The epidemic of holiday inductions

It’s absolutely true: inductions spike before the holidays! (scroll down to see the stats on that…) In fact, when I had my second baby, I was due Christmas Day, and was offered an induction AT MY FIRST VISIT, at 8 weeks. (That’s my holiday baby over on the right! She’s an adult now. Must have blinked or something.)

So what can you do if your client is getting pressure to induce for something other than medical reasons right before the holiday? Well, there are two potential situations going on here, and I would handle each of them differently.

Your first step:

Figure out whether or not your client is okay with the induction. Sometimes even the most natural minded client understands and accepts the risks in that situation!

If your client is okay with the induction

Support them through the induction. Believe in and work towards keeping everything else in their birth plan. It absolutely IS possible to have a good induced birth. Even an unmedicated birth if that’s what they want.

If you client does not want the induction

This is definitely trickier. You’ll need to be really careful to avoid stepping into medical territory. You can encourage your client to make a list of questions, to carefully evaluate and explore the benefits, risks and alternatives. Be sure to avoid saying things like “you definitely don’t need an induction” (that is a call outside the doula scope) or “your baby will be fine!” (probably, but you can’t guarantee that). Remember that in situations like this, you need to stand behind your client and have their back, and not step between your client and their care provider.

Sometimes, it’s just a lousy situation to be in. For your own sanity, you have to be able to let go to things beyond your control. If your client doesn’t care enough to stand up for themselves, you cannot take on any responsibility for that. You can only help clients as much as they are willing to help themselves.

Keep in mind that DIY “natural inductions” are still induction. They do carry the same potential risks as medical inductions. If your baby isn’t ready for birth at 39 weeks, it doesn’t make much difference if you use Pitocin or castor oil to make labor start. The baby isn’t ready either way. And you certainly don’t want to be prescribing induction methods, even if you do consider them “natural”.

Now on to the statistics:

I compiled the statistics for the number of births each day of the year between 2000-2014 from the US Social Security database. (If you’d like to share a client focused version of these statistics, there’s an article on holiday induction statistics for them here.

Take a look at this bar chart for December:

Graph of December birth dates

See how it dips up and then back down in the days leading up to Christmas Day? That’s a pattern clearly different from other days. If you’d like to see all the months, you can see them here:

And finally, if you’d like to pin and share this article, here’s a heat map showing the entire year at once. Please only share with my business name on it.

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