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If we attempt to compare and contrast the induction of labor and going into labor naturally, we should first get a clear idea of those artificial methods, that are employed to induce the delivery and what is the purpose of their use.
In our opinion, we can differentiate between the inductions of labor and going into it naturally according to the criterion of invasion or non-invasion, or be more exact the degree of this invasion, because, at any rate, labor requires some intervention.
Overall, we can say that birth induction is artificial or premature stimulation of labor in a woman. Naturally, there are different reasons for doing it. For example, it may be performed in the case of the so-called post-date pregnancy, which means that it has crossed the mark of forty-two weeks. Obstetricians also resort to the induction of labor if continuing pregnancy will endanger the womans health, especially if it may cause pre-eclampsia. Occasionally, the induction of labor may be caused by the death of the fetus in utero.
Before we start discussing the very methods of induction it is necessary to mention that they are divided into artificial and natural ones (if the word natural is acceptable in this context).
As far as artificial methods are concerned, we can single out the following ones. First, it is the so-called “membrane sweep” or as some may call it membrane sweeping, which means stimulating or perhaps separating the membranes. It results in a release of prostaglandins and that gives an impulse to kick-start labor. Moreover, it is quite possible to mention the intravenous administration of oxytocin (a hormone that stimulates the contractions of the uterus). Very often obstetricians apply prostaglandin in the cervical way (this method is used not only to stimulate parturition but also in case of abortion).
It is of crucial importance to mention that there are certain risks connected with the induction of labor. First, it is the risk of a premature child. Moreover, we should mention the risks of placental abruption, uterine rupture, and fetal distress.
It is believed that there are natural or perhaps it would be better to say non-invasive ways to go into labor. Among them, we can mention the following ones. The most widespread method is long walks (not necessarily walks, it may be any kind of moving activity).
It is also possible to mention the use of castor oil. As a rule, this method is employed to start labor. Nevertheless, it must be taken into account that it can make a woman too weak for labor.
Besides, we can mention natural substances, which can be used for ripening the cervix, like instance, flaxseed oil, borage, and evening primrose. Most obstetricians believe that women should do it only after thirty-seven weeks of pregnancy.
At the first glance, all the above-mentioned methods seem to be quite appropriate, however, the safety of this measure still remains a subject of medical research.
Speaking about the similarities and distinctions of these two methods, we may arrive at the conclusion that both of them require physical intervention. The main distinction between them is the degree of risk because artificial induction can be much more dangerous for a pregnant woman.
Peisner D B, Rosen M G (2001). Transition from latent to active labor. Obstet Gynecol.
Laura Shanley. (1994) Unassisted Childbirth, Bergin & Garvey.