still good—just different, and those differences deserve to be celebrated too.

TELL US: Which study do you believe? Were you induced? Are there any signs of your child having autism?

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