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Various Risks in Induced Labor Essay

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Updated: Mar 15th, 2022

Introduction

Normally, a pregnancy lasts around 40 weeks and a birth between the 37th and 41st weeks is considered a full term pregnancy. During this period, labor is supposed to occur spontaneously, but in some cases this does not happen or the medical practitioners determine that the health of the baby and the mother are in danger in continued pregnancy, in this case induced labor is done. This means the ripening of the cervix and the uterine contractions are put in motion artificially before their natural onset in order to encourage vaginal delivery (Cecatti and Aquino, 2003).

Pharmacological characteristics of induced labor

Pharmacologically, labor induction can be induced by intravenous infusion of oxytocin. The artificial version of this is pitocin given through IV line to start contractions. The use of prostaglandins (PG) agents in labor induction is another pharmacological characteristic. This comes in various formulations such as misoprostol (PGE1 analog) dinoprostone (PGE2 analog) which help to facilitate dilation and effacement of the cervix for onset of labor. Prostaglandin E2 gel is used particularly when Bishop’s index is less then seven but its use is limited by high costs and its thermal instability. Misoprostaol, which is a synthetic E1 methyl anlog prostaglandin, is considered better option for cervical modification and labor induction due to low cost and thermal stability (Filosomi et al, 2010).

Risks of induced labor

Induced labor carries with various risks. First, it can cause premature birth which may result in difficulties in breathing for the baby, jaundice and yellowing of the skin. Secondly, oxytocin medication may produce too many contractions which reduce oxygen supply for the baby causing low heart rate. Infection to both mother and child is another risk associated with labor induction. Finally, it may lead to the need for the ceserian section when the body is not ready for labor ad therefore poor labor progress (Filosomi et al, 2010).

Prenatal care

This is the regular health care given by health professionals to women during pregnancy. Organized prenatal care started in the United Kingdom in the 1920s mainly to improve maternal safety but today it is widely accepted and implemented as a necessity for both the baby and the mother. During these prenatal care visits to the provider, a woman is taught about pregnancy, monitored for medical conditions she may be having, tests the conditions of the baby and health problems the mother is having and if need be the pregnant woman is referred to support groups (McCormick & Siegel, 1999).

Benefits

Studies have found out that prenatal care has led to early detection of conditions that bring about non-symptomatic diseases in pregnancy. Screening pregnant women increases detection of twin pregnancy, placenta previa, pre-eclampsia, small-for-gestational- infant and breech presentations. Prenatal care also helps in reducing morbidity of maternal illnesses. Such diseases are maternal juvenile diabetes mellitus, gestational diabetes, hypertensive disease and pre-eclampsia among others. These are detected and relevant therapies or preventive measures implemented to sustain safe child bearing. Prenatal care also provides women with a “teachable moment” according to Dr Stubblefield. This is a moment when women will willingly change their health behaviors. These have been identified as smoking cessation, substance voidance, nutrition, alcohol avoidance, stress reduction and violence (Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement, 2009).

Risks associated with inadequate or lack of prenatal care includes high maternal and perinatal deaths, premature births, infections, birth defects and mental retardation among others (McCormick & Siegel, 1999).

Conclusion

Induced labor is the onset of labor through artificial means through pharmacological agents. These are either oxytocin infusion or prostaglandins (PG) agents. These bring about various risks including need for C-section. Prenatal care is given by medical practioners to pregnant women during this whole duration with the main goal of ensuring maternal and child safety.

Reference List

Cecatti, J. G and Aquino, M. M. (2003). Misoprostol Versus Oxytocin for Labor Induction in Term and Post Term Pregnancy: Randomized Controlled Trial. Sao Paulo Medical Journal, Vol 121, 3: 102-106.

Filosomi, F, Torricelli, M, Voltolini, C, Biliotti, G, Conti, N, Galeazzi, L, Jun, N and Petraglia, F. (2010). Efficacy of Safety of Slow Release Dioprostoe Insert for Induction of Labor: Correlation with Parity. Journal of Chinese Clinical Medicine, Vol 5, 1: 1-2.

Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. (2009). Health Care Guidelines: Routine Prenatal Care. Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement.

McCormick, M. C and Siegel, J. E. (1999). Prenatal Care: Effectiveness and Implementation. Cambridge University Press.

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