Hold on to your bellies, pregnant ladies. If plans to cut out non-medically necessary inductions make their way out of the Minnesota Department of Human Services and into the lawbooks, you could be stuck with that belly for a lot longer no matter where you live.
Folks on both sides of what would be the nation's first official state policy on timing induced labor say it could set the tone for debates on elective inductions across the nation.
Now if only the naysayers would sit down, shut up, and listen to the issues at the heart of the matter.
This isn't about taking away a woman's rights over her own body.
It's about saving lives. New studies have found 37 weeks pregnant, long considered full term or the safe date for delivery, has been woefully miscalculated. Women who breathe easy that they made it there, only to push their doctor into an early delivery, are creating a nation of babies with higher rates of respiratory problems, pulmonary hypertension, and admissions to neonatal intensive care units than those born at 39 weeks or later.
It isn't just the mothers; Minnesota is also decrying doctors who tell their patients to come in a little early so they can sneak out for a vacation without Mom crying foul. Together, the two groups have caused the induction rate to triple in the past 20 years in this country.
I'm on that list too. My daughter had to be induced at eight days past my due date -- I was 41 weeks along. But here's the major difference: not only was I "past due," but her heart rate had begun to drop, and the doctor said it could go either way. He saw a plausible medical reason to put a Pitocin drip in my veins, and 13 hours later I had a healthy baby girl.
It worked. He was right, and that's made me an advocate for inductions ... when they're doctor ordered.
That's all Minnesota -- and very possibly Hawaii, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Florida (where debates or ongoing, although no law is drafted) -- are looking for. They're not saying "no inductions." They're saying "no inductions ordered by Dr. Google."
Women have become empowered to make decisions about their pregnancy, giving us alternatives our mothers never had. We won't be strapped to beds, knocked out, have our husbands sent out of the room while we suffer alone. This sense of self is the best thing that's happened to pregnancy since they came up with "safe" heartburn meds for women toting hairy babies (raises hand).
But doing some research still doesn't make us experts in the field. We can't ramrod through our own agendas and to hell with the results. Women can be advocates for their own healthcare and their own choices without ignoring medical opinion. If one doctor disagrees with you, and you think he or she is flat out wrong, you waddle your pregnant hiney to another one for a second opinion.
If that second doctor still agrees with you, then you need to evaluate why you're calling for this early induction. Are you just tired of being pregnant? Did a random moms' group on the Internet convince you that it's OK to go early because their kids are breathing just fine?
I wanted my daughter out a heck of a lot sooner than it happened, but I gave up that choice when I decided to get pregnant. I was well aware that I was born 10 days late, my brother five days late. Women in my family miss their due dates. It's healthy and normal, and what I wanted most was a healthy and normal baby.
In the end, it took an extra week of baking in my oven to get her there.
Inductions aren't about you, Mom. They're about the baby, and if you can't see that, it looks like the government has to make you grow up.
Image via Max Hanley/Flickr