Twice now I’ve gone through this thing called labour. And my two experiences couldn’t be any more different. Once I went into labour completely naturally and once my labour was induced upon the recommendation of the medical team. So, here’s a controversial statement for you: I’d take induced labour any day, yes any day, over natural labour. Now I bet you haven’t heard many women say that, right? And I admit I almost feel ashamed about putting it out there. Because aren’t we women supposed to go ‘natural above all’ these days? Well, that’s exactly why I want to put a different message out there for a change and I’ve just published an article about it on NetDoctor .
When it became clear that labour induction was the safest way forward for me and my baby, I started doing some research into what I could expect. Literally everything I came across was negative. From mums on pregnancy forums to the official NHS website, the only messages that came through were: more painful, more complicated, more intervention, more traumatic, more risk of something going wrong with the baby. Frankly, it completely terrified me.
Fortunately there were two women in my own network who shared their own positive experiences of labour induction with me plus my acupuncturist Eleanor Day gave me positive support too. I held on to their positive words for dear life when I went in. But guess what? There was no need to be afraid at all as I found it much easier than my natural labour
So, why was that then? Okay granted, this was my second time around so a second natural labour would possibly have been easier too. But there were other things. I loved the fact that there was no latent (first) phase of labour when I was induced. Compare that to an extremely painful and exhausting latent phase, all two days of it in my natural labour (two days!! I mean, come on!).
I also preferred having a midwife there from the start. At times I felt desperate and lonely during my natural labour (despite my partner being there doing everything he could). All I wanted was a midwife to tell me how far along I was, and to tell me I was doing great. But that only happened when I was finally allowed into hospital after days of frustration at home. When I was induced however, I had an amazing team of midwives around me from the start who kept me informed about everything that was happening, who tried to make things as comfortable as possible for me and who were pretty much cheering me on along the way.
Plus it was more predictable. I found the unpredictability of my natural labour very difficult to deal with. One hour there would be 4 long, painful contractions, then nothing for the next two hours, then an hour and a half of short contractions every 5 minutes, then nothing again. With induction the contractions are gradually built up, the midwives and I decided on the speed of this process together. I knew exactly when the contractions were coming and how strong they were going to be. I found it so much easier to deal with.
My induced labour was all done and dusted within 6 hours (compared to 52 hours of natural labour, including the latent phase), was a lot less painful, there were no complications, no interventions and I had a healthy baby at the end.
I know this is my personal labour experience, and that everyone’s experience is different. But I believe that it’s time something positive gets out there about labour induction. What’s the point of getting induced whilst feeling completely terrified from the start? Being as confident and relaxed as possible can surely only be helpful.
Please read my article on 5 things to know about labour induction on the NetDoctor website.