Overstretched Belly: A Good Reason to Induce?

I'm not tall -- about 5 feet two inches -- but I have been told that my pelvis seems to be adequate to give birth vaginally. I am currently 37 weeks pregnant, with a fundal measurement of 39 inches. My doctor wants to induce me a week prior to my due date, because she believes that my belly won't stretch as needed. I have never heard of this happening. Is it really necessary to induce me for this reason and are there any risks associated with this procedure?


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

How wise of you to question such a suggestion, even if made by a medical authority with the best of intentions. I have never heard of a woman unable to "stretch" enough to accommodate a normal pregnancy. Unless there is a preexisting skin problem or an excessively large amount of amniotic fluid (hydramnios), this is simply not an issue. I work with Hmong women who are around four feet tall and they give birth to eight pound babies with adequate skin stretching.

Induction of labor puts a mother at higher risk for fetal distress, instrumental delivery, and cesarean births. There can be adverse effects on mother and baby from the additional medications, which become necessary for the procedure.

Because the birth becomes "medicalized," the mother must remain at the hospital for the entire duration of her labor, which may be emotionally stressful and puts her at higher risk for infection. She will need to be continually monitored while in labor and is often confined to the distance around her bed, by the monitor and IV cord.

I would not hesitate to recommend induction of labor when it is necessary, but I do not see any indication in this situation. Thank you for asking this important question and I wish you the best.

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